recently i railed against the “2-year marriage contract” being proposed in Mexico. it sparked some conversation about what the first two years of marriage look like and why so many marriages end by the 2-year mark. the first two years go something like this:
ahhhhh…he left the toilet set up. he’s still adjusting to being married. that’s so adorable.
she stole all the covers. look at her there. all wrapped up like a caterpillar. my sweet butterfly, i’ll just let her sleep.
he forgot to load the dish washer. he’s such a hard worker. i bet he was really tired.
she scratched my car. it was probably some truly inconsiderate person in a parking lot and she doesn’t even know it’s there. poor thing, she’s going to be so upset.
everything is awesome! we’re going to be together forever. it’s rainbows and puppies and cupid constantly shooting us with hot sex arrows!
he left his socks on the floor. again. the hamper is right there. RIGHT. THERE. i’m not his freaking mother!
she used my razor. again. i just shredded my face. what’s so hard about buying her own?!? what is that stuck in the blades?
the faucet has been dripping for 2 weeks! what does he do with all his time? if it were his Xbox, he would’ve fixed it by now.
oh dear god, what is that in the sink?!?! i throw away my underwear when they get that bad! what was she thinking?
what have i done? her night breathing makes me want to jump out a window. she didn’t tell me she was going to look like that in the morning. we haven’t had sex all week.
he’s a pig. all he wants is sex. he doesn’t appreciate me. i saw him looking at that other girl. i’m too young to be tied down.
by the time a marriage hits the two year mark, it’s pretty easy for one or the other or both to convince themselves they made a mistake, that the love is gone, maybe it was never really there to begin with… why? here’s a couple of main reasons.
1. panic – the questions set in. what have i done? why is this so hard? do i really love him? why don’t i look at her the same way anymore? it is far too easy to give the questions more power than the actual answers.
2. immaturity – i’ve seen marriages end because one person decides being married is too hard and they want to break up. like it’s high school. there’s heavy denial and a refusal to engage in any sort of healthy resolution. it’s a lot of pouting and passive aggressive stupidity.
but how do you get past either of those? the answer is the same for both, but you’ve got a better shot at getting past panic than you do immaturity. panic can be confronted by both people and a fix can be found together. immaturity tends to result in one person trying to fix everything by himself. or herself. that, my friends, is impossible. there is no “enough” one person can do to save a marriage.
the answer is to regain perspective. and me being me, there’s a list about to happen that will hopefully help you do that.
1. why did i get married in the first place? – i? yes. i. leave the other person out of it. examine yourself. what were your motives? how were you feeling? what led you to that decision?
2. why did i choose my spouse? – be honest. leave pet peeves, anger and fear out of the equation and get real about why you chose to take vows with that particular person. do those reasons still exist? be as generous as possible.
3. what has changed? – both for the better and for the worse. Craig once said “people don’t change, they just become more like themselves.” i think he’s right. the longer a relationship goes on, the more people become comfortable with being themselves no matter what that might look like.
4. what do vows mean to me? – seriously. how much stock do you put in the commitment you made at the alter before God and witnesses? no excuses. just reality.
5. has there been anything that really counts as a deal breaker? – to quote my husband again, “that’s the thing about feelings…they aren’t real.” i wish you could’ve seen the look on the girl’s face he said that to. she was horrified. but again, he’s right. feelings are deceptive. feelings are fluid. feelings can change. how they change depends on where you put your priorities. is there anything that has happened in your marriage that truly counts as a reason to end it other than your feelings?
asking and answering these questions can save you from making what could actually be the biggest mistake of your life.
this has gotten long, so i’m going to expand more tomorrow.
share your story. married or divorced, i’d like to know how your first two years were. did you hit these struggles at a different point?
singles, have i freaked you out again?