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Is the Honeymoon Over?

September 13, 2013

My first year of marriage was freaking awesome. Seriously, it really seemed like things couldn’t be better. We both had jobs we enjoyed, we had plenty of money, we traveled to more than 12 different countries, and we spent a ridiculous number of hours cuddling. I enjoyed that first year so much that I honestly wondered, will the honeymoon phase ever end? Of course, I know it always does, but I found myself pondering…dreading, really, the day the big reality bomb would explode on our life and make us just another typical married couple.

Lately I have been suspecting that the honeymoon is, in fact, over. First of all, we haven’t had sex in over a week. Note to self, must remedy this tonight! Nothing major has gone wrong, and it’s not like we are at each other’s throats, but something feels different. I think the seeds of discontent I’m sensing stem from our own individual frustrations with life, which we occasionally allow to get in the way of our relationship with each other.

For example, you know that we recently moved because of my hubby’s job. He was super stoked to make the move, and had been delaying it so I could finish out the school year with my students. When we finally did move, we found that we loved our new house and the quaint, quiet, picturesque community we now lived in, but the work situation didn’t live up to expectations. Basically, my husband feels like he isn’t being used to his full potential, and his teammates don’t always trust him with important stuff. Also, a big project he wanted to start got rejected by his boss, which caused a lot of disappointment. He’s even heard negative rumors about himself floating around the office. There are still perks to this new gig—living five minutes from work, wearing jeans instead of dress pants, and not having a boss constantly looking over his shoulder. But, all in all, he’s not as happy here as he thought he would be.

I’m in the same boat; even worse, in fact. Leaving my job was hard because I loved it so much, and the more I look into things at the school we live near now, the less promising it looks. Even though I’ll technically be a certified teacher in a few months, my dinky little one year of experience can hardly compare to the kind of people they usually hire: veteran teachers with 15-20 years of experience and credentials up the wazzoo. I wonder, how long am I willing to wait? It could be years before a suitable position becomes open, and even then, do I stand a chance against the best and brightest teachers of the world? Yes, in some ways I like having the free time that comes with unemployment, but I’m not ready to give up on my career. Now’s the time I should be building my resume and perfecting my skills, not letting them sit around gathering dust.

My husband and I are both relatively powerless in the face of these frustrations. His team’s dynamic isn’t going to change any time soon, and I am at the mercy of school administrators who rarely get around to answering my emails. That feeling of frustration and helplessness is easy to take out on your spouse. He complains about something unfair that happened at work, and I find it hard to truly empathize, when my own helpless situation is always at the forefront of my mind. I try to listen and be supportive, but there are times I just want to say, “Suck it up! It could be so much worse!” I suspect he struggles with something similar when hearing me opine about being unemployed. He suggest things like, “Just keep putting yourself out there,” and “Find something else productive to do.” Yeah, as if I haven’t already considered those ideas. Yes, I know I need to find alternative ways to be a productive citizen. I realize that I can’t always expect the good things in life to fall effortlessly into my lap. I’m working on it.

I know he is too. It’s not like we fight a lot or have really grown apart, but I sense our little dissatisfactions are re-coloring the rosy world we used to live in. I need to stop myself from taking out my problems on him, and force myself to dwell on those wonderful little moments that still make my heart feel like it’s about to burst into a gooey love explosion. Example: the other morning the first thing I heard him say, in that super cute sleepy boy voice he always has early in the morning, was, “In my dream I fell in love with you all over again, and when I woke up I just knew I needed to find you. And then I realized you were in my arms.”

So maybe the honeymoon is over. But in moments like those, it sure feels like it’s going strong. Maybe that’s what real marriage is like, little bits of uncomfortable reality and amazing bliss all mixed together.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 13, 2013 2:47 pm

    My brain can’t handle grown up relationships like yours. I think being conscious of those external pressures is all you can do and it seems like you’re ahead of the game compared to most couples. I’m proud of you guys, you’re so lucky that you’re both working hard at making your life the best it can be.

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