“My husband told me a story tonight about a couple who had been together for many years and decided to divorce. He told me this couple still loved each other but have become different people and their marriage wasn’t working for them anymore. They were together for 22 years. This made me so so sad.
I can specifically remember people saying things to me before I got married like, ‘It is not as easy as you think, marriage is really hard.’ Some people would say things like, ‘Girl, run the other way!’ or ‘Marriage is just a piece of paper’ or ‘If you have to work that hard for your relationship, you shouldn’t even be together. Love should be easy.’
I would just say in return, ‘Loving light is easy. Show me your darkness, then tell me how easy you are to love.’ I say that because, of course, love is easy when we are nice, happy, and uninvolved intimately. The real test of love comes out when your darkness comes out. The real test of love comes out when you are closely and intimately involved with another. The real test of love comes out when you are with someone every single day and their ‘not so good’ side shows in their moments of stress, sadness, or weaknesses.
If we can love our spouses through their darkness, we begin to realize love is bigger than just a word. Love happens not only in the sunshine but also in the shadows. If you can come out of the shadows, hand in hand with your spouse, you SHOULD be together. Life has a way of trying to tear you apart at times, but it is the real couples and real love that comes out on the other side better than ever.
Anything worth having requires effort to get it. Anything worth keeping requires work to keep it.
I know there are a lot of circumstances for all different kinds of marriages and endless (good) reasons as to why people divorce. But to those of you who still love your spouse, to those of you who are thinking of throwing in the towel because you bored, unheard, or don’t always see eye to eye… please read this.
You are not always going to agree. You will have to admit you are wrong sometimes and you will have to apologize. On many occasions, you will have to swallow your pride. You will have days where you are not sure you are even compatible because of how differently you see things or how different your parenting styles are. Maybe he doesn’t love music the way you do or even the same kind of music. Maybe he is hard on the kids and you are lenient. Maybe she isn’t always nice (or far from nice on her bad days) or gets annoyed at the way you do things.
Pick your battles. Being right isn’t always as important as peace or as understanding your partner’s point of view. It doesn’t mean you have to like it and it doesn’t mean you have to agree — it just means you have to know they are their own person and see things from a different perspective than you. Grow up. Sit down and talk it out like adults. Put your pointing finger away and hold in those rude comments because 9 times out of 10, you’re both wrong. Squash it. Makeup and move on. Communication is important, but you must be willing to comprehend your partner’s communication or it will go nowhere.
Remember in those moments, you want to leave your spouse for the things they didn’t do. I want you to remember the things they have done. Let me just say, I am the WORST person on the planet at switching the laundry! I will rewash the same load of clothes three times because I forgot about the clothes in the washer. My husband is terrible at time management. If I ask him to complete a project, it will take him 3 months to complete it. BUT good news! There are a million ways of saying they are thinking of you or they love you. Maybe they made sure you had dinner or grabbed you a special snack in the middle of the day during their gas station trip. Maybe they took the kids off your hands for a bit, covered you up while you were sleeping, or brewed your coffee. Let’s not forget the little things truly do matter. Roses and fancy dates aren’t always genuine. Personally, I’d rather have the little sporadic things than have something that feels forced. So if he or she didn’t remember to switch the laundry or didn’t fix that thing they were supposed to forever ago — remember we all suck at something.
Haven’t been intimate in a while? Is there distance? I get it. Sometimes our relationships feel like a partnership in business, housing, financing, and parenting instead of a marriage. Phone calls are limited to a grocery list or a reminder to pay a bill. The little time you do have at night is taken by kids’ bedtime routine and catching up on housework. I know it’s so tiring sometimes, you go on stretches where you just can’t squeeze in the time for your spouse. It feels like so long, you lose the desire to make an effort. Make the effort.
We spend all day every day giving our all and our best to everyone else and leave nothing of ourselves to give at the end of the day. Ladies, get your hot little selves into the groove and love your man. Men, get your tired butts up and give your woman something to love.
Say you love them and mean it. Life is so short. You are a grown adult. Stop hinting around about what you want and just say it. We are too old to be walking around not meaning what we say or saying what we mean.
Stop waiting for when you aren’t busy… you will be busy until you die anyway. Stop blaming them for everything. Stop focusing on their flaws. Stop breaking promises. Stop lying about minuscule things (and big things) or not apologizing when you’re wrong. It is not hard to be a good spouse. Start making time and start caring because marriage is worth it. Your spouse is worth it. You thought so the day you said. Make that yes mean something.
One day, the kids will be grown and gone. Your job would replace you in the blink of an eye. The people in your lives now may or may not be there in 10 years. Your spouse is your best friend and it will always be the two of you.
Choose each other, every day. Even when it’s hard. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when they are the a**hole. Be cheesy. Be lovey. Be passionate. Be weird and be friends. Do stuff together. Time doesn’t wait for you and life doesn’t care if you die unhappy. Be happy with your person or don’t get married.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Veronica Hoover, 28, of Pennsylvania. Follow her journey on Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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