By Allison Hull
Recently there was a Facebook trend called “The Love Your Spouse Challenge”. You were supposed to post pictures every day of you and your spouse expounding on why you loved them and challenging others to post the same. I admit, when it first started I rolled my eyes and was quick to thank God I wasn’t challenged.
And then I was. Oh, how cheesy and dramatic. But I shrugged and decided it wouldn’t be too much work and would be an easy task.
I was wrong. Finding pictures of JUST my husband and myself was almost impossible. There was always a kid thrown in there, usually if the two of us were in the pic it was the birth or baptism of said kids. Besides a few selfies from this year, because we consciously decided to go on more dates alone, there were virtually no pictures to show our love.
So I went farther back. Back to the dating times. Back to our college days when we first met. Back to our wedding and subsequent honeymoon. It got me thinking.
Why are there no pictures of just the two of us?
Yes, we have kids and it takes up much of our time and energy, but it shouldn’t hold us back from showing the love that produced all those kids. What happened? Why couldn’t we have a few pictures every year of just us? I have to admit, I am NOT the one for cheesy, over-the-top pronouncements of love. I disliked engagement pictures and made them largely into a joke. I hate the pictures where you look longingly into each other’s eyes. Don’t get me started on kissing pictures! It just doesn’t need to be done in my opinion. My favorites are the ones of us laughing. My photographer at our wedding was surprised when I picked a candid shot of the two us laughing during our first dance. She thought I’d want one where we were posed or the one where we were looking into the distance. But I want to remember the laughter.
After I finished my 7 days of pictures a friend shared this link as to why she wouldn’t do the challenge and then it kept cropping up on my newsfeed. She said she couldn’t do the challenge — at least how she was ‘supposed to’ — because it wasn’t real. She mused that we only put the best 5% of our lives on Facebook while the other 95% is never told or discussed. We only show the airbrushed parts of our lives. And then she went on to post pictures of her real life where she’s fighting with her husband, tired, frazzled, running around, and sleeping.
I get it. Dude, with 4 kids living the life of a pastor’s wife, I GET IT. Life isn’t roses and sunshine. Marriage isn’t glossy pictures of people posed and smiling. Marriage is difficult. Marriage is draining. And marriage definitely isn’t lovey-dovey all the time. BUT she completely misses the point of the whole challenge — which is to stop, take a breath, and recognize that you got married and wanted to spend the rest of your lives with someone FOR A REASON.
If I lived with 95% of my life being the grungy, dirty work of living and only the 5% of my life as the happy parts, I would have an incredibly dreary life. Sometimes it seems like it’s 95% drudgery. Sometimes when we’re in the throes of despair, the happy part is actually that small. But I would argue it’s 50/50 if not more like 70/30 leaning toward the best parts.
It can be hard to find moments of sunshine when it’s pouring down rain, but they are most certainly there. Your baby’s smile, your third-grader’s weird joke he loves to tell even though no one gets it, a toddler’s dance, your husband’s weird jokes he loves to tell even though no one gets them… You get the point.
Those are the pictures I want to take and remember. I don’t want to remember feeling tired and drained. I don’t want to remember the argument last week about who used the last of the toilet paper and didn’t put another roll on. I don’t want to remember being frazzled. I’m not taking those pictures. But these little moments of joy, the way my 6-year old wants everyone to watch him ride his bike for 30 minutes straight because he finally mastered it, the way my baby yells at the tv during swimming races because we got a little too excited over the Olympics, the way my husband kissed me on the cheek before going to bed, the way my 3-year-old calls me his princess, and the way I feel when all of them hug me tightly.
THOSE ARE THE MOMENTS TO REMEMBER.
Those are the things that get us through this life and this marriage. The laughing pictures. The silly pictures. I won’t be taking any pictures of my ‘real life’ as the one blogger said. I’ll be taking the pictures that bring me joy and get me through the day. I think if she actually tries there will be a number of them before she lays her head down at night. I’ll be actively trying to make more pictures of the joy in my marriage and joy in my vocation. Yes, life isn’t the staged pictures, but I’d rather not focus on the problems. I’d rather put my trust in the fact that Christ gives me daily gifts and reasons to celebrate the life He has granted me.
I pray you and this blogger find the joy in the little moments too and stop focusing on the hardships. They’re not worth the worry.