I thought we had a good marriage.
I thought we were happy.
I thought that 16 years and three kids later, through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, we could get through anything. Together.
Apparently I was very wrong.
Let me back up and start from the beginning.
It started with a simple request. Looking back, I should have responded differently. I should have replied right away instead of just ignoring it. Then more requests came. In total, seven requests. I ignored them all.
Seven invitations to participate in the “Love Your Spouse Challenge” on Facebook. All I had to do was post a photo of me and my husband online for seven days. It doesn't sound too hard. Why didn't I just do it?
The first one came from a good friend of mine. A friend with whom I can call bullshit and know she will still be my friend. She nominated me for the challenge. I responded with “Why?!?!?”
She replied “Because you love your hubby.”
“I love margaritas, too, but I don't take pictures of us together and post them on the interwebs,” I replied.
I brushed it off and went about my life. Then more invitations rolled in from other friends. I ignored those, too. My husband isn't even on Facebook, I reasoned. Besides our wedding photos from 16 years ago, we have very few photos of us together. I'm talking an alarmingly low number. I am always the one behind the camera. He's not a selfie kind of guy. Which is good. I just read an article that said that men who take a lot of selfies are psychopaths. I can sleep at night knowing I am not sleeping next to a psychopath. If we have a rare moment together that does not include putting out some kind of proverbial fire relating to the kids, or the cat, or unwanted water somewhere in the house, we usually aren't snapping pictures of ourselves.
My husband came home from work visibly upset. He seemed to be upset with me.
Ohmigod, did he somehow find out about my Channing Tatum dream last night? Was I talking in my sleep? What did I say?!? I wasn't talking out loud was I???
Then I thought back to the multiple Target trips I had made over the past few weeks.
Did he find my receipts? How would I rationalize buying another handbag and more bath towels?
“I talked to John today,” he started.
“Oh?” John is a mutual friend of ours.
“He said you were invited to participate in the ‘Love Your Spouse Challenge’ and you didn't do it. Why didn't you do it? Don't you love me?” he asked.
“I-- What!? No, of course I love y-”
“We have been married for 16 years and you couldn't take the time to prove it to the Internet? And me?”
“What difference does it make? Why do I need to prove anything to anyone? You're not even on Facebook?”
“I am now.” He showed me his profile. Status: Single.
“That is ridiculous!” I cried. “I do not need to flout our love all over Facebook. You know I love you! I show you every day!”
He didn’t believe me. “Tell me one thing you do to show me you love me.”
“I let you have control of the remote! I take care of your children! I make dinner and keep the house clean! I say I LOVE YOU every day! I don’t put my feet on you in bed when they are cold. Well, sometimes I do that, but there are MANY times I don’t!”
“But you didn’t do the Love Your Spouse Challenge. You were challenged to show your love for me and you couldn’t do it. I just don’t see how any of those other things you claim you do can make up for that.”
He looked so sad. I didn’t know how to make it up to him.
I confided in my friends to see if they had any advice.
“Well, you should have done the challenge. Of course he is upset.” They were no help.
And so I now have the daunting task of trying to put my marriage back together. I have tried to find a counselor for us, but they are all booked at least 6 months out. Apparently ours is not the only marriage to be affected by one spouse not doing the Facebook challenge. I am hopeful that, with time, we can improve, piece by piece.
I share my story in the hopes that I can save another couple from the heartache that we have gone through. Please: If you are challenged to show your love for your spouse on the Internet, accept that challenge. It is the only logical way to show your spouse you love him or her.
Actually, forget all of it. My husband doesn't give a crap and I'm pretty sure yours doesn't either.