Laura Mazza wasn’t trying to imply her marriage was perfect. But that’s what another mom read into her social media posts.

As the mom from Australia, who blogs at The Mum on the Run, wrote on Facebook, a post about her husband prompted a surprising message from another mom. Reading about Mazza’s husband led the other woman to compare her marriage to one she thought “must be perfect,” with unhappy results:

[T]hey told me all the things their husband didn’t do and all the things they thought my husband does so they wondered if they were right for them.

Seeing someone question her own marriage based on things she saw online was disheartening. Especially because the woman’s complaints about her husband were familiar. Mazza wrote:

That made me sad … it made me sad because our husbands sounded exactly the same.

As Mazza explained, the brief glimpses people see of her life on social media aren’t a true reflection of their relationship. And she doesn’t think for one second they are “perfect.”

Just like any other couple, Mazza and her husband have arguments and misunderstandings. There are nights when one of them is in “the mood,” while the other is simply exhausted. He “hates the way I stack the dishwasher.” And she hates “the way he doesn’t cook.”

Mazza freely admits she’s capable of being angry with her husband over a dream she had that he was unfaithful. And their communication isn’t always perfect. They haven’t gone on a date night in a long time and will sit in the same room on their phones without talking. She wrote:

Sometimes I’ll google divorce lawyers after a big fight and we don’t speak for days.

In short, they are just like millions of other couples with children:

[W]e argue, and we get on each others nerves, and sometimes we feel like more friends than lovers.

Sometimes I’ll sleep on the couch and cry.

Regardless of what someone might assume from her social media posts, Mazza believes that “marriage is hard.” And when you’re married with young children, it becomes more and more difficult to put time and effort into your relationship. But love means remembering to make that effort when it matters:

I might not try hard some days or he might not either, because we forget, life happens … but we always get to the point where we realize we gotta do something because we love each other. We realise on those days we gotta try and make the effort, even if we feel mad or resentful or tired, we gotta try and even be the first to say “I love you” or “sorry” after a fight.

Mazza knows what love isn’t — like the guy she once dated who never put forth an effort, and who accused her of clinging to a “fairy tale” version of love. But eventually, she found the man who would stand beside her, no matter what.

That’s when she knew what her real fairy tale looks like — someone who will help her through depression and anxiety, a man who will stand up for her and be prepared to do anything, no matter how absurd:

If I looked deep in thought and came out of it and looked to him and said, “I think I want to adopt a monkey…” he’d turn and say, “Okay where can you do that?” instead of rolling his eyes. That’s what I can’t forget. (He’ll also stroke my hairy legs and not flinch … and they’re hairier than his.)

Mazza’s fairy tale version of love doesn’t look like what people expect, and anyone assuming her life is full of romantic gestures would be wrong. That’s not what she’s looking for:

We don’t dance in the middle of the rain and he doesn’t come home with flowers every day, and doesn’t whisk me off my feet … and we aren’t a blissful loved up couple at every moment … but he’s never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for him or this world or that I wasn’t worth trying for.

The unhappy woman who wrote to Mazza made a mistake when she tried to compare their relationships. And not just because what you see online is just a sliver of the truth. But also because no two marriages are the same:

Our perfect isn’t the next persons [sic] … and relationships take work, and there are going to be difficult times, but that doesn’t mean that your relationship isn’t worth it, or that you aren’t meant to be together.

As Mazza points out, getting caught up in what’s wrong about your marriage may actually blind you to what makes your relationship stronger. She concluded: “It just means you gotta celebrate the victories when they’re there and realise the imperfections are actually the perfect parts of a relationship.”

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