The (not quite) American Dream

July 29, 2011

Rebecca from Daily Rebecca is one of those blogs you find and think, “Oh my. Oh, how much time can I find to read her?” She is smart and witty and so honest that I often catch myself nodding along as I read. She works full time and manages to keep everything together – so of course I am in awe since taking a shower is, like, applause worthy around here. Please to enjoy her ever-so-real post on her marriage:

Let me start by saying I was beyond thrilled when Diana asked me to guest blog for her. I’ve been stalking following her for months now and have fallen in love with her depth, honesty and sweet spirit. I’m what you would call a UUUGE FAN! (said with my best Donald Trump impersonation)

Her For Better or Worse post got me thinking. I just so happen to be writing this post on my 8th wedding anniversary. Wow, eight years…it seems so close to ten, and ten makes me feel like a grownup!

I met my husband Andy at church youth group when I was 11 and he was 13. I had a crush on his friend. Andy was just the silly sidekick…

By the end of 8th grade, I had it bad for Andy. His friend was old news. I wrote about Andy in my diary, I biked past his house, I watched his every move from 10 pews back on Sunday mornings, I wrote my first name with his last name in a million different ways on any piece of paper I could find.

I was smitten.

I daydreamed about marrying him and living The American Dream. You know, 2.5 kids, house in the suburbs, nice vacations: the works.

I had visions of primping for his company parties. I’d look ravishing and he’d tell me I was the most beautiful woman in the world. We’d dart off in our luxury sedan to enjoy a night on the town while the children stayed home with the sitter. In my dreams we were so fabulous.

Fast-forward 9 years.

The reality was that Andy lost his job 2 months before our wedding. The first year of our marriage was kind of like playing house and kind of like me working while he played video games and job-hunted.

We lived in a modest apartment, not a sprawling suburban colonial. We ordered pizza and watched Friends re-runs. I wore sweats and a t-shirt, not diamonds and cocktail dresses. I stressed about having to bring home the bacon and I stewed about Andy not living up to the fairytale.

I nagged & manipulated. He withdrew & became more passive. I regretted getting married so young & he wondered why he felt indifferent.

We kept up the newlywed façade on the exterior but I became increasingly lonely and depressed on the inside.

Andy was a nice guy. How could I not be grateful for him? He was everything I’d always wanted. He was kind, he was sweet, he didn’t rock the boat, he wasn’t mean, or critical or anything negative. So why did I want to run away?!

Turns out marriage isn’t what it’s made out to be in books and movies. It’s hard work. Its sole purpose isn’t to make us happy. Yeah, that one was hard for me to swallow too.

Marriage is great. It’s intimate and rewarding. It brings our true selves to the surface, and, if we’re willing, it can refine us into the people we were created to be. Go ahead and look up refine (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refine). Ouch, right?

But remember, it’s the struggles that make the victory so much sweeter.

I’d need a few hours and at least 4 lattes to get through the story of our marriage. What I can say is that all of the hard times have molded us into different people than we were on our wedding day.

We may not be living The American Dream as I’d imagined it to be, but we are living out the story of us.

Rebecca is an enthusiastic and outspoken full-time working mom. She blogs at Daily Rebecca about marriage, motherhood, cooking and trying to keep it all together from day to day. Find her on Twitter as @rgould726.

23 Comments

  • Joy

    August 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Way to go, you Warrior Bride you! Love your honesty…it’s refreshing and inspiring. Rock on!

  • Monique

    July 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I love this! Also I love marriage, the first year is soooo rough when all your hopes and dreams don’t suddenly come true. But boy the 2nd year has been sooo good. I think people need to hear about the realities of marriage instead of everyone talking about how amazing it’s going to be just saying “marriage is hard work” is not enough. It’s the most devastating and rewarding thing in the I’ve ever experienced.
    Beccs this is great & I love your blog.

  • Andy

    July 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you Diana for sharing my lovely wife with your readers! She is so incredibly talented and has so much wisdom to offer, and I’m glad you felt her voice was special enough to post on your blog. You made her month and mine too 🙂

    Thank you Rebecca for sharing our story to help others through the ups and downs of this crazy thing called marriage! Love you!

  • Miranda

    July 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    This post? Is so much at the heart of everything in my head right now. Thanks for sharing, Rebecca.

  • Erika @NAMAmmaSTE

    July 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Great post Rebecca! It’s so hard to keep things in perspective and look outside ourselves. I remember, before my Andy and I got married, our minister asked us to think about what we each brought to the relationship. Like I had to think about what I brought, not what he brought. It sounds basic enough, but I’m not sure I ever would have done that on my own. It was an interesting exercise that I try my best to replicate whenever things get tough.

    That and a little intimacy never hurts to keep us communicating either 🙂

    I agree 100% with your intro Diana. You’re awesome Rebecca! Can’t wait to see you soon!!

    1. Erika @NAMAmmaSTE

      July 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      oh, and that first paragraph was just to say that you’re right… I agree it is work and isn’t easy and it was hard for me to swallow that it’s not just to make me happy. Still is often.

      1. Rebecca

        July 29, 2011 at 1:01 pm

        I’m seriously excited about rooming with you next week Erika! I’ve loved getting to know you over the summer and can’t wait to swap stories about our respective Andys as well as our little man and little lady 🙂

        I loved the bit about what we bring to the marriage…I’m definitely letting that one marinade in my mind!

  • stephanie

    July 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    thanks for introducing me to this blog!

    1. Rebecca

      July 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      thanks for checking me out! looking forward to keeping up with you on Twitter 🙂

  • Ashley

    July 29, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I’ve been married two years and really been struggling with realizing these truths but it’s so great to hear that I’m not alone

    1. Rebecca

      July 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      Ashley, thanks for the comment! It can be pretty tough when our fairytales and realities collide. Marriage definitely has its ebbs and flows, but sticking with it for 8 years has taught me that the good times get better as time goes on 🙂

    2. Diana

      July 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      Ashley – isn’t it great to find someone who has or is going through the same things as you? Marriage is hard. The first few years, heck – what am I talking about? ALL the years are rough. It just gets easier in different ways.

  • Krista

    July 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

    AMEN! Just that.

    1. Rebecca

      July 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks Krista 🙂 BTW…you CRACK ME UP on Twitter!

  • Ellen Kroll

    July 29, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Bravo sister!

    1. Rebecca

      July 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks El!

  • Rusti

    July 29, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I think I’ve just discovered a new blogger to stalk, err – FOLLOW. Great read!!

    I too met my hubs at a young age (5) and started dating him in high school (10th grade) and 14 years later we’ve both changed, as has our relationship, but we’re still together – and still happy. most days 😉

    thanks for sharing Rebecca with us, Diana 🙂

    1. Rebecca

      July 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Rusti, thank you so much for the comment! Sounds like we have a lot in common and may have some mutual stalking ahead of us 🙂

    2. Diana

      July 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      You’re welcome, enjoy her as much as I do.

      That sounds very wrong.

      1. Rusti

        July 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm

        LOL – yes, yes it does 😉

  • Tracy

    July 29, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Nail on Head. Great post 🙂

    1. Rebecca

      July 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      Thank you Tracy! Btw…I heart your LiberatingWM blog!

      1. Tracy

        July 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm

        Well really thank you with your support for the new blog! And be on the lookout for guest posting guidelines coming to @LiberatingWM soon 😉

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