Marriage…the real deal

This is a personal post, more a release of my own thoughts and yes while some of what I am about to say is raw, please know that everything that is on my mind has indeed been discussed with my husband.

Marriage, its that thing that many women dream about, from the time women are young girls somehow our culture has brought home the thought that one day you will wear a big white dress and walk down an aisle to your own prince charming, exchange promises to love, honor and maybe even obey. There might even big a party and afterwards you will  live happily ever after, maybe even have a couple kids, a house and be together until death do you part.

Problem with this thought is that its pure fantasy, everyone thinks about the wedding, the dress and all that other shit but very little detail is focused on the hard day to day work of staying married. I have talked about some of this before but marriage is hard work, its the second hardest job you get when it comes to personal relationships aside from raising kids.

I am going to be honest, I am in a rut. The spousal unit and I have been married 11 years, it will be 12 this fall…up until a few years ago, our marriage seemed perfect. I married a man who is my best friend and make no mistake he still is my best friend. There is nothing I cannot share with him hence why what I am writing is not new to him but the reality is that the challenges of living with less money thus the ability to take that occasional trip is now gone and just doing fun things is pretty non-existant, then you add to the mix we are raising the kids and you add aging ….well, its a recipe for feeling like BB King’s oldie but goodie “The Thrill is Gone”.

I don’t think the thrill is really gone its just that in the real world of marriage and relationships, sometimes there isn’t going to be a thrill….sometimes its going to feel like the most boring job in the world. You know that good steady job that isn’t exciting but pays damn well so you know you need to stay.

However there are times when temptation enters the picture, this is going to sound strange to anyone who doesn’t personally know us which is most of my readers but my mate is a few years older than me, so he has already crossed that 40’s threshold where I have a few more years to go, in case you care to know I am 36. Regular readers also know that the spousal unit is white and I am not…we are facing a strange scenario where the hubby is not aging as gracefully as me, we both attribute this to our respective gene pools. I look like I am in my 20’s and the hubby does not. Truthfully its hard for me watching him age less gracefully than what I am used to in my own family of origin, my Pops is almost 60 but still has a head full of hair whereas my husband is bald because the male pattern baldness was so bad that trying to keep what hair he had was not working anymore.

Now, I know I may sound vain as hell but the reality is its hard for me and well this is where my mind wanders and wonders, no I have no desire to step out on the hubby but since I lost all my weight and now am the size I have spent most of my life at, the reality is temptation seems to be lurking in every corner and I gotta be honest its hard to say no.

Lately I feel as if my soul is is in this death match, there is the angel on one side saying don’t go there and the spirit on the other side saying “Life’s short..go for it”. I made a joke a few days to my husband that I feel like I should never go back home for a visit since temptation would even be worse, of course never visiting family and friends is not feasible but you know what I mean…

My point in sharing this is that marriage is hard work, lately I have been praying daily to recommit myself to my husband and not allow these thoughts to take over but I am reminded that this is much harder than one thinks. I also have realized that many couples that have been married 20, 30, 40 and more years have also faced these same temptations…some give in but many don’t. Yet nobody ever tells couples when they are wrapped up in the love glow that a day may come when you find yourself praying for the strength and courage to stay the course and not stray.

I am also convinced that not all straying is the result of bad feelings, heck I love my husband but what I am battling is independent of him, in some ways its a moral test that I am facing. The one test I have no intentions of  failing but one I never expected to be an issues 11 years ago when I stood in front of my husband and my father (who married us) and pledged my undying love.

Beyonce recently came out with a song telling the single ladies to get a ring, well I say before you get that ring think about what the journey of marriage will entail, its more than rings and dresses…its a journey that can reveal who you are at your deepest core.

22 thoughts on “Marriage…the real deal

  1. In case anyone’s wondering, the wife passed this by me first to make sure she wasn’t going to wound me with a “too much information” post or anything.

    I’m OK with all of this, though I’m not sure I need to be reminded that she has so many more options for straying than I do. 😉 I’ll have to check with my stepson to find out if he still sees young cashiers and checkers scoping me out. 😛

    Anyway, this is a challenge. I will say that for my part, I may not have kept myself up as well as I could have (body, skin, etc.) but, in my defense, I’ve been putting my family’s needs before mine, for better or worse. I don’t say that as a shot back at my wife or anything; just a recognition (and a point to make to others reading this) that sometimes, men don’t let themselves slide because they’re lazy or think it doesn’t matter once they have a woman. Sometimes, it’s because we feel that we need to make the sacrifices so that everyone else can be OK, at those times when resources don’t allow for everyone to get what they need or want. And this isn’t solely a male thing, either…plenty of women do the same thing, especially if they’re single-parenting. I know my mom did.

    Anyway, I do hope that I can find the sparks and fan them for you, my love…and I’ll do what I can to stem the aging process just enough (and step up any of my other “talents” as needed) to keep your mind from drifting.

  2. Well, Beyonce’s song is really about a woman chiding her ex-flame not to be jealous if she is with someone else. If he was so into her, then he should have “put a ring on it.”

    Thanks for this honest post. Not too many people talk about this side of marriage. At least, not to me. Most married people I know are young marrieds, so maybe they haven’t hit any dry spots yet, and if they have, they front well. Not that it’s my business.

  3. Read this post this morning and have been thinking on it all day.

    I’ve been married 5 years now and sometimes it just baffling to me how folks do this for 30 years, 40 years, 50 years. How?

    The hubby and I have about 7 years difference between us. I say things to the hubby like, “Oh, the baby is almost old enough where we can leave him with someone and go party” and he’s all like, “I don’t want to party; I want to stay home.” And I think to myself, “I’m 27. In good shape. Look dang good all things considered. I want to go have a good time and dance and party.” Then I wonder . . . will I have to find someone else to party with . . . Of course not but . . . I think it’s natural for the mind to wander. What makes us different from animals though is that our mind can wander all it wants. We are in control at the end of the day.

    Yeah, I think if folks knew what was involved in marriage ahead of time, they’d put a heck of a lot more thought into it. It is not easy at all. At all. I try to be very real with those I know who are not married yet. Just like I’m real about pregnancy and childbirth and a myriad of other real isht. Why romanticize these things? Give folks a heads up so they can get their head in the game.

    I’m keeping you (and the spousal unit) in my meditations. BTW, BGIM’s Spousal Unit, you sound like a great, really great guy.

  4. I read your posts day to day and this one took my breathe away. I can only agree that, unlike animals, we can control our minds but even our minds begin to play tricks on us. One moment you think you are strong until you find yourself rationalizing your thoughts and your reasons why.

    I do not think you sound vain at all but painfully honest which must hurt you to even admit. I will keep you guys in my prayers as well. And, to BGIM’s Spousal Unit, I don’t think I could have read this if I were you so you must be a strong man as well.

  5. A thousand thank you’s for writing out loud what so many women (and men) feel. The “hard work” theory of marriage has done us all a huge disservice, led us down such dark alleys.

    I have written a very similar story to yours, but I wrote mine 20 years after I asked my best friend for a divorce because the “work” seemed like more than I could bear, more than I ought to have to bear. And I wrote it because I know now, with deep conviction born of terrible grief, that the hard work was my mistake, not the marriage.

    My story: http://www.assumelove.com/author.html

    My free teleclasses and a contact form for emails to me from anyone stuck in the hard work trap: http://www.enjoybeingmarried.com/

    There is a way back, and it sure sounds like your guy is worth it. Thank you for posting this.

  6. Good for you to post this life and love reflection. My folks celebrated 60 years of marriage and they always amaze me with their love for life, they say it is all about the little things that add up to make it big. Take time to look at the little things that made you fall in love.
    My son when he was a wee lad, looked at my Mom and Dad’s wedding photo, and said” Grandma, what happened” as she was telling him about her wedding day. I guess each of us wake up and say, what happened.
    Your spousal unit comment is well worth all the years, hang in there, he sounds like a keeper.
    pve

  7. The honesty of this made me catch my breath a little. Okay, a lot. The honesty and respect of your husband’s response made me tear up too.

    I hear you, feel you both and pray for you two to find what you need in each other. There are days when I ask myself if I have indeed adjusted my priorities or is that just another way of denying that I’ve settled. Made do with what I have.

    The answer is that it depends on the day and how well my family is coping and enjoying each other. That’s part of the equation for me. The fact that I’ve made a commitment to all of us, not just myself but that I’m at the center of us and if we don’t take care of each other then we all fall. I know this in part because my first marriage failed, I failed, my ex failed and our children bear the scars.

    Now I’ve got another chance to to do it right for the long haul. My children see what it’s like to hash it out with love and respect and laughs and even anger that gets discussed and resolved. And yes, there are days when I wonder if I was really meant to do this. To be a grownup for the rest of my life.

    It’s been about five years now since my guy uprooted himself from his life and his career to make new start with us. At age 36, it was no joke and he’s only now seeing some real hope of success, only to have this economy bottom out. We don’t have as much fun time as we hoped for, the kids know a lot about what we can and can’t afford to do, I watch the grey hairs continue to multiply and try to ignore how my thighs aren’t as firm as they once were. I look at my man and see his cuteness turn into something that probably wouldn’t turn another woman’s head. There are times that I have to remind myself to fake it till I make it.

    The key is that we both do it. The faking it till we make it, the conscious effort that results in something good, or at least good enough to get us through the rough patch. It does sound like you’ve got that too. The partnership and devotion to a better time for all of you. I hope that it’s enough, for all of us that have made this promise to stay with each other even through the drudgery and the acknowledgment that there are newer and prettier partners out there for the picking but if we leave with the one that brought us, there’s still magic when the clock strikes midnight.

  8. Your husband is really understanding. I don’t think I would have been comfortable with this much info about my life on the web. Particularly not if I was coming off looking bad.

    Well, keep praying. That, plus hard work, always seems to solve my problems.

  9. Hmmmm…did I come off looking bad in this? Had to re-read it and didn’t see anything that really slammed me. I freely admit I ain’t the handsomest guy around, but probably the worst thing said in here is that my attractiveness quotient ain’t keepin’ up with the wife’s.

    I think she’s commented enough around here on the nice things about me. I can live with a little bit of personal getting shared as long as it gets people thinking and talking amongst themselves if needed.

  10. This post was so enlightening. I wish there was more to read.

    I’m a 36 year old newlywed (it’ll be a year in May). I hope and pray that the fact that I married an athletic man, near my age, who I love to laugh with and look at, who has a near identical upbringing as mine (religion, parents, siblings, Southerner,etc), will sustain us through the years. This first year has been a breeze, but it IS only the first year. God help us all!! 🙂

  11. See, I found that interesting too that Big Man thought you came off looking bad. So I reread and my hazy mental picture of you is that you’re typically middle aged, balding and out of shape. Yet, due to my own age and view of men in general I didn’t equate that with looking bad. I mean, I don’t go eyeing most men my age as hot but then again, what I want most from a man now isn’t beefcake.

    Now, if there is a little tweaking that could be done ala style (no pleated front khakis or Dad sweaters, for example) or regular sit ups and push ups then I’m all for that. But if it’s just down to plain old genes then you just have to stand tall, be healthy and continue to man up as it seems you’re doing.

    Pardon my long windedness but I honestly don’t observe any real people who “have it all” in every phase of their lives. I don’t think it’s possible without piles and piles of cash but I do think it’s possible to strive for having the best of what’s attainable for each stage of your life.

  12. Wow, I so appreciated the brutal honesty in this letter. And I think your spousal unit is completely amazing for being so understanding and allowing you to express your true feelings. That is a major problem I have with my husband. So kudos to you for being honest, and to your DH for giving you this space to work out these issues.

  13. Spousal Unit,

    I don’t think Big Man was saying that you look bad. He was saying that the wife is admitting her faults in an open forum, which some people can’t do, but is probably theraputic for her.

    BGIM,

    the best thing you and the Spousal Unit have going for you is that you ARE best friends and can be this open about it all. If you weren’t, you probably would have dipped out by now. That’s the reality of relationships that lack communication.

    Now, you just have to be strong, and realize WHY you love your husband and WHY your marriage has lasted 11-plus years. That’s an amazing feat, and the bond that you have should be more than enough to keep you on the straight and narrow. Forget the trips and splurging. The two of you should be able to sit in a dark living room at midnight and light it up every night for the rest of your lives. Yes, there will be problems — that whole through thick and thin thing — but you should know that you really only need each other.

    If I could suggest a song, it’d be: Musiq’s “dontchange.” It seems fitting. I pray everything is everything with you two.

    Dame

  14. Thanks for all the responses…I must admit I grappled with whether or not writing this was a case of TMI. One of my oldest and dearest friends read this last night and felt it was a tad too raw.

    On the flip side in the past several months a couple of real life girlfriends who are in similiar ruts have mentioned they are in a similiar place. This got me to thinking that honestly I think more folks than any of us would like to think hit this point in their relationships. Yet as a society this is not the type of thing that anyone wants to politely discuss.

    I have seen close up several marriages that were 25 years plus where a partner strayed and while the marriages did survive the aftermath, I often wondered what would have happened if there could have been a honest dialogue before things got to that point?

    I am thankful that Mr BGIM has allowed me not only to share my feelings with him but also feel its ok to put this out there. I find that in many cases by talking openly about a situation, it helps gain a better perspective on things.

    I am reminded that we are all works in progress and clearly I am working these things out but confident that we will be together at the finish line…imperfections and all. Since while the Spousal Unit may have his phyical imperfections…Lord knows I have all sorts of quirks that might make someone else think twice about me yet he loves me despite my quirks.

  15. I took Big Man’s post more as an admission that he couldn’t be so open and honest about what was going on in his relationship than any kind of attack.

    I have to be honest and say I’m not sure I could be so open when it comes to my marriage either, which made the whole post that much more real.

  16. Thanks for keeping this real enough to be cross posted on big man’s blog which got me to here. And really got me to thinking.

    I just passed the half year mark. On my second marriage. we took our sweet slow time to get to “here” not out of fear of failing again, but out of an understanding that life isn’t all fairytales and princess dresses. That said, I very much know that I’m STILL well in the “he can do no wrong” phase (just check out my blog to read all the gag me sweet posts that one of his ex’s was quick to hit with the “wake up stick”) but in a very different way than before.

    I’ve never been in real relationship until now. Yes, I impacted and was impacted. But in a real committed relationship, be it via marriage or not, I wasn’t there. I was always placing semicolons in between people and times and moving in between and among and always waiting for something better.

    Like I said, only 6 months or so into marriage, but almost 5 years into this relationship. No kids (I’m sure it will ALL change then), no struggling to pay the bills, only one night on a couch but it is just so different. What scares me most is not the day I’ll want to think about exploring something else becase as that happens, we giggle, we talk about it and there is no threat. It is awesome. What scares me is the day when he or even I feel uncomfortable bringing that up. When the conversation stops.

    I believe with all my heart that as long as you can talk through it, be heard, be felt, anything can be worked out. Anything.

    But like I said…I’m only 6 months into it this time around.

  17. I absolutely love your honesty. Congrats on posting it.
    I do hope you find the will power to stick with your husband and not wonder. Marriage is not easy I agree. It takes more than love and honesty to make it. I believe it takes a little insanity 🙂
    Thanks for your sharing.

  18. Well, I understand what you mean. This is real life and these thoughts do actually are very strong sometimes. There is no right or wrong in this, just how strong your belief is. If you want to prevent yourself from wandering, just think had it been the other way wround, your husband would have been young and in good shape and you were the one who was elderly and not in good shape, had he wandered, had he broken the love trust, or had he expressed the thoughts you have, how would have you felt, you would have been devastaded would not you have been? If your husband understands your feelings he is super cool person do not hurt him.

    You see you are not alone with these thoughts, they are very common but you have to find a strong reason which will allow you to say no to these thoughts. Watch the movie “one last kiss”.

    Say a woman’s husband is somebody looking like brad pitt, only that he was in the army, most of the time away from her, and suppose one day he came back with one leg less, in that case after a while woman’s life would change a lot, should she wander because her husband is now not brad pitt anymore, or she should love him still? It all depends upon the bond of love. One should either separate and wander, either live together wander (I am using this word wander to imply the obvious) once or twice without letting know your spouse, in order to prevent him/her from getting devastaded and then get back to loving your spouse again but it will be never the same again, the guilt you will feel will never let it be same again.

    So the choice is yours.

  19. You know what’s right thing to do. I know that you know since I read your post on Valentine’s day.

  20. Hmmm…I’ve been married since June of last year. I’m 26. He is 40. I am biracial. He is white.

    There are times when I wonder if this was the right decision. We don’t always see eye to eye. But we love one another. We’re both willing to make it work.

    I had a very simple wedding. Only 8 people attended. It was not a church wedding. We’re non-religious, despite having both been raised by Christian mothers.

    When we first met, he was drawn to my personality and my wit. I’m not sure whether he was physically attracted to me. He was accustomed to dating Latinas and white women. Although I can *somewhat* pass for white, my hair is one feature that tells on me.

    I believe that we compliment one another. He provides the stability I’ve never had, while I bring my compassion and sensitivity to the table.

    I still appreciate eye candy, but my husband is the only one I want. He is 6’4″, fine, fit, and sexy. His dark brown hair only has a little bit of silver in it. His skin is smooth and unlined. Time has been kind to him.

    I can’t complain…the only problem would be that he is a workaholic. Besides that, we try to make it smooth sailing.

    I’m younger than he is, but sometimes I feel insecure. It happens. I’m not an itty-bitty size 4 anymore. I’ve been busy trying to accomplish my educational goals while battling depression, so I’ve been a bit lax in taking care of myself. My hair doesn’t always look nice. My tummy isn’t flat anymore. I feel sloppy, fat, and ugly. I still look very young at 26 but I don’t feel sexy or pretty. Sometimes I wonder if he would prefer a blonde, blue-eyed white woman with big boobs. But I realize that he doesn’t want that because he is with me. I need to work on my insecurities about myself. Change starts with me.

    Sometimes he feels insecure. He is a bit blue about finally being 40. I remind him that he is still attractive in my eyes. I’m still very attracted to him sexually, so he has nothing to worry about.

    In a nutshell…your honesty is refreshing. Not many people can be open about stuff like this. My husband would be unbelievably hurt if I felt that way about him and actually expressed it. Marriage isn’t always tidy…sometimes there will be hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Communication is very important.

    Thanks for this! 🙂

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