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September 3, 2015 - Stacey Sacco
Relationships are hard. As teens and young adults, we are led to believe that friendships are fun and exciting. That marriage is all romance and adventure. That children will fill our hearts with words of adoration on a daily basis (which we should really figure out quickly since we certainly aren’t doing that for our own parents at that time). While these things may be true at any given time, they aren’t the standard. Particularly marriage.

The most meaningful relationship of our lives is often stressful, bitter and tense rather than the cooperative partnership we dream of. Mostly, this is because we are two human beings living in a confined space, sharing finances, balancing family obligations, and stuck with the decisions the other makes. And all of this is magnified when children are added.

There are so many mundane, NOT fun things in a partnership. My day dreams about the ideal husband never included scrubbing pots, changing peed-on sheets at three in the morning, or chauffeuring children to soccer practice. But somehow, it’s so easy to replace the joy of a close relationship with the monotony of necessary yet miserable everyday tasks of a household.

Any you know what else is easy? Doing nothing. Just waiting for things to get better on their own. Be it exhaustion or impatience, I often don’t want to be the person to put the effort into it. When I feel like I’ve been treated poorly or my feelings have been ignored, I’d rather just stew about it than get into an argument about why my feelings are actually valid.

And often, I’d rather not be the bigger person and humble myself to change. I’m waiting for what I think he should do to make our lives better. And waiting. And waiting.

Then I am bitter because the magic words were not spoken and the desired actions weren’t taken. In my mind, they are common sense. Be courteous. Help with household management. Take equal responsibility for the kids when you are around. Build people up instead of tearing them down. Priorities to me, maybe not to everyone though.

Oh, I’m far from perfect myself. I’m short with everyone in the evenings after an exhausting day with little ones. I would beg for a few minutes to myself at night rather than listening to my husband talk about sports or politics. I’m not above rolling my eyes and secretly thinking about the next episode of Modern Family. I’m less than gracious when I’m disappointed in the way someone acts toward me or my children. So we have plenty of fault to go around.

I’m well aware than my improve attitude would create change for the entire household. But it’s just SO MUCH WORK. It’s being kind when you want to explode. It’s taking yet another deep breath when everyone is complaining about dinner not being on the table instead of throwing half raw chicken across the kitchen. It’s continuing to have patience and love and respect even after the impressionable children are fast asleep. It’s pulling energy out of thin air to do all of these things.

Sometimes I’d rather be stubborn. I want to not make the sacrifice for a change. I want to plan myself right where I currently am and dig in my heels until someone else comes around to “reason.” It may not even matter if I’m right or wrong, I just don’t want to be the one to bend anymore.

I know this isn’t how it works. I KNOW this. I’m only responsible for my own action, I can’t make anyone else change, blah, blah, blah. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want it. Unreasonably or unrealistically.

What am I willing to sacrifice to have balance and peace and healthy relationships? Less than I should apparently. Lessons of the heart are the hardest to learn.


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