After being with her husband for over 20 years, Whitney Fleming has realized that even if a person and their partner love each other to the moon and back, being married for so long has its challenges, especially once you throw a few kiddos in the mix. The 44-year-old mom admitted in an emotional Facebook post that she has felt like "giving up" on marriage on the bad days:
Sometimes I want to give up on this. Sometimes I want to give up on the stability, the memories, the relationship built on 22 years. Sometimes I want to leave the man who gets frustrated too easily or often doesn't see the world the way I do or still leaves the toilet seat up upon occasion. Sometimes I crave a simpler life, one without conflict or obligation or concessions.
Because sometimes marriage is just hard, too hard to see it through to the end. This smiling woman in the photo is not the same person at 44 as she was when she met this man at 22. She is hardened and jaded and often feels broken. She is more compassionate to those in pain because she also suffers; yet sometimes, she forgets to dispense empathy upon those closest to her. She puts others' needs before hers because that is simply what mothers do; although sometimes she resents it. She loves hard and full and fierce; but sometimes she wonders if that is enough. Sometimes I want to give up on this — and I'm not sure what stops me.
Although plenty of parents have walked away from marriages in the past, Whitney explained that her three kiddos definitely play a huge part in her decision to stay in her relationship, among other things. "Certainly, it is the three young faces that stare back at me over the family dinner table. It may be the fear of living a life without a partner," she wrote. "Perhaps it is the complications of separating two intertwined lives. It would not be uncommon or unusual. I've watched couples disintegrate before my eyes because of tragedy or betrayal, and other unions slowly rip at the seams because two people grew apart or sought different lives."
So what exactly does Whitney do during her moments of doubt? Reflect on everything they've accomplished over the years as a unit:
So, sometimes, when I want to give up on this, I look, I mean really look, at the pictures of us. I see the multitude of lines that adorn our faces, the result of so much joy and laughter shared between two souls. Each smile reminds me we overcame the pain of miscarriages and infertility and deaths and illnesses that we endured only by grasping each other tightly. The sight of us touching reminds me of how just simply grabbing my hand used to take my breath away, and still does upon occasion.
And I look into his eyes, and I see that he is still the most decent man I have ever known. Sometimes marriage is hard, harder than maybe it should be. Giving up may be logical, easier or, sometimes, even the right thing to do. Sometimes I want to give up on this, but not today. Because although I'm in the season of marriage that is difficult and exhausting and hard, in these pictures and in this life, there is always a new reason to fall in love with this man all over again. So, in those times when I want to give up on this, I am reminded that for our marriage "joy cometh in the morning," as it always does. As I hope it always will.