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Maybe I watched too much tv as a kid.

But I have always had this impossible dream in my mind. Of a family that likes each other. Of a mother and a father and some kids. They laugh together, and the tough times only make them stronger. Because no matter what's going on, they care about each other.

I feel like my eyes have been opened for a few months my own home life. Then I turned my eyes to others' lives. To the people around me, and to all of the EPeeps who let me be privvy to their situations. And so, so many of us are in this same situation. And it just makes me sad. I begin to wonder if marriage is an outdated institution after all. If anyone could really be happy with anyone else after time takes its toll.

Is anything really permanent in this life?

Because if love can't last, what is there to live for after all? Everything stems from love. If not, it doesn't mean anything. What is understanding without love? What is generosity? Sacrifice? Without love, they're only a means to bitterness and resentment.

I was watching a video on youtube that a friend sent me. Different ways to pull teeth. Just a joke about the Little Bird and his new hobby.  And this one...I've watched it three times now. Just looking with longing at the family pictured here. Kids are happy, connected, tuned in to mom and dad and siblings...Mom and Dad are so easy with each other, everyone is laughing. God, how I want that. Their interaction is effortless, and the affection between them is almost tangible.


The cynic in me wonders what happens when the camera goes away. Does Dad sleep in the guest room? Is Mom having an affair? Is that older kid a bully? Maybe one of the parents has a drinking problem. Everyone has issues. That's part of life. But is it possible to be with someone - long term  - where there is mutual respect and understanding and love and compatibility?

I want to believe in something concrete. I want to see someone who has been married for a long time who can tell me that they've enjoyed the ride. Or that it gets better. Or what makes it get better. I want someone to tell me that this is worth it. Or how to make it worth it. Tell me that I'm faulty, or that my husband is. Just let me know that there is hope for something more. Not even hope for me specifically. Just hope that someone, somewhere could find happiness that will last more than a season.

onceandfutureglow onceandfutureglow 31-35, F 83 Responses Jul 18, 2010

Your Response


Please consider - some people have an appitude for building a happy family. I know several and admire profoundly. They are proactive, anticipate change, avoid desctructive situations and have parents that respect one another.<br />
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But dont give up hope! There are many families that have their moments! They go for a ride. Enjoy movie night together. Shuttle the kids to school and make halloween costunes and christmas cookies . It is not bliss but it is not negligible either. <br />
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Dont despair of building something ---- even if you and your partner aren't prfect. Just go for the moment. <br />
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Bless you.

Tas - that's exactly what I'm talking about. It seems like everyone I know has a relationship that is like a pretty house they've fixed up for everyone to see...and it's beautiful from the outside. But then you glimpse the inside, and it's crumbling. Just an illusion of something great. For everyone else to see. I wouldn't care if everyone thought my life was horrid...if I am happy, and my family is happy, I'd be happy. I don't want to impress anyone. I just want to find love and peace. <br />
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Louise - Thank you for the comment. Maybe there really are people out there like that. I hope there are. So far in my life, I've worked and tried...and it's a square peg in a round hole. Or a square peg with no hole at all. Just doesn't work no matter what I do. :-/

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future
A man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun

I feel your pain and bliss.....

I too. Sorry. : (

I've yet to meet anyone with a picture perfect family and marriage. There are no guarantees, sweetie. Appearances mean nothing.<br />
From my experience, it's a work in progress everyday. And that's after 22 years of marriage. The dynamics of life, work, and kids make it a constantly changing entity. <br />
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But it's okay. There is lots of laughter, lots of happiness, and lots of "I wouldn't trade this very moment for anything." Those are the things you cherish and get you through the "Ima gonna kill you," moments.

Hi dear friend.Most of everything in my life were nothing to live for till the day Philip came into my life 10 yrs ago.Thought its time i have happiness and love totally.Then came my health challenges 5 yrs ago.On one hand i have heaven and the hand hell.We all have no way to stop things from happening but we do have a decision to build our lives the way we want it.Have a blessed day.

Lilt - Your family does give me a little hope. I see the banter between you and Mr Lilt on occasion around here...and it does my heart good. 22 years and you like each other. That's pretty amazing. <br />
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Unshakable - From my point of view...if you have real love - where two people are both giving - then the other obstacles aren't so bad. Life is good and it's bad. Nothing changes that. Love just makes the bad bearable and the good better.

I tried to add to my comment but somehow deleted it.<br />
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But anyway as you know i agree with you totally

Goodness you just freaked me out, Tas!! Your comment disappeared, and I thought you'd deleted. (Ack.)

I think life and love are journeys. But I do believe that long-term happiness is possible. Perhaps the lows help us to appreciate the highs. Hope and forgiveness get us a loooong way.

They do. : )

omg, I thought Tasmin deleted too! <br />
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It has been such a strange ride of growth, change, setbacks, and strange unexpected little blessings. But it's been a real vivid and strange life as of yet.<br />
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In my case it was the actual possibilities of being happy after the break downs and break ups that were a real eye opener. There is life that exists out of the "institution". And that a sacred bond is so because you make it sacred. You break the bonds, you mend the bonds. You make the mess, you clean it, not get someone else to. It wasn't the institution but the balance of what worked for the whole family as individuals and as a working unit. Eventually parts of the unit will grow up and leave the nest...But the message blared above all the noise was...healthy relationships are possible in any circumstance and all parties involved deserve to find that. We "wanted" this to work out, then we both had to make it work out. And I shouldn't feel bad if I had to keep moving, raising the kids, when one party wasn't privy towards following through that goal after several attempts of getting him on the right track. He was going to do it...I had to respect that it would do his ego and pride good if he decided on his own. He's got to make the choice to say yes because he decides it is right. That's not to say I didn't attempt some influence or made a good case for choosing family and marriage above all else. <br />
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It won't be a "perfect family" or even a constantly happy family but I think the theme we discovered was a functioning and healthy one. Love might override a lot but no one should ever treat each other poorly and if things happen then recovery time and remedies are important.<br />
<br /> don't know where I am going with this comment either. I want some oatmeal cream

WOW, lots of nice comments here!<br />
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Doesn't it seem as if happiness stems from our origins and beliefs. From what country we live in, how we were raised by our parents, how our spouses were raised, do we find comfort in GOD, and how we raise our children. To how we perceive life if we are able to see it for what it's worth, and not how it is forced to be!<br />
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Step back and evaluate your life as far back as you can remember in your childhood up to the present, and perhaps you can see why you are where you are today! In fact evaluate how your parents were raised as well if possible.<br />
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Everyday Is A New Beginning!<br />
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I can relate to what you feel. Right now, I am not happy with my family. I mean, we always quarrel with each other. I hate it! We always give sarcastic comments at each other which makes it even worst! Oh, I can enumerate a lot of things right now as to how I hate my family. I don't know why we are like this right now.

<i>a sacred bond is so because you make it sacred</i><br />
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Tekk - I used to believe this. Maybe I still do. But the thing is...what happens when you stop wanting to make it sacred? When everyone is so caught up in themselves that the bonds are peripheral. Or when all the Things in our lives become too much, and we just stop caring? When you forget about the bonds all together. I wish I knew how to make us be at that place again. <br />
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tmajor - I know why I'm the way I am. And why he's the way he is. The problem I have is I don't think we're able to be compatible. <br />
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JunedynnSantos - I don't hate my family. : ) I love them. You're young, I'm assuming you still live at home, and the family you speak of is your parents and siblings. I can tell you for a fact that those relationships can get better. Most of the time they do. When you move out and start your own life.

Understandable. Although we're born with our own different character and temperment traits that can ultimately play a large role in how we live our lives, it''s the parents responsibility to teach their children how to evaluate and pick a compatible mate. Understanding there are a multitude of outside the family forces that can derail ones plans but must be factored in the learning experiences.

My husband and I have been together for 18 years and it has gotten better and better over the years. We have become closer and kinder to each other, happier to be together. We tell each other every day that we love each other. He has been my best friend almost since the day I met him, and he can still make me blush like a school girl if he asks me to the movies or to dinner. So it does happen. But, if you are looking for the relationship where the husband never sleeps in the den (we have separate bedrooms and we no longer have sex), and the children are always happy (we don't have children because we have mental illnesses and decided against it -- but we are wonderful Aunt and Uncle), I don't know if you can find it. I know a few couples that seem to have good lives with children and fewer problems than us. Keep hoping. I help this helps.

"But the thing is...what happens when you stop wanting to make it sacred?"<br />
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That's a heavy question. I stopped believing. We lived separately, had separate lives, and we actually pretty cordial about meeting up for final paperwork at a neutral place. We stopped long before then I think. One thing I can't ever say I saw him do before is believe, truly believe in us. That was the knot in the string only he could untie. Especially since all the convincing, support, and unconditional love couldn't make him do it. It sucks but he had to wake up and really actively make it sacred. And when he ptsd's, he does prevention, takes responsibility, makes sure we are ok, keeps his vows. <br />
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Only thing that can save it is if you both believe in it being sacred and you both make it so, I suspect. I was ok leaving and raising the kids alone. It was better than living the way we were. Either way, if I was going to stay married, I was never going back to "that". If I did, I wouldn't be mentally strong enough to cope. Seriously, I already reached my breaking point. I just cannot go back to how it was and still be sane or whole. All the marathon fighting, etc...I told him, if we truly loved each other...we damn sure deserve better than living like this. We owe it to each other to honestly, genuinely love each other. Beside, we went through so much crap that we deserve a damn break and a good life. You guys do too. You're still such a young couple. Too young to go through so much grief and heartache, distance. People deserve to have something real and share it with each other. <br />
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I wish...I wish he'd wake up and realize how much your touch, your nearness, is nothing but good for him. And how it is the same for you. I still believe there is a reason you two were together. Call me crazy but I'm taking a leap and believing. Is the pain because you are wrong for each other or because you put all that space in between? This is a question both of us really had to think over for a while and answer.

hishoneysuckle - thank you. : ) That's a beautiful story. The kind of thing I want/need to read. Success. Not just tolerating each other...but still loving. Long term happiness. Thank you.

Hi there...I've read lots of comments not to repeat i'm goanna tell u a few things in lots of words, just coz i'm that complicated.<br />
I'm an overthinkin' person, so in my 21 years I've learned a lot, and talked with grandparents and childs better than with anyone in between. I’m from Argentina, so you’ll might have to work a little to understand what I’m trying to say.<br />
My uncles are the only exception to the rule I've met (with the three sweetiest kids I’ve ever seen). They love and deffend each other (both, kids and parents), and they talk openly about failure, disgrace or sex (with terms for the kids age of course). THREE THINGS THAT SAVES A COUPLE: RESPECT, SINCERITY AND LAUGHTER. That, for sure, works better than love (wait a little, I know it sounds awfull). Why? Simple. Between most of couples, love's just a word...inside each one, it means a whole world, it might be even the reason of their lives, but... the space between complicates it all. You can’t just send by mail or get into a pen-drive info form ior brain to his. So you say "I love u", and u really do. He says tha same, and he really does too. But you're talking about a house nearby the river, with a "columpio" (bouncing chair...¿swing?) at the garden, a Golden Retriever and three wonderfull kids with names included...and he's thinking of a permanent honeymoon traveling all over the world with pocket cash and climbing the freaking Himalaya, and sweetie....<br />
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THAT<br />
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WON’T<br />
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WORK.<br />
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Part 2: About the institution. Marriage IS a sacred vote (¿vow?), and also a will control strategy. We are not taught to LOVE, and that’s hard. First, because of what we talked (or I writted) before, and second beacause people aren’t statues. We grow, we suffer, we laugh, WE CHANGE (some a little, some a lot). What we do are taught, is to hang on, to fight, to be strong, and all that crap, that’s complety necessary, but we’re talking about two people trying to love, and not to conquer Rome. It’s hard, coz deep inside our whole kind has a common fear (even the ones that enjoy it, and look foward it)...LONELYNESS. Fear and stupidity might be the keys to a long life and happiness...but that’s sure the hell of a selfish life. When u don’t stop to think, u run through life chasing neon lights and ferry tails, and you expect a Blue Prince with a white horse from a poor dude, that’s working seventeen hours a day, and just want to hug u, kiss u, and get some sleep. Fear (with the help of a millenium culture), makes you think u WORTH more when u MAKE IT WORK, while all u’re doing is to give pain a full ticket to both lives. You wake up together and kiss with the same emotion u open a door, u say “I love u” automatticaly, and u spent the day wathcing he smile wondering “why can’t he sees your suffering”. Probably...because, he’s thinking exactly the same. I found, for example, that I’m great with kids, a lot of people agrees I’m it’s best friend, and lots of woman apreciates my kinderness, and the fact I do care about others feelings, etc.....Thing is. I don’t work as a couple. Amymusic, is one really strong person for example. “Not to have kids? Not to have sex? What kind of couple are u?”, bull#! minds would say. But some of us find love in other ways, like taking care of a friend’s child, sharing a bbq between 20 friends, talking with a lady in a bar for hours without any intentions of having sex....So. MANAGE YOUR-SELF BY VARIABLES; NOT BY EXPECTATIONS (don’t force others to become what u expected of them, or things). KNOW YOUR-SELF (you might be living for another search instead of love, or peace and quiet, may be freedom, may be truth, and givin’ a lot of you for something that won’t ever fill u). DON’T BE AFRAID (to see the ugly things just like they do, to be lonely, to “loose” someone, to fail). RESPECT OTHER’S WILLS (we haaaaaardly want the same things in the same way, and there’s a lot of chance we’re wrong). KEEP AN OPEN MIND (you might have what u want in a way or with someone u didn’t expected to, or wanted to, and be happy at least). LAUGH (don’t take things too hard, though seriously). FORGIVE (it’s not others fault not to please u, and neither is their mission to do so....however, somethings dessereve a reprimand). COMPREHEND (different personalities, different backgrounds, though common, human relashionships are one of the most difficult things ever...don’t punish different ideologies, listen, learn, and help. Or get the f#k out of there). EVERYTHING CHANGES (you born, you grow, and u die....that’s all u’re going to do while u last? If life “ends” with death why wouldn’t joy end in tears?...easy. Death gives the land the seeds of a new life, why would tears be different?...”Live and let die”, an old love goes, a new love comes). SHARE (speak your mind, and your heart. It’s going to be a hard long way, but everything u get from there will be true, and not just “love likely”, “shuttered eyes peace”, “almost freedom” or “feels like happyness”). LEARN FROM OTHERS (the value of third’s exp is constantly undestimated, “he’s too young, too old, too far, too different, bla, bla , bla”. If u listen, or read –from individuals, groups, books, or bands- u might have a new vision of something that someone passed –sometimes far away, sometimes long ago- and help u not to be “Stucked in a momment”). Uff....that’s a looong letter, and I’m certainly forgetting somethings, but I think (though it’s not what u wanted to read), this might help u out. <br />
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PD: (Sorry again, for the extra-size comment)

Most important thing is to be confident in your relationship and KNOW that it will work out. That makes it alot easier! :)

we can only see what we want to see. its not about being cynic.. its about being real. yes, thats the big question, 'what happens when the camera is out?' we also choose to show others what they want to see. nobody knows how dad and mom feels.. not even each other knew how they really felt about each other.. love is never forever, its always a choice to keep that together. but the important thing is to never give in. always remember to love yourself. its easier to be around a happy person..

'the idea of being only complete with someone is really absurd' - before sunset.<br />
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what you are feeling is how everybody feels about relationships. but like everything we want to experience in life, risk are always to be taken. and choices are made when it comes to love if you want it to last forever. reasons why most relationship dont work like it used to because of the variaties of distractions in our society today..

I agree to an extent, saarabellum. We put on masks and we do what we have to to survive. I think there must be people who have found the key to long term happiness in relationships. Lilt seems to have it. Others do. I have been married for almost eleven years, and there have been tough times and easier times. But when it is falling apart everywhere and there is no fulfillment...what do you do?<br />
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I think it has to be a situation where both partners respect each other. Try to meet the other person's needs and trust that they will do the same.

Welcome, Schlee : ) <br />
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Love is the major pursuit in most people's lives. I am loved and I know that...I just wish I had that love and family connection in my marriage. I

You express yourself so eloquently....its poignant and heart wrenching at the same time...but you have captured the essence of my own feelings so well....thank you for giving voice to them. <br />
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I truly hope you find what you are looking for. Even if you don't, I pray you won't ever quit searching. <br />
Because sometimes the journey is the prize itself.

Thank you for the comment...I think so many of us are longing for it. We've talked so much on here about givers. How givers always seem to end up with takers. And we let it be so. It's sad. And lonely for everyone. And there are kids involved, and things just get so messed up. It just takes a bit of courage to try again. I'm working on that. Keeping on with my belief and my hope. I have to believe it's possible. I just have to. : )

I haven't patched up/healed from my issues enough to be able to keep a healthy romantic relationship for more than 4 years, but I have friends and family (in our age-group) that have done better. They have the family celebrations that are "Hallmark-worthy" and give them the feeling that the work they put into it is truly worth it. My sister is one such lucky person. Her marriage of 11 years has produced 2 kids intentionally, 1 unexpectedly but very happily... so they are a family of 5, and after 11 years of her giving me an honest peek at what her marriage looks like, I've seen that it takes a lot of work! Both she and her husband have had to commit to learning about each other as they grow older and change with parenthood and other life changes.<br />
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Knowing the work they've put into having those picture-perfect moments lets me know that at least there isn't some "magic" that some people are sprinkled with in their marriages/relationships. There was a knitting group I was privy to for awhile (I was the only one in the group not-married) listening to various brave women chatting wisely about each other's relationships. The honesty about their difficulties and the humor they'd bring in to their advice/support of each other's plight was really encouraging. It taught me that I should at least try to not ever be completely alone in whatever I"m suffering from. (These ladies liked to vent about kids and husbands.) They were able to knit and walk away feeling a little bit better about what they'd experienced during the week. <br />
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Just a few thoughts that came up after reading your story. <br />
I wish the best for you. I know you can create beautiful moments like the one you admire in the video... I hope you post about them sometime. xo

I have always wanted a loving, close, stable family. It will NEVER happen, unless I create it! I am 40. I doubt I will ever marry and have children; don't really want that anyway. I and a few friends compose my "family". It's sad because family is the first social unit we encounter. It defines who you are in the world and to a large extend; who you become. A loving family makes all the difference in this cruel world. Children raised in dysfunctional, abusive, emotionally distant, chaotic, etc. homes are at a huge disadvantage! It's true that no family is perfect, but there are degrees of chaos. Some chaos is expected and acceptable, but then there is that level of instability which seriously undermines healthy spiritual, emotional, and even physical growth. I have no capacity to truly love or be intimate. I don't know what it really means to trust. I never learned those traits because I never saw or experienced them. People should NEVER have children, until they can provide a loving and stable home. So many of society’s problems could be solved with stronger families!

glencora - I agree. And I try to provide those things for my children. My own family life when I was a child was incredibly chaotic. Unstable. I wasn't abused, but I watched my mother be abused by multiple husbands, and lived with her mental issues. The one thing I had though, was love. From her, I had love that a lot of people never get to experience. But my father was the one who showed me what love is. How to love. The sacrifices he made for me and the time he invested in me when he had me on the weekends....he taught me how to treat other people. And how to love my own children. <br />
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Friends do provide a family. And for some people, that's all that's necessary. I do want the family. The "traditional" one with the parents and the children. Maybe its not for me. But it's what I have always wanted. Still learning how that can be functional.

Well, my parents have been married for 25 years. They have had a lot of ups and downs - they even broke up at some point, but then they made up and they still are together. We are in no way your conventional family - my parents gave up on that a long time ago. They have found other arrangements that work much better for them, keeping them together (for example, each of them has their own room). A while ago I actually asked my mom if she still was IN love with my dad - and yes, she says she is. You can have a traditional family in the sense that you have a husband and children, but the mechanisms that keep this family going need to be fully adapted to your needs. <br />
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Since I haven't been married myself, I don't know how competent this piece of advice is. But I hope it will give you the grain of hope you were looking for when you wrote this story.

bigmyth -, when I wrote this story, my marriage was in its death throes. I have never really gotten what I needed from him. And as much as I tried, he wasn't getting what he needed from me. We have love. But so many incompatibilities...We separated at the beginning of the year, and have found functionality. It's weird, but seems to work for us. As to the family...I still hope for that someday. I hope that I can find that somewhere. Someday. <br />
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whatsername - Nice comment. I guess what you're saying is that what makes a family is different for different people. What works for some doesn't work for others. What I the family that's tuned in to each other. I don't want a roommate. I want love and intimacy...And that seems to be the hardest thing to find.