Are there any happy couples, or do they adapt to their marriage life's challenges?
When I was 19 years old I found myself working at a bindary. Maganizes, books, even little packets of posters.
For most things there were machines that made them. They had this for everything but the poster packets. If your machine went down you went to the sorting table and walked around stacks of posters pulling one from each stack to assemble a packet which was then shrink-wrapped.
This particular day many machines were down, and many people were at the sorting table. I can't begin to tell you how superbly boring the sorting table was. But it was a job and I needed money. Then a glowing thought entered my mind. Wont it be great to someday, after a long, boring, tedious or stress filled day of work to come home to a sweet loving wife and kids! I've always been family oriented and in my 19 year old mind this was idylic, even a little romantic.
So I looked at two of my friends who were in the midst of the own family lives, both about 10 to 15 years older than me and said "You know, someday after a long day like this it will be good to just go home and be with my wife!" and I waited for their response.
"You know" Starts one of my friend tentatively, "Marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be".
He said it with such a serious tone I thought he was joking. I waited for a characteristic "Na, just kidding bruh", and when it didn't come for a couple seconds I turned to look at him. He was dead serious. There was no mirth in his face. In fact it looked defeated. "Are you joking?" I asked.
"No, he's not" Chimed in my other friend in front of me. I was sandwiched between these two. "Sometimes the wife and kids can really just feel like a ball and chain."
I looked at him, again expecting some sort of silent collusion between these two to pull some bad gag on me. "Are you guys serious?"
And serious they were.
That was the day I vowed that my marriage would never be that way. I just couldn't abide that thought.
It has been 10 years since I said "I do" with my wife, and people still accuse us of being newly weds.
Lest you think we've not gone through any hard times we have had the death of 2 Grandparents, the death of my dad, 3 miscarriages (one a 15 weeker who I held in my hand as he came out), 4 kids, twins born at 29 weeks with a 63 day stay in the NICU for both of them preceeded by a 2 week stay for my wife before that when her water broke at 27 weeks. I lost my job and went through 6 months of unemployment last year at this time. Before we married she lost her Dad and I lost my mom so we know what pain feels like.
And we reject the idea that these problems, of necessity, must drive a wedge between us.
Are there happy couples? Yes! I can give everything I have, 100% to this marriage, but I can only take 50% of the credit for it's success. I have a wife who is giving 100% to it too, and she carries with apparent ease and grace her half of what we're doing.
I hear all the time people say marriage takes work. For me this is love, I absolutely love her, and I feel her absolute love in return. As such I don't feel the burden of marriage. I don't feel the ball and chain of my wife and kids. I see myself building something worthwhile and hope to pour all my heart into this. I almost wish I could be a professional dad and take care of more kids and quit my dayjob - I would love that, but so far as I know there is no such job for that.
"or do they adapt to their marriage life's challenges". Marriage is adapting to life's challenges. That's part of the job description. Is there any job that doesn't require you adapt to challenges? I don't get this question.
But you can only be responsible for 50%. I dislike Michael Buble, his singing style irks me. But his song "Haven't met you yet" is the pinnacle of stupid. this one lyric sits in my head as a shining example of what you do if you want a marriage of misery, frustration and disappointment. That line is:
"And I promise you kid that I'll give so much more than I get yeah I just haven't met you yet."
I've played this game of giving more love and care to a relationship than I ever got, and it never works. If you give more than you get you burn out. Marriage isn't a zero sum game - in fact it's not a game at all it's very real.
And done right it can be very rewarding.