When your marriage is failing, sometimes it’s hard to be around other couples who appear so happy.
You know the ones I mean. They are free with PDA. They express nice gestures and brag about each other. They say romantic things on Facebook and post cute pictures.
Their sweetness is just another painful reminder of what we don’t have in our own life. Sometimes seeing them makes us mad. Sometimes it makes us jealous. Sometimes it makes us lonely. And sometimes we just want to hide away and cry our eyes out.
If, like me, you’re struggling in your marriage and every one around you seems to have a perfect relationship, don’t feel bad.
It’s normal to cringe a little. But it doesn’t have to be torture.
Here are some things to remember:
1) Right now we’re overly sensitive, and that’s okay. We need to accept that this is a season of life and we won’t be this sensitive forever. We just have to be careful not to let our emotions get out of control. We can’t be snippy or rude, because it’s not their fault we’re having problems.
2) Everyone struggles with something. So they got the marriage part right. There are other areas where they need work, so there is no comparison to our situation. Or, maybe they don’t have it together as a couple and it’s all a fake show to disguise the truth. The point is, they have problems, too.
3) We have free will; we choose our response. Instead of behaving badly, such as glaring at them or wallowing in self-pity, we can decide to be happy for them that they were spared the same shame and despair we’re experiencing. We can refuse to be depressed or resentful (which does no one any good anyway).
4) They are not better than us because they are happily married and we’re not. We have all sinned and fallen short. The fact that our marriage is a struggle has no reflection on our value as a person. God loves each of us the same.
We don’t have to let the happiness of other couples get us down.
We just need to take the right steps to make each situation easier on ourselves. Dwelling on the difference between us and them sparks a blaze of emotion, but we can extinguish it by moving on. We can ignore the sting and find something more positive to occupy our minds.
Let’s not allow picture-perfect couples to make us feel bad about ourselves.
(For more encouragement on persevering through marriage struggles, visit my personal blog.)