Forgive me. I do my best to leave cliche lines about social media out of my writing (and life too, honestly) so I feel you on the eye roll when you read this title. Trust me, I did too. I included it this time around because I can't think of a better way to convey to you where I am at in my marriage than through the lens of everyone's favorite photo sharing app. (That pun was not intentional, but now entirely necessary so I'm going to leave it.)
Don't believe everything that you see. Those words are so present every time we scroll through a photo or story. We know that every person is choosing to put their very best content out there. We know that no one has the perfect marriage, family, friend group or career. We know that we have spent too much time at dinner editing our photo on VSCO to match our profile page aesthetic. WE KNOW.
So why am I here? I'm here to break up some of the best material with a few honest and transparent realities: my marriage can't even pretend to look good on my Instagram.
It's no secret that Steven and I have had a rocky relationship since we got married. "Sure, marriage is hard, but honestly is it this hard?" is something I have considered tattooing onto my body because it feels connected to my skin. We got married. Let unresolved tension turn into growing resentment towards each other. Started fighting. Began to check out emotionally. Got angry and bitter. Didn't want to be together. Got lonely and made up. Never addressed issues. Implemented chore charts. Tried to figure out things we could do together. Fought again. Repeat.
So we started counseling. We decided to find two different therapists because we needed to work on the shells of the people we had become over the past two years of endless misconnection. I've learned a lot about myself in my weekly 45-minute sessions. I've learned how I can move better throughout my home. I've learned how to cope when disappointment enters our conversations. I've learned that I still have work to do in my own life that will take many more talks on my therapist's brown, leather sofa to navigate.
People say the first year can be tough. I'd beg to say it's the whole thing.
The toughness makes us better people. The struggle to compromise and see each other more is never going to be a piece of cake. I think a really great marriage will be filled with a lot more hardships than good times because that is the only way to refine a relationship. It doesn't always feel worth it, but I know that I am becoming a stronger person even though some days can make me feel weak.
Steven has been teaching his students what it means to be strong digital citizens. A quick definition--a responsible digital citizen uses technology to learn, create and showcase their experiences in a kind, truthful and informative way. We cannot separate our true selves from who we are online. My true self is very much struggling in marriage. My true self gets frustrated when the trash isn't taken out. My true self is exhausted. My true self wants to share her story in order to provide others a breath of air who feel like they are drowning.
So, yeah, my marriage isn't going to look good on my social media accounts for a while and I'm pretty sure that is okay. I'm a big believer in the idea that the more we share our stories the more power we have over our endings. So for everyone else that is tired of the endless scrolls of doubt, insecurity, failure, and resentment--I don't have practical solutions, but I can assure you that there are two people out there that are hustling to make a marriage work out of very broken pieces who look a lot like you.
Keep scrolling. Keep sharing.