Honoring the Truth of Marriage

Marriage… quite the roller coaster ride, certainly not for the faint of heart, is it? Some days, some weeks, some moments are wonder-filled… and, some… well… decidedly are NOT. We all have our times when we’re supremely frustrated, sad, angry, even completely disconnected with our partners.


My husband and I just went through one of those downward spirals, and are in process of working our way through it. We are far from a “perfect” couple – yet,  really, who is? Who hits that mark ALL OF THE TIME? {Most of the time, even?} It seems we pretty much only hear/see the “good” times that couples go through, but rarely do we as a society feel comfortable publicly sharing that yes, we do, in fact, have our share of struggles, our times of marital DIS-satisfaction, and while we highlight the good stuff, we downplay the challenges that are a part of one the most important  relationships of our lives.


If we WERE more honest about our marital journeys, we’d have more realistic expectations of what a “normal” marriage looks like, and we’d all probably be happier with our marriages as a result, realizing the ideal of what we think other’s marriages look like is just that… it’s not real.


So, I’m taking a leap, and sharing our times of struggle with you. Being real.


Let me just start by saying that I looooooove my husband. I chose to marry him for  many many many reasons, and he and I complement one another very well with our varied interests, life perspectives, and individual strengths and weaknesses. He can make me laugh like no other, and it’s hard for me to imagine journeying through this life or co-parenting with anyone else.


Having said that, the monotony of the day-in, day-out STUFF of living, and the inevitable annoyances that come with living with perfectly imperfect humans makes us lose sight of the big picture, and we inevitably get frustrated at our spouse’s reoccurring bad habits and shortcomings. {You know the sound and feeling of those exasperated sighs all to well too, right?}


My husband and I hit some major frustrations with one another this week, and over the course of the past several months, have been drifting far from where we want to be, seemingly living separate lives within the walls of our home, numbing ourselves with screen time instead of connecting with one another and keeping our relationship strong. It all came to a head a few days ago, and even though we both are the type who prefer to avoid conflict at all costs, enough had finally been enough.


Here’s a little bit of what I said to him:


Honey -


We need to talk more about last night…and since I express myself best by writing you (you should know this by now) I’m starting here.


I’m trying to “foster the shades of gray,” knowing that things aren’t 100% in the black and white perspective that I see them in, and that you have your own valid point of view. In the same breath, I’m also trying to “clear the fog” and get to the root of my thoughts and feelings (hopefully you’ll share yours too) so we can move forward in a more positive direction.


Trying, trying, trying to be a mature adult here, rather than wishing it away, ignoring it, shoving it aside and pretending that I don’t feel this way, or that my feelings don’t matter. Because they do. I hope you can share your true feelings with me too after reading this, and we can have a real heart to heart conversation as a result.


I love you babe, and want us to be happy, to feel connected and united, living and feeling mutually respected and admired for who we are and what we each bring to our home, to our marriage. I know you want these things too.


{Then I got into the nitty gritty details, which I respectfully am keeping between my husband and me.}


All in all, maybe I’m blowing this out of proportion because of pregnancy hormones. But, it’s what I felt, and honestly, what I’ve felt for a long time. I am so much more than a roommate to you, yet sometimes, I feel more like your roommate than your wife.


I don’t know what the answer is, what the right balance is, but our current path is not working.


Here’s what I do know. I want to look forward to seeing you when you get home from work, knowing we’ll have some time to connect. I want you to look at me, and think, “Wow, I am so lucky to have HER as my wife.” (And vice versa!) I had a glimpse of that last night while you were playing Hide & Seek with [our two year old son] – you two just really lifted me out of my tired/cranky mood. I would love to get back to a place where I hear more absentminded whistles than sighs from you, see more of your smiling eyes looking into mine… simply because of ME. I don’t want to wonder what I am to you – I want to FEEL it, day in, day out, and know without a shadow of a doubt what we mean to each other. I don’t expect perfection, but know we can do a lot better. We deserve it.


How do YOU want to feel? And what steps do you think we should take to feel that way? We’ve proven just how good we can be together, and we can be that way again. I miss that us.


We still have some work to do, but I think we will be able to thrive as a couple again, now that things are out in the open, and we’ve both (pretty much, I think) said the things we needed to say. I approached this particular conversation much differently than I otherwise would have a year or so ago, more from a place of love and trust, more from the heart than the ego, while still honoring the truth of my frustrations, anger, and sadness, knowing it was necessary to move forward in a more positive manner, while at the same time trying to honor his perspective, knowing the REAL truth was seen through the lens of love for both of us, making our respective “sides” pretty irrelevant. He, of course, had his own frustrations, and different things he wants to see changed, but it was a respectful, honest, productive conversation… one of the best fights we’ve had.


I know we’ll have more ups and downs, highs and lows. My hope it that we can take it all in grace, aiming for more, but accepting the here and now for what it is – an opportunity to learn from one another, to grow, to be mindful and compassionate with one another.


Will you join me in this conversation, and honor the truth of the joys and struggles of your marriages?  Soon, our Mom Truths page will be up and running, complete with a board specifically dedicated to marriage (and marriage-like) relationships, so we can all lift one another up in our unique relationship experiences. Opening ourselves up, making ourselves vulnerable, can be really hard… but it is SO worth it, and freeing!

  • Stephanie
    March 10, 2015

    well said Janna. I think we should all re watch fire proof. A great story to remind us all

  • Kathy Arneson
    March 10, 2015

    Janna, what a wonderful insight into each and everyone of us. I do forget my feeling count. I let it get to a boiling point and then it’s out of proportion before you know it. Focusing on the future, not just the moment is a great way to discuss instead of fight your way through hard times. Talking about changes and not expecting them to be overnight is realistic in my world.

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