By Mark E. Smith
My wife and I have slowly become a poster couple – literally. And, we’ve been blessed that so many have found inspiration not just in the one iconic image, but the life we lead, commonly shared on social media, as is the way of the world nowadays.
However, we’re truly not a poster couple. No couple is. Who we are, are two unique individuals who love each other deeply, but face the challenges that every married couple faces. I note this because being the poster image of anything can be a trap all the way around.
I look at our life in ads or online, and realize that we’re doing well. And, it’s all true. However, what’s not reflected is the rest of the story – life is messy sometimes. We have a 19-year-old in college, a 7-year-old with special needs, a dog, and a house. The tuition bills for the 19-year-old never end, the 7-year-old struggles to sleep through the night, and the dog likes to eat grass and vomit on the new carpet. To top it off, our house doesn’t clean itself. Your life may not look a lot like ours publicly, but if you step in our house, chances are that our life is a lot like yours – from balancing finances, to caring for kids, to stressing over laundry, to trying not to lose your cool because the dog ate food off of the table again. And, it’s really hard to be romantic when the day has worn you down.
No, life isn’t a poster image. Rather, life is a mirror image – and there’s beauty in that. Some mornings, as my wife and I are scrambling to get ready, usually running late with all of the chaos, we’ll look in the big dresser mirror together – half dressed, hair uncombed, morning wrinkles emphasized by the sunlight – and we just laugh at what a mess we are.
See, what I’ve learned is that perfection – or the illusion thereof – doesn’t make a true marriage. What makes a true marriage is when you acknowledge how messy it all really is – and still smile at it.