This may be why you constantly feel you are in an unhappy marriage
It's unrealistic to expect every waking day to be filled with nothing short of marital bliss. There are bound to be occasional fights, quarrels and low points. But if your marriage isn't turbulent or failing, you shouldn't constantly be second guessing your spouse, questioning your choices and wallowing in self-pity. You shouldn't constantly feel that you are in an unhappy marriage.
If you feel you are in an unhappy marriage due to a specific reason such as recovering from a huge fight or something that strained your relationship, a stressful period, finances or the like, then that's fine. It's likely that you will work things out and life will go back to normal. Or if it doesn't, and unfortunately (although we really hope not) things fail, at least you know what went wrong.
But picture this. You wake up every morning feeling discontented. You feel that you are settling. Your spouse isn't all that wonderful but you can't quite put a finger on what exactly is wrong. You generally feel as if you are in an unhappy marriage but you just can't identify the cause.
Let me ask you a question. Have you been spending a lot of time looking at other people's marriages on social media? Have you been (possibly subconsciously) comparing your marriage with what you see on social media? Are you in an unhappy marriage or are you misleading yourself into believing that you are?
Why doesn't he buy me a huge bouquet of flowers? Why doesn't he cook for me? Why don't I get a Prada bag for my anniversary? Why doesn't he put the kids to bed? Why don't we go to the Swiss Alps for a romantic getaway? Why does he snore in his sleep? Why doesn't he write me poems?
Is this possibly why you believe you are in an unhappy marriage?
To some extent, it's human nature to compare. But the difference is, before social media pervaded our lives, people didn't know as much about how other people's marriages worked. Even if they did, the knowledge wasn't replete with pictorial evidence.
It's different now. You know which hotel your friend spent the night of her wedding anniversary in. You know where your friend's husband ordered that gorgeous bouquet for her birthday. You even know the flirty texting that goes on between couples. Because privacy these days, what privacy?
But before you get all caught up in comparing and wondering why your marriage isn't as fantastic as everyone around you, before you convince yourself that you are in an unhappy marriage, stop for a bit.
Do remember that what you see on social media is never the full story. What you see of someone else's life or marriage is only as much as they allow you to see. No one's life is perfect. What you see may just be a tiny fragment the actual story.
And because you keep looking at other peoples' marriages, you end up losing satisfaction in yours. You start overlooking the effort and tiny joys that you share with your spouse. You view your life and marriage as nondescript and not good enough. It becomes a vicious cycle and an unhappy marriage becomes a product of your self-fulfilling prophecy.
Why do this to yourself? Why do this to your spouse? Why do this to your family?
In fact, if you think about it, the very things that you keep comparing weren't what you were looking for in a partner to begin with! Because if those were the things or qualities or lifestyle that you really wanted, and your spouse doesn't have them, chances are you wouldn't have fallen for him to begin with.
So remember mums, instead of comparing your marriage with what social media portrays marriage to be, look at your marriage as a unique journey that is shared just by you and your spouse. If there are problems that make you feel as if you are in an unhappy marriage, identify them and fix those problems.
Remember that it takes time to fix problems. And you need to fix them one at a time. Marriage is a journey, not a destination. It's a work-in-progress and it takes constant effort to make it amazing.
And instead of focussing on your spouses's shortcomings, choose to focus on the things that made you fall for him in the first place.
It could be the simplest of things. Maybe it's the way he kisses your forehead or pulls the blanket over your toes that easily get cold. Maybe it's the way he never forgets to remind the barrister to use skimmed milk for your latte or maybe it's the way he tickles your kids and makes them squeal with laughter.
Marriage is about effort, sincerity and commitment. Marriage is about the little everyday things. Marriage isn't an exhibition of extravagance.
So if you think you are in an unhappy marriage, lay off social media for a bit, take a walk down memory lane and remember how you and your spouse started out, look at all that you've accomplished, the family and home you've built together. You may not be as unhappy as you had imagined!
*Republished with permission from The Asianparent Philippines