From the Series: What Nobody Tells You About Marriage (explaining the truths behind the dumb comments people make)
There will be times you will wonder why you even married your spouse.
Any soon-to-be newlywed who hears this will think back to that time when he/she couldn’t agree with his/her spouse on whether to let Sprinkles sleep on the couch. What a blow-up fight that was! They got over it, though. And, BTW, they still wanted to marry each other.
Poor, naive soon-to-be newlywed.
The best way to explain why you will one day consider your spouse the worst decision you’ve ever made is through an anecdotal comparison.
The Emotions of a 13-year-old In a Twisted Tale of Lust and Betrayal: A Memoir
When I was in middle school, I had the cutest boyfriend. He had long eyelashes and pool-blue eyes and his name was Aaron.
I also had a friend named Ally.
One day, my pal Mallory dropped a bomb on my head. In the bustling hallway right before first bell, she told me that Ally told her that Ally made out with my boyfriend last weekend.
I felt like I’d been slapped in the face by a hand covered in hot honey.
I couldn’t believe it! Ally kissed my boyfriend before I even kissed my boyfriend?! And to think I was saving my first kiss for him.
I felt like a tiny fool.
After school, my pal Mallory helped me aim volleyball serves at Ally during practice. We threw sinister sneers her way and talked loud smack about her. Then the coach realized what we were doing and made us run laps. I tried to explain that I had been utterly betrayed, but Coach made us run anyway.
For weeks, whenever I remembered that I had been cheated on, I felt hot and sick with anger and shame.
As if my first kiss being stolen from me wasn’t enough, those two even had the audacity to date each other afterward.
I chose this story for comparison because I can still recall how piercingly livid I felt that day. My heart had never been filled with so much feeling before, and I hoped I would never EVER have to feel that way ever again.
Then I got married.
And I soon discovered that marriage blows seething seventh grade heartbreak right out of the water.
Truth: The more you love your spouse, the more deeply you will hurt him/her, and vice-versa. It’s an inverse relationship, actually, the love-hurt. It’s sick and twisted, but it’s true.
Just like with family, you hurt the ones you love the most.
You’ve hurt your parents’ feelings more than once, and you probably still feel like crap about it. Parental hurt-guilt is unending.
Your siblings have probably caused you more pain than any friend or lover ever has. On purpose, too, those bastards.
Our loved ones hurt us and we hurt them because it is safe. Human beings feel insecure about everything. Anger, frustration, and outbursts are not good manners, so our acquaintances NEVER see these emotions.
As soon as we walk in the door from work, however, our terrible no-good day turns into our terrible no-good mother/brother/husband.
I am so angry because I had the worst day ever. Hey, look, an innocent husband who is trying to be nice to me. *wicked grin* Perfect!
It’s safe to hurt our loved ones because they have to love us. We can be as mean as we fancy and find pleasure in hurting them because they won’t abandon us. No matter what.
I said it was sick and twisted!
We all have those moments when we hate the world and everyone in it. Usually, these feelings are actually feelings of powerlessness.
And in those terrible moments, NOTHING makes us feel better than some solid, self-appointed authority.
Whatever I call you, you are, unless you can disprove it. Block head!
As happily as those butterflies flutter around inside a newlywed’s sparkly tummy, some day, they will wither and die. They might grow back. But they will disappear again.
It’s the spouse that keeps killing them.
Because, sometimes, the spouse is literally (it’s a fact) the WORST spouse on the planet. You might as well be married to a bag of corn. Bags of corn don’t insult you.
So what IS IT that turns your hunny bunny schookums pumpkin pie candy droplet into a sloppy gap-toothed troll?
Because you are drawn into such close quarters with your spouse, time leaves both of you more exposed to each other than the day before. It’s easier to be yourself than that perfectly poised supermodel your spouse first met. Slowly, each of you carefully reveals how truly unkempt you can be. You keep peeling back those ugly layers one at a time, forgiving each other for the truths you both hide.
You forgive each other JUST so you can receive the same forgiveness in return. Everyone really just wants to be a slob. It’s true!
Because you are continually forgiving each other for being so gross, you begin to develop this interconnected trust. A trust that comes from knowing your spouse still loves you even though you’re disgusting. This comfortableness spreads throughout your relationship, and you start sharing EVERYTHING. Your weirdo thoughts and embarrassing feelings. You tell your lover all the things that make you an insecure newt.
And you regret it the next day. Or the next hour. There have been times I’ve followed a self-secret-spill with, “I shouldn’t have told you that!” Insta-regret. Please still love me!
You will still be loved. You will be accepted for your occasional spinelessness. And you will accept your spouse for their insecurities, too. Remember – mutual settling.
It is precisely this mutual-layer-shedding area of your relationship that sets the stage for each of you to ruin each other’s
Your spouse now knows all about you, including what makes you feel insecure. So, naturally, you expect them to be very considerate of your insecurities. You also expect them to nurture your soul and tell you they love you twelve times a day and never yell. This is the reward for sharing all of those self-secrets, right?
Not the case, Annie.
As human beings, we live in a world we cannot escape – our own. So, while we’ll listen intently to our lover’s deepest fears and understand and empathize in that moment, eventually we’ll get hungry. We’ll eat some dinner, go to sleep, and BAM! We’ll forget all about our spouse’s sensitive pony feelings.
One day, your spouse will walk in the door spouting off some ludicrous idea about how the world works, and you will just love this. Because you woke up this morning feeling particularly spicy and you haven’t seen a human face in 24 hours and you’re looking for a rumble. You see flames in your spouse’s words and you leap right into them! Yippee!
It’s the devil’s dance, I tell you. It’s seductive on purpose!
You and your spouse spar. And then you quarrel, and then you fight, and then it gets personal. In the WORST way.
Because now you know about those teeny tiny little fibers of insecurity controlling your mate like a puppet. And you know exactly how to pluck them. And you LIKE it. Because you’re a sadistic freak!
We all are.
We manipulate each other as human beings. We can’t help it. Manipulate or be manipulated! Survival of the most cunning!
Because your spouse knows exactly how your feelings get hurt, you expect them not to hurt your feelings. But they do!
Not right away, and probably not on purpose (at first), but they will hurt your feelings. Because you showed them how.
The pain your spouse causes you feels like the ultimate betrayal because you shared your heart and soul with them. You packed your fears into a cute little basket and pushed it down the river, right into your spouse’s open
The reason you shared your personal pain with your spouse – the reason we share ourselves with anyone – is because it relieves us of the shame of being hurt. Sharing your shame lifts the burden of keeping it a secret. It frees you. Females, especially, share their humiliations with others (esp. other females) to relieve the burden AND to gain trust.
I am a victim = less of a threat. Females are threats to other females. Inherently.
I am a victim = spouse, sympathize with me.
You share your pains with each other and feel connected because you’ve received each other’s trust. Trust to keep your lover’s fears a secret, and trust to not to tickle those fears with your evil feathers.
But neither of you is sensitive enough to remember each other’s feelings when there is an argument to win.
And THAT is marriage.
It’s like plotting against and trying to love your best friend, all while keeping your wits about you and remembering to be romantic.
You will hate your spouse more than you ever thought it was humanly possible to hate. HATE is a strong word and thus accurately applied in the case of marriage.
The day-to-day truth is that no matter how much you love your glimmering love nugget, you can’t stand the way they ______. And they hate it when you ______. Even though they’re wrong because you’re perfect.
Because we get annoyed and tired and irritable, and because our lover glows like a beautiful punching bag when we feel this way, we attack. And we GET attacked, especially when we least expect it.
And when Husband doesn’t realize how much he is upsetting innocent, old me, I see red. And when I am sobbing because I feel so defeated because I’m arguing with a brick wall, and Husband STILL doesn’t seem to grasp the severity of my rage, I feel like throwing my hands up in the air because what is the point of being married, again?
Hopefully, you find a way to fight through it. Hopefully, your adorable block head realizes when to stop being a block head. Hopefully, you realize when to stop being a stubborn pain in the ass.
Your husband/wife will be your greatest ally and your worst enemy. He/she will be both. In one hour, sometimes. Try to anticipate it so you won’t feel like giving up when it happens. Because it will. And you’ll still want to give up, even if you’re prepared.
You might have to walk away/go to sleep/pack your shit up and declare your forthcoming permanent absence. If so, do so, and then get over yourself and get to work repairing your relationship. And analyze the volcanic eruption to figure out how to thwart the next one. It’s like pulling your own teeth out, but do it anyway.
Anything that can help wane a marital war is a vital lifeline.
As is remembering that you hate your spouse so deeply at times because you love and trust him/her so much.
Previous in the WNTYAM Series — Don’t Get Married. Seriously. Just Stay Single Forever.