It seems like a lot of relationships around me are essentially falling apart for one reason or another. Or I see people who are so apathetic and don't even care and that's just as bad. I'd be lying if a large part of me doesn't even feel bad for these people because I feel like they aren't even trying. I read so many romance novels and for years I wished that I could have that. Have this great love that just thought I was the best thing ever.
I've been cheated on. I've been lied to repeatedly and continually. I've been terrified of the situation I was in. I've been confused as to why he does the things he does. I've been held up like a sacrificial lamb on the altar of marriage counseling, I've then been told I should be a better wife and turn a blind eye to all of the things that scare me about my partner, I've had my heart broken. I've felt like a terrible mother and worthless woman. I spiraled into financial ruin because of all of this.
All because of my husband.
Yet I'm still here.
And I realize that my marriage actually is like a romance novel. Every one is the same- a couple falls in love and then something awful happens, they struggle, but then in the end they get back together and live happily ever after. That's exactly like my marriage.
I get all kinds of reactions when I tell people the full extent of my story and I don't know that I'll ever do that in this forum. Not because I don't think it would be valuable to someone else or that it's a worthy story to share, but because really- it's Matt's story. But what I can say is that through it all, I've stuck by him. Even when I felt it was the wrong thing to do. Even when my heart was lonely and hurt as I lay next to a man I didn't know if I even loved anymore. Even when a lot of my friends said I was a dumb bitch for staying and deserved what I got. Even when my own family told me I'm making bad decisions because I'm not thinking clearly.
But in my gut... I knew they were all wrong.
It wasn't easy by any means. Years after what could have been the implosion of my marriage, I still cry at night sometimes. I still wonder if I'm good enough. I still doubt my motives. I still try to be the best wife and mother I can be. I still try to be the rock for this family when I really just want a rock to lean on. I do the best that I can.
It's incredibly easy to fall in love. It's so easy to be attracted to someone, for hand holding to still be exciting, to still get butterflies on a night out. It's so easy.
It's really hard to keep love going. When I hear people say, "I'm not IN LOVE with him/her" I want to punch them in the face. Being in love is so temporary. It doesn't stay forever, it's not meant to. It's meant to groom you into loving a person. Loving them through everything awful about them. Loving them every hardship you will ever face together. Every argument. Every hurt feeling. Every let down. Every hope and dream dashed.
Because that's when you see a true person.
I feel like Matt and I are a thousand times stronger now because of what we've gone through. Are there days where I think about smothering him while he sleeps? Sure. Are there days where I feel like driving past my house and never coming back? You bet. But I know the next day will be better. He'll still loves me and I'll still love him. We're going to get old and probably prank each other in the nursing home and make the nurses laugh and eventually separate us into different rooms.
When I said my vows, I really meant what I said. We've had better, and we've had worse. We've had sickness, and we've had health. We've been richer and we've been poorer. We've been through a lot together and it is not easy. We work every day at getting through it together. We're still learning how to communicate better. We're still learning how to fight better. We're still learning how to parent together. We're still learning how to be better for each other.
I love Matt more now than I ever possibly could when we got married because now I know more about him. I know he is flawed. I know he gets mean, distant, and cold sometimes. I know he lies for no reason about dumb things. I know he has interests that scare me and I don't understand them. I know he struggles with depression and refuses to do anything about it. But I also know that despite all of that, he's trying. I think I never saw any of this in the first five years we were together because he loved me enough that he was worried I would leave. And while I could be angry and upset that everything fell apart, a part of me is grateful that he eventually felt safe enough with me to show me all of these terrible things about him.
And what kind of wife would I be if I left him at his lowest point?
I wouldn't be worthy of any of the good parts of him. And I really believe that. So we've slowly worked at making our marriage stronger. It is hard. It is a struggle. I no longer wonder if I made the right decision by staying- I know I did. And it was a few years later when I was talking to a married couple who had known what had happened between Matt and I through the gossip channels of our town, and they asked me how it worked out. I told them that Matt and I were still together and things were good. I remember she hugged me, and he patted my hand and they told me that that was it- that was the key to a long marriage, working through horrible things you want to give up on. It was probably one of the most profound moments of my life.