About a year ago, I was extremely disappointed in my marriage. It wasn’t all his fault, and I knew it definitely wasn’t all my fault.
I was disappointed in our marriage and us.
We had failed. My husband and I had failed to make our marriage work. We weren’t on the verge of divorce or anything. It wasn’t really an option for us.
It’s not like either of us had cheated or done anything really terrible. He wasn’t drinking or abusive, I wasn’t draining the bank account with huge, foolish purchases. Maybe he’d disagree on that one. 🙂
We were stuck in a functional marriage.
We were roommates who didn’t really talk and we didn’t get along. Both of us kept to ourselves and lived our lives. Neither of us pretended to be happy but we also weren’t open about the disappointment each of us felt.
When things started to get better and we began talking openly with each other, he told me how desperate he had felt. He had been ready to move out. And I? I was okay if he would have died. It would have been a relief in some ways.
Now that we’ve been getting along for eight months or so, it’s hard to believe things were ever that bad. But they were…
A Blind Date Success Story
My husband and I met on a blind date, June something or other, 1997. My roommate, whom I’d only known for six months, worked where he worked. She set us up, but only after she sent our other roommate, my good friend, on a disastrous blind date. OK, “disaster” might be stretching it a little. It wasn’t that bad. She dragged me with her to the movie theatre only to find this very nerdy guy. We watched a weird movie, and that was the end of it. He was totally not her type and probably a few years younger than her too.
Well, imagine how panicky I felt when my blind date had already been set for a few days later! If this was the kind of guys she knew, I didn’t want to meet another one of her nerdy friends! Not only that, but I didn’t have the option of dragging anyone with me. I was being picked up in his car and my other roommates would be out of town!
I confronted my other roommate (if you do the math, you’ll find that there were four of us living in a two bedroom apartment. Rent was actually affordable!) and demanded that she give me a straight answer. How creepy was this guy that I was supposed to see?!!! She assured me that he was okay. I hesitantly trusted her answer.
And I did it. Obviously. I went on THE blind date.
We actually had a good time. I was extremely nervous but he appeared to be normal. I had hoped he was taller, but he was what he was. But he did have his own car and it was half decent. He was clean and, I found out, a year older than I was.
After the Blind Date
The date went well and we became friends, well, more than friends. We spent a lot of time talking and biking and walking and eating. Soon we spent more time making out than talking.
Less than five months after we met, he proposed. Which was…interesting…because I had had one of my typical freak out moments and had tried to break up with him a day or so beforehand. Why? I can’t tell you. That’s just what I do. Create drama and not think good things will ever happen to me.
I knew he was serious and wanted to get married and honestly, I wasn’t. I knew I wasn’t ready. I had just come out of a year of grieving my Mom’s death and emotionally and mentally, I wasn’t 100%.
Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever been 100% in the emotional or mental departments and that does have something to do with our marriage.
My husband and I didn’t really know each other when we got married. We hadn’t even known each other one year by the time our wedding happened on May 23, 1998. (See, I remembered that date!)
Our relationship managed to survive the first three years of marriage but I have always been one to clam up and pull away. That’s just part of who I am and how I work.
Me, Messed Up Me
After many years of trying to figure out me, myself, and I, I’ve come to realize I am a highly sensitive person — and a big time introvert. I take everything personally, it takes me a long time to process everything, and I only recharge in silence. There’s not a lot of silence in my house.
Parenting is challenging. Parenting five kids is ridiculously challenging for a normally sensitive, extroverted person. And it feels to me that’s it’s twice as challenging for me than it is for a normal person. I could be wrong about that. But we’ll never really know.
I do not consider myself normal, although I definitely am in the realm of normal. I do know that. But yet, I struggle. I struggle with depression, anxiety, and not feeling good enough. I get overwhelmed by the smallest things and it leads me to worry. A lot.
Pulling away from my husband because I thought he didn’t understand — there is some truth to that, but I learned that I didn’t have to be fully understood — was a big mistake on my part.
And his problem — in my eyes — was that he didn’t see the world nor parenting the way I saw it. Not that he was wrong. But he appeared to be so closed off and opinionated about everything.
That attitude drove a big, huge wedge between us.
I didn’t understand how two people, who had committed their lives to each other till death do us part, could be so incredibly miserable.
Over the last eight months, we’ve been to marriage counselling, we’ve gone to an eight week marriage course, and we now date nearly every single Monday.
The first two or three months were quite hard. Spring Break was difficult — when the kids were all home and he was home from work. And summer was also tough.
Me, keeping myself somewhat open and vulnerable despite being exhausted from mothering five kids, was extremely difficult.
But we survived. School and work have been a regular part of our lives for nearly two months again. I am getting my quiet time and that helps me be prepared to give our relationship what it needs to stay alive.
Some people think that having children will save their marriage.
Wrong. Children show all the shortcomings between two imperfect people. At least, that’s what happened to us.
I’m not saying I blame my children for almost wrecking my marriage. But when kids become your priority instead of yourself or your spouse, it’s easy to lose the relationship you agreed to commit yourselves to. Very easy.
I often wonder if we would have had fewer problems if we had known each other for many years before getting married. If he had known I was so extremely sensitive to…everything…and I had known he was…a typical man.
Or if he had been with me when my mom died. And I had been with him when he…bought his new car. 🙂
I don’t know.
It’s not really the little things that drove us nuts and made us despise each other. I think it was the lack of time and energy we had for each other and for ourselves.
But we overcame that and our marriage is stronger today than when we got married 18 years ago.
I was disappointed in my marriage. But today I am not.