So many of us grow up with the fairy-tale ideas of marriage, the dictate that we are supposed to grow up, fall in love and (say it with me) live happily ever after. The irony being that many of us didn't witness this at home. Many of us grew up watching two people make each other miserable. Sometimes one left or was kicked out which torched the happily ever after part. Or like my parents they were just trying to stay together for the kids.
Side note - please don't do that, as the child of people who did, it's not good for us. We can see you hate each other and that's a terrible lesson, so just separate, it will do less damage!
Back to our original program - When I was young it began to dawn on me that what we are told marriage is suppose to be and what we witness it to actually be are often opposed. Very early on I realized I didn't want to be the rescued princess and I didn't need a prince. I could kick ass for myself.
Then I met a guy who supported my independence. Wanted to ride by my side not with me on the horse behind him. We fell in love, we got married and I was willing to work for happy. But maybe my independence caused it or maybe he got lazy but I soon realized that I was the one working on the happy and he was just there for the ride. I knew there had been a shift when some friends said to us "You two have the perfection marriage, you always look so happy and in love. You make it look effortless." My husband and I laughed and I said "well it's not effortless marriage takes work." and my husband said "no it doesn't you make marriage really easy." Our friends laughed and the conversation went on but a little alarm bell went off in my head.
My husband wasn't putting in the same effort I was and was content to let me make the marriage work. He wasn't as invested or committed because he figured I'd do what was needed and he could just enjoy the perks. Even though I had heard the alarm, I didn't take it as the great warning I should have.
To me this is the problem with my marriage and so many others. The commitment and dedication is unbalanced with one spouse more invested than the other. If my marriage were looked at like a job, I'm the employee that shows up early, gets all my work done, never calls in sick, works overtime and comes back early from my vacation because my coworker didn't show up. My husband would be the coworker that strolls in late, calls in sick every Monday, and is the first person to leave everyday. He's the one that doesn't get his stuff done and asks if they can get help and then while they are getting help he's in the break room chatting everyone up and cracking jokes. He's the one that gets the least done but the managers think he's so funny and charming so he gets the raise and the promotion. Life goes well for him because someone else is doing the work.
In my marriage (and way too many other marriages) this led to infidelity. I had my head down trying to keep to keep the business of marriage afloat meanwhile my husband was handing his resume out to other companies. I had demoted myself to staff and picked up the work he wasn't doing. What I forgot is that I am not a worker bee or management of my own marriage I'm the fucking founder! As the founder I don't want or need a lazy employee. I want an equal partner, I want someone just as invested and committed to the success as I am. I am not looking for happily ever after, I am looking for committed ever after.
Marriage is not a part time job! It is work, hard work but if you love the work then it's worth it. So if you are the hard worker like me remember that you are the founder of this marriage business and it's ok to demand your co-founder put in the same effort and stop treating the marriage like a gig!
So that is what I am now pursuing! Remembering my worth and demanding the respect I deserve. You are also the founder of your own marriage. remember to lead from the top, you are in charge and you don't need lazy employees or a treacherous partner. If they want to lead with you great but you don't need them too. You don't need rescued and the happily ever after is with yourself, with or with out the prince.