As the song goes: “This is dedicated to the one I love.”
Anyone who knows me knows that I am prone to break rules. Not in ways that give me a criminal history, but rather in ways that make me …well…me. What that means is I follow my own lead most often. And I bristle instinctively at trends and being told what to do, especially if it seems like a lot of other people are blindly doing said thing. So it should come as no surprise that I really abhor social media “challenges”. Some of them are just stupid (see the “cinnamon challenge”), others are promoting a cause (see the “ice bucket challenge”) and others are well intended self promotion (see the “relationship/Love Your Spouse challenge”).
Now about this last one. I love to see happily married couples making a go of it. We married folks acknowledge that it is often part dream, part nightmare. In the best relationships the ratio likely hovers around 90/10 (with days of fluctuation). Every coupling is unique with its own mix of joys and struggles. We have a surprising lot in common. Whenever I have blunt conversations with married people, I am happy to know that I am not alone in feeling the way I do about so many things I deal with in my marriage. So, I feel an affinity with other spouses especially those who have been together for a decade or more.
I am not a relationship exhibitionist. I love my husband and he is my best friend (mostly). I like his company and engaging in thoughtful conversation with him. We share so much (food, funds, funnies, responsibilities, etc.) We are often seen together socially, but sometimes we aren’t out together socially. People like to read into this. I don’t know why. Some people think we are joined at the hip and go EVERYWHERE together (we aren’t and we don’t). Others question the status of our marriage because they often see one of us without the other (we can’t win with some folks). We do enjoy some of the same things, but not always the same people. Sometimes I have to pressure him to spend time with people he’d rather not be around and sometimes the pressure is on me to do the same. On the most perfect of days we either both want to go somewhere, or we both just throw in the towel and stay home. Here’s what you need to know about us. We are often both home. We are NOT together at home. We have a small, three bedroom house and manage not to see one another for hours at a time. That is what happens when two introverts get married. My mother calls and often asks me “Where is Chris?” and my response is “I don’t know.” This befuddles her. Sometimes he’s home. Sometimes I think he’s home and he’s gone out without telling me. Sometimes he is merely out in the backyard, walking the dog or on a bike ride. Who knows? I had to give up needing to know. He grew up a very independent, only child with self-consumed parents, so he is used to being free to do as he pleases. I grew up with a sister close to my age and a mother who was controlling and tended to “hover” (before that was even a thing). It has taken me twenty years to get used to his way and depending on the day and the incident, I’m still not comfortable with it. All of this to say, we don’t put our relationship “on Front Street”. We are happy together even when we’re not together.
So…I’ve been challenged to show my love for my spouse on Facebook. I’m not going to do it. Let me tell you why. First, I just don’t like those kinds of things. It’s not what I do. Secondly, I am not going to pressure my married friends to do it either. Thirdly, I’m not going to showcase my marriage for reasons that aren’t clear to me. I know I’m happily married. Friends and family who know us, know that we are happily married (I hope. LOL Clearly from what I’ve heard we often present in a way that is exceptional. That’s just who and how we are. We’re good.) Lastly, we don’t have many photos of the two of us together. And we have A LOT of pictures! Many of him, many of me…few of “us”. I guess one of us is usually holding the camera. And that’s another thing. We are old school, film in camera folks. We do also have digital cameras and smart phones now. But we aren’t an “us-ie” couple. We don’t take photos of ourselves when we are out together. We are out, enjoying one another or the company of friends. This doesn’t happen as often as we’d like, so maybe we should be memorializing these moments. I like to see my coupled friends’ posts. You all just won’t see any from me.
Also, to all of my friends married or single (by choice or circumstance), I wish you the love of a good friend. That may be a spouse/partner…it may be a lifelong friend. If you are alone, my you never feel lonely. If you are a half of a couple that only brings you pain, find the strength to be the happy whole person instead.
Marriage is a challenge of its own. I don’t need a forced “challenge” with rules about days, posts and tagging people to add to the work I do every day. Those of you who are into it, enjoy! Sincerely…have fun. I know there are plenty of people who feel as I do and I’ve got to say something on behalf of my people who just say “nah” to this challenge.