My marriage is in ruins. That is my biggest secret. The perfect couple, that deeply loves, that seem to have been made for each other can’t make their marriage function. Our friends would be shocked to know the truth hidden behind carefully crafted smiles.
Marriage is not about love. I hate to say that. But the fact is love is not enough to make a marriage work. Love matters, that’s for sure. Love is what makes you want to keep trying, want to make it work, want to working hard at having a successful marriage. But it is not the exclusive decider.
My husband and I love each other. I love him more than I can express in words, but his deployment destroyed us and we can’t seem to pick up the pieces and put them back together. He came home sullen and withdrawn unwilling or unable to reconnect with anyone. As reintegration continued he reconnected with all the parts of his life except me and our marriage. The truth is, he lives his life like a single man and that can’t work in a partnership.
Me? I’m not saint. And while I have tried so desperately to make our marriage work, I can’t force my husband to make the effort and his rejection, so many times, has led to an apathetic view of our marriage. Four months ago, I gave up. I simply woke up one morning and said, “I guess this is as good as it gets.” And decided to accept that my husband and I would continue the way we had indefinitely until we died.
We are the cliché passing ships in the night. We worked opposite shifts for all of our marriage until this past year. We have entirely separate routines now and that has onlygotten worse and worse. We just can’t seem to get our lives to reconnect. I can’t get him to communicate and I can’t keep trying just to be rejected and hurt.
I don’t know for sure what our future holds. I have no idea where we are going. It’s very, very possible that we are heading straight into divorce… Which is something we have already talked about doing. But time is dwindling down. I am in desperate need of a partner, not a roommate, and my husband abandoned me in my time of need.
He has left me alone in our bed while he hangs out with friend and plays video games downstairs. He has withdrawn further under the burden of a chronically sick wife who needs help with the most basic of things. I can’t fix things alone. I can’t force him to want to spend time with me or to be willing to help me. But I know that I can’t live in this isolation knowing someone who is supposed to be there for me is downstairs leaving me to fend for myself, alone and depressed.
It’s not about love. And while love may be a vital part of marriage, it is not enough to make a marriage function. Marriage takes work. It takes effort by both parties to connect, communication and continue to be partners in life. It takes work to fall in love over and over again with your partner throughout the course of your lives. Sadly, love is not what is going to save your marriage. It might keep you in it, it might make you feel like a failure for wanting to walk away, but it won’t keep your marriage together.
I love my husband and he loves me. But a marriage only works if both parties are equally invested in all that marriage is. Each person has to be willing to be strong for the other in times of weakness and care for the other in times of sickness. You are supposed to be the support for the other when the world feels like too heavy a burden to continue to carry on your own. Marriage is two people taking turns being the one who is saving the other.
My marriage has none of those things. It hasn’t had those things in a long time. And loving my husband doesn’t make ME feel loved. It doesn’t make him want to spend time with me in my isolation. It doesn’t change the fact that I am alone and lonely when I live with someone who is supposed to love and care for me. It has not changed the situation I am in: Unable to walk without help.
The truth about marriage is that it is so much more than love. It is work and hard work at that. It is a partnership, a give and a take, a flow of communication to help each other understand, and while love is the key, the very foundation, it will not repair the damage if that is all you have left.