Through social media that is.
I didn’t plan on going against the grain of what seems like “proper” etiquette in the year of 2017. In fact, I spent about an hour carefully scanning through all the pictures we had together. However, while I was thinking up a caption for the post I’d be sharing with you all, I was suddenly hit with the feeling of self-condemnation.
I can remember all the great moments we shared during this past year of marriage. I can remember the not-so-good moments too; the ones when I could have been a better wife, the moments I could’ve chosen my words more wisely or not spoken at all, moments I could’ve responded sympathetically before logically, moments I could’ve put down the scorecard that reads “Who Hurt Who?”, moments I could’ve been more honest, moments I could have been more vulnerable. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, I’m sure my husband would agree with that, but I know I could’ve been better. We made a lot of truly wonderful memories and we’ve have grown so much closer during this time, but I can’t help but think about how hard marriage is. It’s a very good thing, trust me when I say that, but it’s hard. The only thing I can compare it to, in which I’ve personally experienced, is a cross country style 5k race. I hated them in high school. I hate them now. Whenever I’m racing, I just want to give up, simply because its hard! Who in their right mind enjoys them? I remember when I had my paradigm shift about 5k’s. Crossing that finish line was worth every second of pain. I’ve experienced that same kind of victory in marriage.
It’s true what they say about marriage being like a mirror. When you live so closely to another human being, you get a good, close up picture of what you look like. Sometimes I stare back at a selfish woman- cold, filled with pride, and resentment.
Sure, I guess I could’ve spun a few romantic lines along with a perfectly posed photograph for all my “friends” and “followers”, but is there anyone else who would truly appreciate what we considered to be a milestone in our relationship? Would anyone know what it is that I feel when I look back with deep nostalgia to when we first met or the months we spent apart? Would anyone else understand that in order for me to be with the one I love I had to (and still have to) overcome my biggest fears and sacrifice all that has ever been familiar to me? Would anyone understand how loved I feel by him or how much I love him? Most importantly, would anyone else matter?
I’ll be honest. I really wanted to post an anniversary photo, because it’s easy to get validation from strangers and it feels damn good too. But I wanted something better for my husband and I on this day. I wanted us to seek validation from God. I wanted to reflect on the good as well as the bad. I wanted to be humbled.
Someone once told me that my husband and I were “relationship goals”, a term I believe is used to describe a “perfect couple” who are envied by many. I still don’t know how to respond to that, but I feel misunderstood. I feel bad that all the hard work we put into our relationship wasn’t seen. Then again who would share those not so pretty moments on Instagram? I wish I could somehow show people that our love wasn’t grown overnight, but cultivated for months and years, testing our faith and our patience. Yet, it was all going to come down to one photo. Which one was it going to be?
I’m well informed of the power social media can have. It can be painfully misleading. We tend to show only what we want to be, which is most often “perfect”. It’s easy to deceive others, and if we’re not careful, we can even deceive ourselves.
I feel a deep sense of responsibility to share what can be a shocking reality to many. Our pictures will always have borders. Most people who see them on social media won’t care to go beyond the lines of our perfect illusions. Love goes beyond those lines. Over and over again. It’s not easy to uncover someone else’s flaws and still choose to love them, and yet we still choose and are still chosen. So please don’t think we are perfect. There are only a handful who follow us beyond the borders of our very strategically staged forest picnic. SPOILER: There was no food in the basket and if that’s not enough a reason to jump ship then… all jokes aside though.
These words aren’t exclusive to romantic relationships. Love is the most powerful force on this earth and it’s an ability I hope we can all perfect one day, not through social media, but in real time.