I’ve been married for nine years now. Nine years! How is it possible that we are this old already?! Next year, we will celebrate a decade of matrimony. Has it been easy? No. Do we take each other for granted sometimes? Yes. But, truly – we work at this whole wedded bliss thing, and we’ve come a long way. He is my partner for life, and we make a pretty great team. But…
We’ve both been guilty of being “marriage martyrs.”
I’ve probably taken on this ugly role more often than Luke. And, at this point in our relationship, I can usually recognize it and turn it off pretty quickly. In the early years, the little things would bother me so much: dirty socks on the floor I would have to pick up, dishes on the coffee table I would have to take to the dishwasher, and the laundry I would end up folding after three days of it sitting in the hamper. As you’ll notice, there were a lot of “I’s” in that sentence.
I (see – another one) martyrized myself even more once we had Charlotte. As a nursing mother, more of the baby responsibilities naturally fell to me, but in my emotional state, it was hard for me to see that we were in it together. I was only focusing on all the things I was doing and not recognizing all that Luke was doing. Sure, I was nursing and pumping, but he can’t physically do that! I was the one scheduling appointments and setting up daycare, etc. But, once I opened my eyes, I saw that he was so incredibly involved. He would bring me snacks at 2 a.m. while I fed her. He did his fair share of diaper changes. He rocked her when she was fussy. And, so on. He’s an amazing daddy.
If you’re like me, you’re blessed. You have coupled with a person who is invested in family teamwork. I do not acknowledge Luke’s efforts enough. I do not thank him enough. I’m the type of person who just assumes my gratitude is implied. But, I try to do a better job of recognizing our equity. We have our strengths and weaknesses. I pay the bills, lay out Charlotte’s outfits for the week, do the majority of the cleaning, etc. On the flip side, I can’t tell you the last time I took the trash out, fed the cats, or made Charlotte belly laugh quite like Luke can.
I know not everyone is in a balanced relationship — this post may not apply to you. My mom raised three kids with limited help from my father, so certainly no one would blame her for feeling the majority of the pressure. She would not be considered a “marriage martyr.”
But, for those of you with little to complain about, here’s what I’ve learned so far in my particular relationship that could help you avoid being a marriage martyr:
- When you are frustrated with your partner, ask yourself, Am I perfect? This is a hard one for me, but guess what – I’m not. Are you?
- Life gets busy and days fly by, but a “thank you” or a “great job on dinner” goes a long way.
- Remember that you love each other. Unlike any other team you’ve been on, this one is a whole heck of a lot harder to quit. Work toward your common goals while showing love and support.
- Does it really matter? Does it matter if your carpet’s not vacuumed or that your kiddo got to school five minutes late? In the grand scheme of life, probably not.