Is My Marriage a Failure?
Nobody likes to think, especially if you’re a Christian, that your marriage isn't everything you hoped or imagined it would be. The Hollywood movie, happy and passionate kind of marriage.
Media—and social media especially—feeds the lie that I am the only one struggling here. I scroll through my feed and see an endless parade of happy couples who seemingly have it all together. And then I look at my own marriage, which is often hard and feels like a roller coaster of being great for one hour and then mundane or boring for the next.
So is my marriage a failure? Or does the real issue come from my expectations of what marriage could and should be?
When I was single, I felt “incomplete” and lonely. I longed to get married to a wonderful guy and start a family. I imagined that if I could marry a nice Christian boy, that we would have an easy time being on the same page about everything: kids, the future, and more. We would have a clear picture of our purpose, which of course would include him leading us in serving and having profound daily Bible study and prayer together. On top of whatever Hollywood says a great marriage looks like.
Now fast forward to seven years later. I did meet a wonderful guy, get married, and start a family. But I am still fighting some of the same feelings from my single days. It’s confusing: I now have the spouse of my dreams, the one who checked off all the boxes. So why do I still struggle with feeling alone, or wondering if I made a mistake, or if I should have waited longer for a more “ideal” person or a more spiritual leader?
When my focus in life is only me, my spouse, and the kids (and maybe even a great career), it doesn't make life satisfying. I still have the sense that I am not completely where I need to be, even though I got it all! Why do I still feel that way?
The reality is, God said life would be hard at times, no matter what our marital status is. The faster I accept that and try to live with that, the better I will be at facing my own reality and learning to live with it. Life isn't a Bollywood movie or fairy tale. Sometimes, real life can really suck.
And now that I am “stuck” in my marriage and kids, I often feel trapped and not able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. My schedule is dictated by work, kids and spouse. It's not just me anymore.
It's the little moments that make life great, not the grandiose moments. But if I can't be thankful for the little things in life-- just to embrace the common, mundane parts of life as a wife and mom of parenthood—I will miss living it.
I dreaded being single when I was single, and now I dread being a parent and married and being stuck...I see a pattern and it's all in my head. I haven't changed my pattern of thinking or perspective. I merely changed my Facebook status.
Change needs to come from within and from seeking a thriving relationship and connection with God.
So here’s what I would tell my single self:
Marriage isn't the end goal of life.
If you never find a life partner, you can still enjoy a happy, fulfilling life with real purpose and deep friendships. You’ll have to resist all of the messages that tell you otherwise.
And even if you do find a life partner who checks all the boxes, you still need to continue to find other things to fulfill you. Marriage alone isn’t able to do that.
I’m now realizing that even though I am married with kids, I still need more than just a spouse and kids to thrive. I need other people who share similar struggles and experiences, or who are further along in their life stage and can impart knowledge. I have made it a goal to keep talking to other people in different life stages to gain more perspective on mine, to learn and feel seen, to remember that we are in the same boat.
Do you feel alone? Do you wonder if your marriage is where it needs to be? You are not alone; these feelings are surprisingly normal. Don’t give up; seek connection with others. Gain perspective and find other people to help you draw closer to God.
Looking to connect with others who can relate to your life stage? Join a group, here.