Friday, August 6, 2010

Advocates for the Preservation of the Newly Married

Married Person 1: "...Kelley's still a newlywed. She doesn't know yet what it's like to hate her husband."

Me: "I don't like to rush through my mornings. I like to take my time, eat some breakfast, actually talk to my husband for a little while before rushing out the door."
Married Person 2: "Oh you'll get past that phase."

Married Person 3: "Let's not tell too many real stories about our husbands in front of Kelley. She'll never want to get married." [said while I was engaged]

They are right about one thing. I still consider myself newly married. I have only been married for 15 months. But newly married doesn't equal newly stupid.

I have heard all my life that marriage is work. You will have fights. You will have disagreements. It will be tough. It will take sacrifice. I have never been a butterflies and rainbows and candles and romance kind of girl. I don't go skipping through the house at the sound of the my husband's voice at the end of the day because I can't wait to hug him and smell him and tell him how much I love him [okay, at least not everyday]. We don't sit around for hours looking into each others' eyes because there is nothing else we'd rather do with our time. We both have a very real and grounded approach to love and relationships.

And I am happy. I love my husband. He loves me. We are respectful to each other. We get along. We hang out. We talk about things. Nothing is always perfect but I'm happy. Why is that so wrong for me to be happy? Why do people that are married for a while feel that it is their duty to rain bitterness on young marriages? Is it because you are unhappy and misery loves company? Are you envious of new love? Is your husband not even close to mine in fabulousness and you hate me for it [this one is very believable, btw]?

The above are just a few examples of things I've been told over the past year and the list is much longer. I often get asked how I'm enjoying married life and when I respond with something positive [which is every time], I frequently receive a negative comment back like "Oh, well you're still a newlywed," or "Yeah, wait a few more years and you won't be saying that." According to the masses, once I pass say, 3-4 years, all bets are off. I stop taking my husband's phone calls. I stop enjoying the time I spend with him. The way he does everything from brushing his teeth to tying his shoes makes me hate his everliving guts. Why is it so expected and normal to allow this disintegration of marriages? And more importantly, why is it so normal that it be made public knowledge? [Don't even get me started on TV sitcoms that use insults and arguments in family settings are basis for their comedy. URG!]

I'm not saying that a marriage can only be great if it is always perfect bliss and harmony. Marriages change over the years. Problems and crises are inevitable. I'm not newly-stupid to the point where I don't recognize this. My biggest problem with the way people treat their marriages is they let their experiences, heart-aches, problems, etc, become other people's business. A marriage is two people. Not two people, plus your bridge club and bowling team. If you have a negative attitude towards marriage because of something in your life, that's your problem, not mine. Don't try to make others think that just because certain things happened in your marriage means that you need to warn all those that have happy marriages that it's gonna hit a crap-hole here in a few years.

It's one thing to have a problem that you confide in a friend for counsel and advice. It's entirely another to use your spouse's faults as fodder for the lunchroom table conversation. I really don't care to know the details of your latest fight or other intimate details of your spouse. Now next time I see said husband, I'm all awkward because all I'll be able to think is: "You got unnecessarily crazy-mad at your wife for that time she didn't park her car in the garage properly. Stupid jerk." And I don't want to be that person. I don't do band-wagon hatred.

This rant is becoming much longer than I anticipated. I know I'm not perfect but I try to at least be aware. I have felt strongly about this for some time, ever since I started getting the light-hearted "warnings" about marriage when I was engaged.  I recently read in the Ensign a tip on marriage that said something to the effect of: Keep your marriage in your marriage. You owe your spouse a level of respect to not let the petty, and sometimes not so petty, issues become trivial topics of conversation with your friends. I would be mortified if I found out that my husband was sharing stories with his buddies about a recent fight or venting about something I do that makes him postal [we all know this isn't possible because I don't do anything that annoys him, right]. It has become so common place to vent about marriages that people don't think it odd or in poor taste anymore to gossip about your spouses. Your spouse should take a place far above all others when it comes to the level of respect and loyalty that you give them.

Rant over.


  1. A+ for this post. When I was transitioning between YW and Relief Society, I sat in a RS meeting with my mother one Sunday and was APPALLED! at the number of sister's making negative remarks about their spouse. :-(

    I got some advice from my sister Amber's husband one evening when I was filing a complaint about the BF...he said you should never talk about faults or fights you have with your significant other to everyone because then that's all they remember about the other person. WOW! Blew me away and yet it makes so much sense!

    I think our society has degraded marriage so much that it's no wonder everyone gets divorced! People don't WORK at being married, they don't compromise...they remain just as selfish as they were when they were single and they forget that marriage is all about give and take and forgiveness! I think if everyone would take the time to really WORK at being married, well hell we'd have a HUGE drop in the divorce rate!! (sorry, I'm not even married and I have a lot to say on this topic too!LOL)

  2. I have nothing to add.....just impressed and totally agree. And FYI - I'm at 6 years and am still as infutuation as I was at 1 month....tough times and all:)

  3. I'm guessing (hoping) that you hear most of this at work, and not from your friends. I don't hear much talk like this because I don't work and my good friends don't talk bad about their husbands, or anyone else for that matter...if they did, I'm sure they wouldn't be my good friends :).

    And just so you have something positive to refer to concerning people who are married: I love my husband(your brother) more now than I did 8 years ago when we were dating and 7 years ago when we got married. We have grown SO much closer and we look out for and take care of one another. He's my best friend.

    I'm glad you and Jericho have a great marriage, too.

  4. Well said Kelley. Keep this attitude and your marriage will get better and better as the years go by. When women start saying negative things about their husbands ask them to tell you what they like about them.

  5. I completely agree! I hated receiving comments to the effect of "you don't know what you're getting into" when I was engaged; of course I didn't know what I was getting into, how could I? But I knew I loved Christian, that marrying him was the right decision, and that if we worked really hard we could be happy together.

    I once had a friend say to me, "You know, my husband has never raised his voice to me. He doesn't ever get really angry with me." Instantly, my level of respect for her husband and their relationship grew. Not true for men whose wives I've heard say, "Oh yeah, I've trained him not to do that" like he's a dog.

    I always find it touching when I see older married couples holding hands or sitting with their arms around each other, and you can tell they're still completely in love with each other -- that's what I want to be like for the rest of our lives.

  6. Well said. Sometimes I hate when my coworkers talk about their husbands. 90% of the time they are complaining. Like you said, it's awkward. And that line was the one thing I remember from that Ensign article. And how can marriage remain a sacred relationship if it is treated in that manner? I could also go on.
    Congrats to you and Jericho!

  7. Ditto. We are almost to 3 years... still happy. Still in love... Still working on making ourselves better but loving it. We were told the same things, as if after so many years of marriage your life all of a sudden because a black hole and your life is over... Not the case for us yet... Wont be for you either.

  8. Last year we added a daughter to our family, which alters our public image. Before she came, newly acquainted people would ask us if we were newlyweds. Our personal trainer at the gym. A check out person at the store. We would get asked if we were newlyweds kind of often. And I loved it.

    We just celebrated 9 years of marriage. Frankly, the first years of our marriage were harder and it's just been getting easier as we've gotten into the our own rhythm - a big part of which is the respect you talk about. I believe you need to be an active participant in love and marriage. It doesn't just happen - you make it happen!

    Anyway, I remember hearing so many Debbie Downers, too. Kind of sad that they feel that way, I guess. And also, I HATE sitcoms that use the formula of nagging wife + inept husband + disrespectful interactions = comedy.

    And on a side note - I am sick of more experienced parents telling me how much I'm going to hate my child in a year or two. How my desire to spend every second I can with her will quickly go away and I'll be dying to pawn her off to any halfway competent babysitter who will take her.

    I just have to enjoy the fact that I've somehow found this elusive happiness that no (or very few) others have found. And then I pity them a bit.


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