“Mr. & Mrs. Flawless, The Perfect Illusion: The Fear of False Perceptions”

My husband and I have the perfect marriage…at least that’s what we’re told. I really wish we had the flawless life that everyone seems to think we have, I mean who wouldn’t want to live their fantasies? I regularly tell my husband that he’s perfect for me, I’m perfect for him and our daughter is the manifestation of that perfection…but that’s where our perfection ends.  In reality, our road to forever has not been easy at all.  My husband’s previous life is very present and my present life refused to evolve into my future.  Blending, bending and evolving our outside relationships, without compromising our growing romance or sacrificing the relationship we were building with each other, felt like we were pulling off magic tricks sometimes.  As you can imagine, creativity served us well while we were dating.  Our coping skills included: random excursions when we needed to escape reality, reminding each other that we’re allies not enemies before (and sometimes during) battle, and secretly laughing at all the drama in our lives over boozy milkshakes.  Honestly, our coping tactics ended up being our favorite relationship activities.  So, what makes my relationship “perfect”?  Well, I’ll list the top three reasons I hear the most: I’m allowed to be a stay at home Mom, I have relationship freedom and we’re happy.  If you’re like me, that list just isn’t enough to base “perfection” on.  My take is that perfection, in this situation, is based on other people’s desires for their lives.  Hubby and I feel honored that someone can look at our relationship and say, “wow, I want that also!”  Truth be told, our prayer for our marriage was that it would demonstrate what a healthy relationship can look and feel like.  We want our marriage to inspire others to “do the work”.  And believe me, we DID the work!

Being a Stay at home Mom was something we discussed very early on.  I have two younger sisters, my Mother stayed at home for the first year of our lives so I desired the same.  However, even though it was a desire, God actually made it happen before I even became a Mom.  Three months before our wedding, my job of three years laid me off due to cut backs.  I immediately began my job hunt after that but we agreed that I wouldn’t actually return to the workforce until after our honeymoon.  Of course, such as life, we had a family emergency that took me away from our newlywed life for months, shortly after I returned…we were pregnant.  No one really acknowledges the events leading up to me being a Stay at Home Mom, it seems to be attached to the notion that we are financially wealthy.  This is an illusion.

The illusion of perfection seems to drive people to unrealistic conclusions about life.  My husband and I often find ourselves needing to “disprove” the illusion to prevent others from making rash decisions about their own relationship.  The freedom I have in my relationship comes at a price that not many are willing to pay.  My husband travels for work 5 days a week & currently has class for 5hrs on Saturdays.  It’s currently 5:15am and my husband is getting ready for work, we won’t see him (in person) again until Friday (Thursday if we’re lucky).  Our daughter is 17mos old and this has been the routine since she was 6wks old.  My husband is an amazing Father and husband, how he’s able to be attentive to us both is baffling but very much appreciated.  We love him dearly and he’s a great help when he’s available, which isn’t very often right now.  I’m a single wife and Mother which gives me plenty of freedom to experience new things with our daughter and care for myself but it also means I don’t have much help.  Yes, this is a temporary situation with an expected, firm end but that doesn’t make it easier.  Will I have the same freedom when things change?  Most likely!

Finally, we come to the third, top reason people perceive our marriage as perfect…we are happy.  I’m not certain what being happy looks like to everyone else but to me, happiness is an unreliable condition, what we really have is peace.  We are constantly hit with life situations that would be enough to crack the foundation of the most seasoned relationship, but our coping skills have given our relationship flexibility like that of a contortionist.  Being rigid when weathering life only allows room between cracks, I prefer as little cracks as possible.  “Perfection” is commonly mistaken as flawless, perhaps because our only guide or source of perfection is God.  Even though my husband and I believe in strengthening our relationship with God on a daily basis, we are not under the perception that our marriage will come close to being God-like.

Regardless of our coping skills and bridging techniques, regardless of the freedom and happiness/peace we have, we are not afraid to reach out for additional help.  We eventually ended up sitting on the couch in a therapist’s office to do a deep dive into our relationship and it’ll probably happen again during our marriage.  Having a healthy relationship is our primary goal.  By no means is our relationship the blueprint for everyone, it was designed specifically for us.  When someone admires the love and communication between us we truly feel it’s a testament to how far God has brought us as individuals and as a family.  We are not afraid to share the truth about how we got to where we are, especially to those who need some inspiration.  We often admire aspects of other married couples relationships and we are not shy about asking how they accomplished that attribute.  After all, the only way to maintain the “perfection illusion” is to keep building upon it.

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