Over the course of the last year, I have heard it all from well-meaning family and friends. But what got me the most has been their views on my marriage. I keep getting people telling me no marriage is ever perfect. We had to have fought. We had to have hated each other at one point. And on and on it goes.
I honestly don't get it. My marriage might not have been perfect for others but it was perfect for us. We never fought. I do not consider a disagreement on where to live, what car to buy, what bill to pay, who not to loan money to, as a fight. We discussed things and always came to a mutually favorable decision. I lived through a childhood where my parents truly fought. I know the difference. We built each other up. Encouraged each other. Agreed on how our family should run and how to raise our kids. Not once did either of us raise our voice at the other in anger.
People try to point out the issues we had with his ex-wife and a custody battle. What they don't seem to understand is that stuff didn't affect us or our marriage. It was a situation we had to deal with and we did, together. The 13 years I was married were the happiest years of my life. And I don't understand why people would want to bring that down.
I was told the other day by my mother-in-law that I was romanticizing my marriage, that no one can have that happy of a marriage. And that I am throwing away any future I could have with someone else by believing it. That no one would ever be able to measure up to what I have in my head and I need to come back to reality before it's too late.
It truly baffles me. Does anyone else deal with anything like this?
Unfortunately, some people think pointing out flaws will ease the pain. It's malicious & abusive, regardless, if it is suppose to be well intended. Many times I had to point out to whomever that they were crossing the line. Countless excuses were given till I wound up saying "it is what & how I want to remember my husband & marriage" or "just stop". Eventually, I isolated myself to prevent blowing up &/or hating them. I already had far more on my plate than could be coped with. The words that had already been spoken would fester inside me till I was forced to confront that anger over & over again. It was best to stay away for my own good ...
Do what you need to do to avoid additional anger & other grief issues ...
Take care of yourself first & foremost ...
Susan and I were married for 35 years when she passed. I can honestly say that we never fought, or really even ARGUED. We did disagree and how much usually depended upon the subject. When we were married, her mother Dotty, sat us down and gave us this advice... "Never go to bed mad." I had two boys, 4 and 7,and Susan came with an 11 year old. After we were married for 6 months the boys came to us and all said they wanted the same last name. So, Susan adopted my two boys and I adopted hers. We soon discovered that the kids were taking advantage of us and playing one against the other. At the same time we discovered we were talking AT each other rather than TO each other. We went to a World Wide Marriage Encounter weekend. Our eyes were opened, and I learned to write and speak with feelings (most guys speak in facts) and she learned to help me understand her feelings and their degrees of intensity. We were so taken with the concept that we became presenters, and later Team Leaders for both the Marriage Encounter, and later the Catholic Engaged Discovery Day.
Prior to our marrying we agreed on financial stuff. She was an accountant. I kept track of my finances by the "Rough Idea Method" I kept my checking account at one amount, and when the money accumulated over that, and it reached a certain amount, I would transfer that into the Savings account, and when that went over a certain amount, I transferred the money into savings bonds. I always knew my Financial status, "Roughly."
We agreed that all the money would go into one pool. We could spend up to $50 without discussion, and if we were looking at something over 50 we would not purchase it on the spot, but rather discuss it with the other that night.
Because I'd received orders to a ship and was leaving on a 9 month cruise, I turned everything over to Susan, and a week later was gone. Shortly after that, about a month later (mail took that long) I got a letter from her scolding me for "Is that any way to run a railroad?" She had worked her way through my check book and combined everything, and "Finally had a handle on things."
The one time I saw truly mad was when she wanted to watch some musical, mushy, girl movie. I was out of the navy and in college then, and I begged off saying that I had homework. So she watched the movie, and I went into the bedroom and began studying. At some point, I must have fallen asleep. My awakening was to a raging wife hollering at me and ripping the covers off. Of course, being perfectly innocent and a guy, I did the perfectly wrong thing. I laughed at her. I was so shocked at this raging woman, I did the only logical thing...I Laughed. Well in talking that night I discovered that the movie had gotten her in the mood, and in her mind I was in the bedroom with the books open and studying hard, and that everything would be good. Over the years with the three boys, we stayed up, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning, discussing one or all of the kids, and whatever problem had occurred.
When we were discussing the furnishing of this home she asked me one day as she set various patterns of plates etc on the table. Which do you like? That stuck me as one of those man traps.. Does this dress make me ... I told her to print two sets and give me a set and that we would meet at lunch ( we worked together as a team, she ran the office, and I ran the outside) and set our decision on the table. We each had chosen the same pattern.
Over the years, we thought much the same, and could finish each others thoughts and sentences. I told her daily, several times throughout the day that I loved her, and kissed her nearly every time too. The months and months of separation brought us closer together. Each time I pulled back into port, it was like a honeymoon, but with the kids included. Each time I left, we held a change of command, where the kids knew in no uncertain terms, that Mom was IN CHARGE.
Oh, one other DISCUSSION we had was when we were looking at a 35 acre plot of land. She wanted to build down where two roads intersected, and I wanted to build up the rise looking over the roads and valley among the trees. It got heated, I finally said. Look we already own several acres, lets just forget this lot and stick with what we have and we both like." We did.
You are not alone Susan and I were similar.
An occasional disagreement does not amount to an unhappy marriage as long as you resolve your differences in an adult manner (fight fair!) and move on without holding a grudge. My husband and I agreed upon mostly everything but you know, every once in a while, a situation arose. It did not damage our relationship. We would say what we had to say and move on. We both held respect for one another and would compromise.
I’m not clear why someone would want to critique your marriage or why they might think that may lessen your pain. Seriously? No one is perfect! It’s a whole lot deeper than a few petty things that may have gotten on your nerves. Romanticing? I wouldn’t use that term because it is how many of us feel when we’ve lost our spouses, we’ve lost part of ourselves! Time does help us heal, but it also makes us realize the depth of our loss. It has changed the way I feel about my loss. I now feel grateful for the opportunity to have had this man in my life. He has taught me a lot and has enriched my life in many ways.
That is strange that a MIL would comment that way. I guess in a sense she is right though, it seems that a lot of people who have lost spouses feel there isn’t anyone that could ever replace them. Then again, having known that kind of love may have satisfied our need.
I guess the only way you’re going to understand why your family and friends say these things is to come right out and ask them! Say “ What makes you say that?” Or, say that you find that type of comment a bit strange.
I say listen to your heart.....only you know what kind of marriage you and your husband really had. Unfortunately people who knew you, especially family only have a single lense to look through so their perception of what your marriage is what they got from that one view. They did not see the whole picture. I know because the comments I have gotten from some close relatives have been similar to the ones you have gotten. My husband and I did not have a perfect marriage but we were perfect for each other and the good times far outweighed the bad. We had over 47 years together and shared so much together. When I speak of him it is with a deep love and devotion that was real. So when some relatives look at me as if I'm delusional I just block them out. I know what we had and in the end the only opinion that counts is mine. I have said to more than one person that there is no man out there that will ever measure up to my Tony. I will not apologize for how I feel and you should not either. That was your husband and how you want to remember him is up to you. I say God bless you for the 13 wonderful years you shared. Continue to live YOUR truth!
Fortunately I haven't had to deal with anyone like that. My husband and I had each been married twice by the time we met. And I think everyone thought that we both had finally found the right person. We didn't really argue, I always said we were like a debating team. We loved to talk about things no matter what the subject.I had 4 boys and he brought his son and we both brought some baggage to the marriage, but we always worked it out.And we didn't have to raise the roof on the house. Some people just can't believe that you could have had that great of a marriage. Maybe their motives are to open your eyes, or get you back to reality. Wlho knows whatever the reason it's their problem. Be happy and enjoy your memories, that's what I do.