Doing the hard things...
I heard a very profound statement today when it comes to the relationship one might have with their spouse. The speaker on this very intriguing podcast said " I would argue that the the biggest problem in your marriage isn't your spouse, it's you."
Talk about a ton of bricks, like honestly, I'll pause and let you Re-Read that statement.
My initial thought was. "Um. No, but thanks" right? I mean I don't take blame very easily (not when it comes to relationships) and 2nd, why must the biggest issue be me when it come to my marriage.
I literally stopped what I was doing, which happened to be walking on the treadmill and really tried to tear down my barriers and REALLY hear what she was saying. And let me preface this ENTIRE entry with this:
I love my marriage now, I work very damn hard to make sure that I'm am very self aware and working on the steps and taking the advice of my past counselor to ensure that I'm contributing to the growth and evolution of my marriage.
No, when I think about a bad time in marriage I think about my past life, the one where I was married to the upmost worst person for me and I had no voice and no courage to actually stand up for my life. That statement about about me being the biggest problem in my marriage, yeah, that applies to that moment of my past.
As much as I would love to keep the stories of my past, IN MY PAST. I find that if feels wrong to not share the things I learned, both good and bad, to help others that find themselves in similar shoes. I know when I was going through the whole mess of it all, I felt completely alone and like there was no way anyone could understand my pain. So for that reason I continue to share this very painful story, I continue to analyze situations, and why I offer a shoulder to cry on and learn from if need be.
So now that we are all on the same page as to what relationship I'm analyzing, let's chat about the facts.
IF the statement that I was the biggest problem in my past relationship is true, what evidence is there that would support that?
I DID EVERTHING RIGHT
I BECAME WHAT HE NEEDED
FAMILY COMES FIRST
COMPLAINING IS FOR THE UNGRATEFUL
POINT 1. "I did everything right"
More now than every before, this generation is realizing that the Disney Fairytale stories that we grew up admiring so much were not how we should have been taught about love. In what world should a 16 year old girl run away from home and marry a man she barely even knows? We'll I caught onto that lesson a little too late. I mean, I was the "good girl", the school enthusiast, the honor student, and active athlete. I worked after school and never broke crew few. I met a boy that was a few years older then me, we dated and he would be my first and only everything. We got married and... happily ever after right?
POINT 2. "I became what he needed"
I'm not sure if this is a skill that was taught or if it was one I has born with, but I have this ability to read an audience and become the person they need or want. I can be the jokester, the helping hand, the strong brave one, or the one that needs saving. I learned at a young age that I could do this pretty well, which had me well liked among authoritative figures. I could read teachers, parents and coaches pretty well. And when I got my first "and only" boyfriend, I read him too. I paid close attention to how he liked particular things, which at the time I thought was being attentive and loving. I had done it the entire 7 years of the relationship, learning every habit and tick as if I was studying a playbook. I knew what was going to happen, before it ever happened. His happiness made me happy, so I was doing it for us.
POINT 3. "Family Comes First"
I always thought the best part about decided that you'd marry someone was the fact that you were choosing the one person on this planet to be your family. I mean I know that there are friends you consider family, but on paper and in the eyes of the law this is it. The one person you will start a branch with on the family tree and make your own. And in my upbringing and with my heritage (Italian and Mexican) "Family always come first". I was taught to be fiercely loyal, to stand as one, and to never let anything to come between family. So once we fell in love, those same rules applied. I was married, so this family I willingly chose to be apart of was mine to protect.
POINT 4. "Complaining is for the ungrateful"
I learned along time ago that the only lens you can see the world through is you own. Many have tried to walk the shoes of another person, to learn their life, their experiences, and stories; but it is impossible to every really understand the life someone else has. So when I felt things got bad, or that they seem to be too much to carry I could hear in the back of my head "People have it so much worse out there, what are you complaining for?" I had this internal check letting me know that life was good, that I should be happy and that I was being ungrateful. I mean what did I have to complain about? I had a husband, a house, nice clothes, and new car, and a job. I listened to that voice remind me that what I had was what others dreamed about that I should be "quite, sit still and look pretty." as Daya would say.
SO that sums it up... the evidence I could find that could contribute to that podcast speakers statement.
Looking at all these points and reading all the explanations, how could I POSSIBLY be the biggest problem in that relationship?
I REALLY HOPE you are reading this and saying "GIRL, you're missing EVERY sign like you're Bruce Almighty begging for a signal from above"
Stopping on that treadmill today, taking that moment to really take in the statement, it's like a lightbulb went off. I suddenly understood and agreed that YES, I was the biggest problem in the relationship. Not intentionally, but because from Day 1 I had no idea who I was, what I stood for, where my voice was, and how to speak up. I was playing the part of what I thought I should be, so when I "had it all" it was all the things I never wanted but never knew.
I had been working so hard at accomplishing this goal of "perfection" that I forgot to learn how to be real. So when I started to stand up for myself, when I started to find my voice, and when I started to ask for help, I was rocking a boat. Okay, rocking is an understatement, I was flipping the world UPSIDE down and and letting everything break apart in the process.
And that's not to say I didn't fight to stay together. I had gone to therapy, I did the homework, I took the steps, I had the talks and made the plans, but when I finally defined what I wanted (which was really by defining what I didn't want) I was like a totally different person. That does NOT excuse the abuse and actions he chose to bring to the relationship. NO part of me (or you, if youre in similar place) is to blame for that. The blame I'm owning up to is making a life choice for a person that wasn't real.
It's hard to accept blame, especially when it come to matter of the heart. It's hard to describe feelings and have a voice that's strong enough to take some criticism. But what's worse is living life as a square peg in a round world. When things don't actually fit, when your relationship is in constant struggle, or you feel like there is an internal voice you're trying to hush; stop and ask yourself if you can pin point the problem.
With Love and Glitter,