It is easy to get wrapped up in all that is wrong with your relationship during trying times. Seeing everyone around you in seemingly successful marriages, appearing to be madly in love, can feel especially discouraging when your marriage is on the rocks. It is important that we all remember that no relationship is perfect. The grass may appear to be greener in another person’s yard, but chances are they have just as many brown spots as you do.
In the world of social media it has become increasingly easier to doubt our lives as we watch the highlights of others around us. We see all of the beautiful family vacations, romantic proposals, flowers sent from the men they love, kisses perfectly arranged in front of sunsets and we wonder why everyone seems to be living dream lives, while ours have never come even close to looking that magical. It is crucial, for the sake of our mental health, to realize that social media has a unique way of depicting the good moments in life and not always what is going on behind the scenes. Not many people are going to share that the flowers they are bragging about on Facebook were only purchased by their husband to make up for the horrible fight they had the night before. Most people aren’t going to post photos of the mundane day they shared folding laundry, scrubbing the toilet and cooking dinner. We aren’t going to see a lot of status updates about people feeling unfulfilled in their marriages. People use social media as a platform where they can show the world their best moments, not their worst. So yes, life may be difficult right now, but if social media is bringing you even more down, then walk away from it.
We all tend to compare ourselves, our spouses, and our marriages with the ones around us. I have fallen into this many times throughout my life. In my first marriage I would see men who treated their wives like precious treasure, who respected their wive’s opinion, while mine made me feel like a constant inconvenience who wasn’t worthy of mutual respect. Even though I was in a very toxic relationship, the constant comparisons were not beneficial to my health. Comparing myself with others only amplified my anxiety and depression. Yes, in the case of this marriage it was probably good for me to see that there could be a better life outside of it, but trying to measure up your life to the standards of others is never great for your self-esteem.
Admitting our envy is a very difficult thing to do, but for the sake of this post I will share something that I have never admitted before, at times I have felt jealous of my sister. I know, what you must be thinking, “NO! This can’t be true!” Sadly, I am telling the truth, as crazy as it may seem. My sister met her husband back when I was still dating my 2nd husband. I was in an extremely dysfunctional relationship with someone I never felt very passionate about, while my sister and her guy were madly in love and seemed to have it all together. Not only did it appear that their relationship was better than mine, but this man was also taking my best friend from me. You see, when my sister falls in love, that person becomes her world. This is a common occurrence for many, but in her case, she really gets wrapped up in the relationship and distances herself from everyone else around her. So, not only was I dealing with separation anxiety, losing my sister, the person who had become my best friend, partner in crime, and rock during hard times, but then I had to deal with the constant social media posts that made her relationship appear to be lobster, compared with my canned ham relationship.
After my marriage inevitably ended, I came to find that my sister’s relationship wasn’t perfect either. It may not be canned ham, but it is a normal relationship with normal problems. This is a prime example of how social media corrupts our vision of what we should expect from our own lives. I used to envy the way that my sister’s husband would vomit his deepest devotions of love for her all over social media, but I have learned that comparing our lives is not beneficial to anyone. My sister and her husband may be madly in love, but even they have their own issues, just like everyone else, they just don’t put them on display for the world to judge.
After two failed marriages, I finally found the person I was always meant to be with. My husband is a man of few emotional words and it can feel like pulling teeth to get him to open up to me, even privately. I could look at my sister’s husband declaring his undying love on Facebook and wish my husband would do the same, but I know that he is a man of action and proves his love and admiration in that way. We all express love in different ways and it is important to remember that no amount of social media posts, flowers, or sunset kisses can compare with the unique relationship you have.
So, what can you take away from my declaration? Stop comparing your relationship with others! No one has a perfect life, it is impossible. You are only seeing part of each relationship around you. You have no idea what struggles they are experiencing, shielded from public view. Focus on your life, your marriage, and what you can do to make your relationship the best it can be for each of you. Nothing good comes from wishing your marriage or spouse were more like someone else’s.