By Megan Loden
I married a hot, young, ambitious man. He was funny, sweet, charming, and didn’t put up with my attitude. We drove each other crazy and were equally crazy about each other. As a single mom to 2 young kids, I was pretty selective about whom I filled my limited spare time with. But, I was drawn to him and spent every minute I could with him. My divorce was final and it was time for a new chapter. My new man was ready and willing to jump in with both feet for me and my twin girls. He was super supportive and my girls loved spending time with him. It didn’t take long for me to see that I had met my match.
I had friends. Not tons of friends, but enough friends. I shared my secrets with them as well as my hopes and dreams. I also shared my failures and my disappointments with my friends. They were always there to wipe away my tears after a letdown. Then, I would pull myself together and plaster a smile on my face for my husband. This went on for a long time. Way too long. If he knew of my being passed up for a promotion or my new cake recipe turned out to be a disaster, I would make it into a joke and pretend I didn’t really care much. When I would tell him the story of my being let down, I always did it while giving him the impression I didn’t care anyway.
When people would talk about best friends, my mind would go to the girl I grew up with, whom I’ve known for more than 20 years, or my neighbor, whom I spent more days than not with. My husband was……my husband. Not a friend. Certainly not my best friend.
At the time I couldn’t really put my finger on why. I loved him very much. We spent loads of time together laughing and talking. And we had tons in common. And the things we didn’t have in common only made us closer. Gave us more to talk about or became inside jokes. Despite all that, for whatever reason, I had never considered him to be a friend. Furthermore, I was convinced that anyone who said they were married to their best friend was either lying, repeating a figure of speech they had no real understanding of, or just had no real friends. How sad is that?
In the last 3 years, I’ve changed. My husband has changed. Our marriage has changed. I’m sure everyone has heard the old saying, ‘sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better.’ The thing is, I didn’t think I had a bad relationship with my husband before. But I did. I never doubted my love for him or his love for me. I never considered leaving the marriage. But at the end of the day, we were 2 people bound together by kids, a house, habit, and a million other mundane commonalities. We loved each other but had no respect for our love. We were committed but lacked the motivation to grow together. It was one of those situations that I can see now for the disaster it was on its way to becoming. I just couldn’t see it then.
We had a bit of a breakdown about 3 years ago and have emerged with a better marriage than I ever could have dared to hope for. For a long while, we had to force a lot of uncomfortable conversations. We had to admit our shortcomings to ourselves and each other. We had to be brutally honest about our insecurities, our dreams, and our fears. To be honest, we still have plenty of work to do. We are not now, nor will we ever be perfect.
But today, after many years and more ups and downs than I ever thought we could survive, I am confident that we can and will endure and thrive in our marriage. I feel bad for my former self and for the many women who are feeling the way I used to feel because I had no idea what marriage could be. I am beyond lucky to say that the man I married is not the man I am married to today. Just like the woman he married is not the same woman I am today. We are different people who learned to grow together. The people who married all those years ago were in love, but the people we are now are also best friends.
He is finally the first person I call when I have news. Even when the news is bad. While I certainly don’t love the idea of him knowing I failed at something, I lean on him for support during those times. Isn’t that what marriage is supposed to be about?
About the Author
Megan is a stay at home mom taking motherhood one day (read: glass of wine) at a time. When she isn’t busy embarrassing her teenaged twins with her mere presence, she can be found obsessing over her 10-year-old son or talking to her dogs and cats while her husband answers on their behalf, voices and all. She can be found on her Instagram, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Her writing can be found on Twiniversity here and on BLUNTmoms.