the reality of marriage.
A marriage that does not make the highlight reel.
Let me teach you something about marriage.
Once during a massive argument over the laundry, my wife took the overpriced diamond engagement ring bought her and threw it in my face like it was cheap Wood Green Market Hall NYC jewellery?
Are you mad? Do you know how much that cost me? You’re crazy.
Shut up! Solomon.
Our voices raised, and the argument escalated further.
Don’t chat to me.
I don’t care.
I’m not coming back
I. Do. Not. Care.
Several hours and an untold number of missed calls to her sisters and friends later, she came back. That was not the first time we fought before the wedding, and it wasn’t the last, but those are the moments we edited out of the anniversary posts and wedding speeches. The part you don't see in the tweet you all liked on Instagram. That is the hashtag goals you snapchatted—the BTS. The directors cut that never makes the world premiere. That is marriage; in marriage, the bitter doesn’t shy away from the sweet.
Having been in a relationship for 13 years, I can tell you that marriage is brutally honest. If you are not ready to be exposed, stay away from marriage. The singular act of saying I do is easy. Getting married is easy. That part is fun and filled with photographs, food and celebration.
People assume they are ready for marriage because they are ready to get married. They might be prepared for the bridal shower, the bachelor party, the wedding, the honeymoon. The might be ready to stand in front of the pastor, iman or rabbi and declare their undying love in front wet-eyed friends and family members. The might have already bookmarked their first home, decorated their vision board with holiday destinations and collected brochures of potential schools their children might attend. They might be naive enough to think they are ready for kids and family—you are never prepared for kids.
I blame Dinsey, Titanic, Celine Dion, Love Island, Love is Blind and any other Tv series that begins with love and ends with a couple winning some prize money. I blame reminders that you are getting old. I blame friends who edit their entire relationship and present you with the filtered VCSO cam version. I blame tweets like my own that only give you a sample of the product.
Don’t get it twisted; I am not doubting your love.
But if you are serious about marriage, I don't want to hear about love. Love is the icing on a giant cake, and sometimes it spreads too thin. People think love is an emotion when really it is a commitment. So tell me about commitment— asking your partner for the help while choking on pride and humiliation. Breaking down—not crying—breaking down every single atom of your existence in your partner's arms. Can you handle that vulnerability? Are they strong enough to put you back together?
Then tell me about discussing the past with your partner. Every scar from the one under your chin from when you fell off a swing in reception; to the ones slashed deep in your heart from abuse and mistrust. You can build a great online persona saying the past doesn't matter, but in a marriage, everything matters because a marriage is built on foundations.
The hardest thing about commitment in marriage is it doesn’t end. There is no break. Marriage exists even with the debts. The dismissals. Miscarriages. Diagnoses. Funerals and the fights. The question is no longer can I (or you) handle this? It is: Can we handle this? In marriage everything is “us”.
Till death do us part.
Marriage is plunging into the deep end of the public swimming pool holding on to your partner's hand while neither of you has learnt how to swim yet. Look at the couples that have arched their backs for 20 to 30 years for their partners. Don't look at newlyweds social media for marriage goals. Don’t look at tweets. Marriage is not a race; it's a long marathon.
If you wish for anything; want that you can still make your partner laugh at 60 the same way they did at 21. That is marriage.
I wrote this snuggled in-between sheets, dozing off in my wife's arms. It was sweet, beautiful, hashtag goals, but it was not the entire reality, just one of the smaller slices of it, a single star twinkling in an endless night sky. The internet loved it. The tweet has been going viral for over 3 years, and even made the front-page of Reddit (I made it!).
After the tweet went viral, something bothered me. That I might be contributing to the generic, romanticized perception of marriage. That I was misguiding the next generation, taking young lovestruck couples and setting them up for the shock of their life. Marriage is fulfilling, but an infinitely challenging journey. So I started writing.
Spurred on by my wife to write my first thread, I wrote about our marriage experiences. People began to share and send DMs thanking me. That might not have been enough to keep me writing, but through journaling my experience and sharing them with my wife, we began to gain a deeper understanding of our marriage. It was cheaper than therapy!
That is how this journey started, and it continues. I hope you enjoy it.
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