No marriage is perfect

Our regular parenting columnist dispenses her thoughts

I haven’t witnessed a single marriage that truly epitomises the “ideal marriage” found in the fairytales I loved when I was a little girl. 

As pretty and perfect as many of the photos people post on Facebook appear to be, I know there is an underbelly behind those seamless smiles; a reality of disagreements, indifferent opinions and uncompromising lifestyles. 

No two people are exactly the same, which makes sharing a life quite difficult for anyone - including myself.

There are many things that I love about my husband: I love his work ethic, I love his humour, I love his depth and ability to explain the world to me.

I love how he loves my grandparents and my cousins and my mad aunties, and how he plays with Bradley and Sophie as well as the dogs and the cats.

I love the way he takes care of me, especially when I’m poorly. Despite some of his presumed deficiencies when we first met, he has proven to be a man of pride, loyalty and respect. I love - and yet hate - all these things about him.

Sometimes he spends time on things that I don’t support. Sometimes he laughs at things that I don’t find funny. Sometimes he can explain the world to me, without even asking me if I want to hear it.

I hate that he loves football, rugby, running, cricket, table tennis, etc - but I love that he has these hobbies and keeps active. I try to support them as much as I possibly can.

This week I have been so, so angry at him. I won’t go into the reasons why but just know that those reasons are there and they have lasted all week.

I felt a variety of different emotions. I felt taken for granted, unappreciated, stressed, tired and disrespected. Whether he knows he influences those feelings is irrelevant because those feelings are very real for me.

Today of all days (Valentines Day) I expected and even hoped for better. I hoped for an apology, perhaps even a sickly surprise when I woke up. But: nothing.

I could sit here and write all sorts of profanities directed at him – but I won’t. I will be better than that.  Marriage is about love, patience, understanding and compromise. Above all, marriage is about commitment.

The young “puppy-love couples” will one day feel it. The newlyweds with no children will one day feel it too. It’s that feeling of wanting to turn back time or maybe stop time so that you can halt emotions like anger, sadness, depression, loneliness and resentment.

You ask yourself if you’re strong enough to get over it, or strong enough to fight through the negative thoughts, or even strong enough to put up with habits you think will never die.

And then you say: “yes I can,” and then firmly: “yes I will.”

Marriage is a commitment. It wasn’t made to be easy and the reward that true love brings will only serve those who do the work.

Love isn’t something that you create the day you get married. Love is something that develops through time; a spiritual emotion that deepens due to distress and devotion.

Love is a daily choice, a minute-by-minute decision, to act with compassion and to seek with understanding and to love without conditions.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Love, Ella xxx

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About Ella Jane Brookbanks

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