Love is NOT All You Need: The Truth About Marriage

Love is NOT All You Need: The Truth About Marriage // aboyagirlandthemarinecorps.com

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  He came home sullen and withdrawn unwilling or unable to reconnect with anyone.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  He has withdrawn further under the burden of a chronically sick wife who needs help with the most basic of things.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.

I made this sad world a paradise // aboyagirlandthemarinecorps.com

17 thoughts on “Love is NOT All You Need: The Truth About Marriage

  1. I cried reading this. This was me and my DH two years ago. We loved each other, but we were strangers. We were in our own worlds. We let it go on that way, until one night, really late, I cried as I told him that if he wanted to be single, if he would be happier somewhere else- alone or with someone else, then that was what I wanted for him. I didn’t want him to go. But I could not bear to watch him move further and further away from me…. I was convinced he wanted out. That tearful night was a turning point in our failing relationship. We sought help. It SUCKED! It caused fights. It caused hurt feelings. It caused both of us A TON Of tears. But when we scraped down to the crux of the matter, we realized we had changed over time, and that we still loved each other despite the changes, and we WANTED to be with each other- not alone- not with anyone else. He and I are not perfect. We still struggle. We still fall into our own little worlds. We have to really work to keep from going back to that state in our marriage. and yes- some days (and nights) it sucks ass.

    I am so sorry, Jane! I want to wrap you up and hug you and tell you it will all work out. Since I can’t, I want you to know I AM wrapping you up in prayer for peace, guidance, and comfort. I sincerely hope and pray you and your DH can find a way out of the valley you are in.

  2. I’m so sorry that you are going through this. You are so right, marriage is not just love, it’s constant work. I hope things start looking up and you become happy again – one way or another.
    Savanna recently posted…Make-up talk Yo’My Profile

  3. So much I want to say…so much I can’t…

    Suffice to say I know those feels, and you are right. Marriage is hard, military ones especially so.

    I also know that love is worth fighting for. Where there is still love, there is still hope.

  4. Oh hun, that is so hard. Are there services that can help either within or outside the military to at least support you in your decision making? And, this sounds terrible to say to protect you legally and ensure if things do go completely sideways ensure you continue to have medical coverage.

    Hoping things turn around and the man you are in love with finds his way back. Deployment can leave such severe issues for people.

    Hugs, hopes and prayers!!!

  5. I am so so sorry for this heartache you are going through. While being the wife of a retired military man…I can only say I agree love is not enough…but it is enough to keep you fighting for your marriage. Deployment surely does change people..and marriages. I believe if you hang in there..it will be worth the fight. I have seen it time and time again. You both are in my thoughts and prayers. God is there for you…run to Him and He will help you like no other can. Keep looking up! So glad you shared that big secret of your heart.
    Marsha Baker recently posted…Guest Post – Quick and Easy Homemade White Bread (Debbie Baker Taylor)My Profile

  6. I am so sorry you are going through this!! I don’t know what it is like to be in your shoes but I know the isolation in a marriage where partners are regressing! But there is a Father above you listens and hears and loves you! El Roi is God who sees and it is meant as the Lord who sees through us, He sees beyond the worldly view to the deep need and longing!! Gen 16 tells the story of Hagar when God meets her in the desert near a spring! This situation is your desert but Gods word is your spring and He is waiting to meet you there! My husband and I were close to divorce but God had other plans!!! Keep praying and keep meeting with the Lord for he sees!!

  7. Oh girl I completely understand!!! And I so wish I didn’t! Today is one year since my divorce is final, and although I can truly say I’m much happier, I still miss my ex. We also loved each other but you’re absolutely right that it is NOT ENOUGH. Anyone who thinks love is enough has watched too many movies.
    Fight as hard as you can for your marriage, but know that if you must leave, good things will be waiting for you on the other side.
    Thinking of you.
    Divorced Kat recently posted…One Year Later: Why I Love My DivorceMy Profile

  8. so sorry to hear about your troubles.. I’m once divorced and know that sometimes there’s nothing you can do but the difference is that I wasn’t IN love with him. That’s the thing, there’s a fine line between having love and bieng in love. It’s also hard since you won’t ever know what he experienced during that deployment, it’s a scary the experiences they go through. Some people thrive on that and live off of that though – I know several hard-core military people that are meant to be constantly deployed, they don’t like “civilian” life anymore – they thrive off that energy, that rush. Maybe he’s in that category. I hope you can find some peace, maybe talk to your family? Maybe it’s time to seek help love – sometimes you need help in order to breath. Hope you can find some solace and solutions soon, feel free to email anytime! -iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…GTFO: The Four SeasonsMy Profile

  9. I am sorry that you are going through this, with your marriage and in your life. I was in the same shoes roughly 6 years ago. My ex DH and I lived like roommates. He has a hard time with relationships, and is very cold and distant, although now that we’re divorced, it’s better, most likely because he doesn’t have to be in an intimate relationship with me. The only thing I can suggest at this point in time would be counseling, to see if you two can re-connect with one another. The military life can be a hard one (the ex and I had that going on, as well) and I remember feeling as though we were these two separate entities going through life without ever connecting. If you think counseling will help (my ex didn’t want to, a big sign to me our marriage was over) I think you should look into it.
    Sara recently posted…The Ebb and Flow of LifeMy Profile

  10. I’m sorry. I truly am.

    Marriage is never easy. As a blogger a lot of people feel like they have to have these perfect lives with no problems whatsoever. Especially in the military keeping the veneer is so important to not be a stereotype that people would rather ignore problems than address them.

    None of us really talk about the rough patches. The days of no speaking after a fight, and I do mean days. The fights themselves that can be brutal and you just want to talk to someone or vent and you can’t. The days you wonder what you’re going to do.

    It’s hard. I commend you for being honest here and I’m so sorry you are experiencing it. I’ll say an extra prayer for you. You’re always in my prayers but I’ll amp it up a notch for you both. I hope things get better. I really do.

    *hugs*
    Allie recently posted…RealityMy Profile

  11. Your first sentence made my heart ache! I am twice divorced. So I have been in your shoes, at least to some extent. It’s so damned painful and I hope that you are able to come to some resolution that results in happiness for all of you. I wish you the best!

  12. Gosh I feel so saddened. Love should be enough mixed with tons of selflessness and giving. Please don’t give up! Use every drop of energy you don’t have to get well and get reconnected, especially if love is the mortar of your marriage.

    I pray for your health. I’m praying for your relationship too. I asked God every day how to build my marriage. I didn’t say a word to my husband unless it was ordained from heaven. I changed as a result of my prayers and he changed too. Happily married for 28 years now. Some days I felt so helpless like watching a snowman melt knowing there’s nothing I could do but let it happen. Other days, I could watch the same meltdown knowing the freezer would save him yet realizing the melting was a necessary process, feeling small sparks of hope as things changed bit by bit.

    Jane, we’re bearing this burden with you. Godspeed and much love to you my friend.

  13. My hubs and I haven’t even hit the 3 year mark, and things were so bad (a year into our marriage!) that we even talked about divorce. He’s a 5 year jarhead, currently in Army Reserve. While I haven’t had the deployment experience, I can tell you the grass isn’t green here either. I convinced him to go to one of our local Vet Centers so we could figure out how to work through our issues with each other; ya know, even the littlest thing that bothers us about the other one. I’ve also convinced him (took a while and some nagging) to start seeing someone about his PTSD. Now, a year and a half later (and a move to a better place and new VA hospital, which is MUCH better than the last one), he’s still got some issues but he’s doing much better. I know it’s hard to help someone realize there’s a problem, especially in our cases. I lied to myself for a while thinking he was well adjusted after 5 deployments, and he just wasn’t. I’m no angel either, but the way I see it, particularly with Marines, is you have to be crazier than the Marine you married (loosely defined lol).

    I hate reading or hearing things like this; they make me sad. It’s NOT even close to a “normal” marriage, as defined by someone who hasn’t had the pleasure (excuse the snark) of marrying military. I’m not saying any marriage is easy, but ours are markedly more difficult.

    While I sit here trying to help you feel better, I know I can’t. I can send hugs and love your way, and share experiences with you that may help ease a thought, if you will.

    PS Thank you for sharing this and giving me even more motivation [than I already have] to become a spouse who can actually help. Basically, become a therapist with a clue because I live with it.

    Keep your chin up!!! <3

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