“I don’t even know why we are together,” my wife said to me once.
That obviously kind of hurt my feelings. It was during a time in our marriage that we had been fighting a lot. And after she said those words, I reflected on it and asked myself: If we really fight this much, why are we together?
I just sat there and thought about it, and all the good times that we had overwhelmed all the bad times—like the times we sit and talk and watch TV, or the times our children were born. The good times were amazing and it seemed like all the bad times were just over petty things, like fighting over what we’re going to do with the money we have, or the difference in our parenting styles.
My wife and I argue and fight a lot more now than when we first got married, and I’m sure we’re not the only ones who have found that marriage is different than when we first got married. It seems like things get more difficult; the fights when we first got married are different than the ones we have now. And the hard times then were different than the hard times now.
I don’t think it’s because we love each other any less than we when we first got married, because I love her more than ever now with our three (soon to be four) kids—and that’s even with the bills piling up! Times are just tough and stressful, and sometimes we lose sight of each other because of all the stress.
But we can’t let that happen because there’s a reason we got married…for love. The key is to remember the beginning of our marriage and the reason we got married in the first place.
I’m finding that it’s important to remind myself that my wife is stressed just as much as I am, and sometimes I think that we lose sight of that. We forget that we have the same problems: the same phone bill to pay, the same car with a flat tire. But I tend to bottle up my anxieties and worry about things on my own. Instead of doing that, why not share my worries with her? I think it would help us to feel more like a team, like I’m not doing this alone. And when we do that, we can’t let the stress of life overwhelm our relationship; we can’t lose focus on what’s really important—and that’s each other and the family we have built together.
Every marriage is going to have bad times. And in my wedding vows I said I would love her and take her for better or for worse and support her no matter what.
So the day after she asked why we were still together, I told her.
I told her it was because I was madly in love with her, just like the day we got married, and that we shouldn’t let things stand in the middle of our marriage.
I told her that the day we got married we vowed to take on life together as a team and not as individuals.
In essence, I was telling her that I’m proud of the life and the family that we have built together, and that I’m not gonna let that just go to the wayside because of the stress of life.
I think she agreed with me because after that day we didn’t fight as much, and from that day onward we have slowly been working on our problems—our own individual problems and our marital problems.
Married couples are always going to fight and argue; that’s just what normal human beings do when they live together and raise kids together. But you have to remind yourself in the tough times the reasons that you decided to take on life together. You have to remember that you’re not an individual anymore: you’re a couple, and everything you say and do will affect the other person in some way. Marriage is about learning to work as one.