Love & Marriage Blog Series: Final Thoughts

Today concludes our Love & Marriage Blog Series.  I’ve had such a wonderful time sharing bits and pieces of my marriage with you!  If you missed the other weeks, click here to see my introduction, click here to see how Andrew and I overcome hard times, and click here to see my advice for keeping my marriage interesting.
It’s been a blessing to get to know the other girls in this series.  Megan, Jenn, Jenna, Lindsey and Mandy have been so sweet to work with and truly inspirational.  I hope to do other series with them all in the future!
Today, we’re all giving our final thoughts and pieces of advice.  I’ve been a blog reader for 7 years now.  I feel like I have so many “friends” just by reading complete strangers blogs.  It’s amazing how excited and interested I can get about the lives of people I don’t know…it’s the crazy world of mom blogging.  
During this series about love and marriage, I’ve thought a lot about one of my closest friends.  You see, this wife and mom has it all together.  She’s gorgeous, she’s sweet as can be, she has a hot husband with a really great job…they drive expensive cars, take lavish vacations, live in a mansion, and she has more designer handbags then I could count…they’re Ken and Barbie.  The standard for what a great marriage and family should be.
However, last April, I was at the gym watching TV and using the elliptical machine when my friend walked over to me like always to say hi.  This time, however, instead of hi, she said, “I hate my husband”.  I laughed and said, “Yes, sometimes Andrew gets on my nerves too”, and she said, “No.  I really hate my husband.  He cheats on me.”.
Hello.
Not so Ken and Barbie after all.
How did one of my closest friends have this miserable marriage where the husband was unfaithful and I didn’t know?  For years this had been going on in her marriage.  For years.  And she and I talked about our marriages all the time.

Why did I mention my Barbie friend?  Because you really and truly just never know what’s going on inside someone else’s marriage.

I get a lot of email about how women wish their hubbys were more like their friend’s husbands…how their husbands have changed…how they have changed…how it’s hard now…how it’s not fun anymore…how they’re unhappy…blah, blah, blah.

Everyone thinks the grass is greener on the other side…but you know the old adage…the grass is greenest where you water it.

I think as blog readers (which you all are…or you wouldn’t be reading this!), we have to realize that yes, most blogging ladies seem fabulous and honest…but the truth is, we have absolutely no idea what is really going on in their marriages.  None.  We have to stop focusing on how happy and content others look and instead try and make our marriages the best they can be.

If you would have asked me 13 months ago, whose life I would have thought was the most carefree, wonderful and blissful, I would have said Barbie’s.  I had absolutely no idea she was actually living in her own personal hell…you just never know.

Marriage is hard…marriage takes a lot of work…but it is also the best partnership God gives us here on earth.  Work hard on your marriage!  And water it.

And just as a sidebar: I asked Barbie if I could discuss her situation without mentioning her name or giving direct clues to who she is…and she said she would prefer if I used both of their real names, maybe linked to her ex-husband’s business website and possibly put his cell phone number out there.  Ha!  Just in case any mad blog readers wanted to give him a piece of their minds.  I was tempted…but I refrained.


Don’t worry about sweet Barbie.  She is in such a good place right now.  It was a really rough year, but she is no longer married to cheater liar adulterer Ken (because it’s hard to be married to someone who wants to sleep with other women on a regular basis) and is enjoying her life with her kids.  

Thank you for coming back every Wednesday this month to read about my marriage to this guy…

…without 9 years of marriage to him, I wouldn’t have had much to say.  Focus on your marriage.  Make it a priority in your life.  Work hard at making your marriage the best it can be.  Don’t hold grudges.  Be a team. Pray for your marriage.  If you do all of this…it can only strengthen your marriage.

 What’s on the foodie blog today?  Yummy Lemon Neiman Marcus Bars!

And if you missed it yesterday, click here to see my easy guide to swimsuit shopping!
Finally, my Stella & Dot party ends Friday.  You’ll fall in love with the jewelry, bags and more!  Click here to shop!
Thanks for being a part of this wonderful series!  Have a blessed day!

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  • Kelly Jo April 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

    So true… I recently found out that one of my girlfriends is a swinger! I never would have thought in a million years. :-/

    I used to follow another blog, but I realized that she couldn't possibly be "keeping it real." So now I only follow yours!

    So glad Barbie is doing well. Leaving is the hardest part -at least it has been for some of my friends.

    Great series!

  • Randi Jo :) April 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

    preach it sister, you are exactly right!! πŸ™‚

    We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and look to be thankful with what you've been given. <3 *Everybody* struggles and has battles they are fighting.

    I highly recommend Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity for all women out there, by the way. Such a great encouraging challenging read!! Really helps free from the comparing and envy and wrong thinking and distorted views of things. etc. etc.

  • Aaron and Shannon April 24, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for saying that! I used to blog and then felt like I was getting caught up in what my friends were blogging….how I was compared to them….how our lives were different, the same, better, worse, etc! So, I stopped blogging! I still have one and check my friends…and yours! I like how real you keep it, so thanks for that!

  • Jennifer Cannon April 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I'll admit I am one to read your blog Shay and think that you guys have it all together, every second of the day! No fights, no disagreements, no struggles! But then I stop to think…All of that is healthy to have in moderation!

    You guys may be pretty darn perfect, but God has blessed me with my own perfect reality and for that, I have to stop comparing!

    I've loved, loved this blog, and hope some days you'll still continue it on your own!!

    Have a great day!

  • Rebecca Jo April 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    We are so programmed to just present a life like we all have it together… & yep, if we could only see behind closed doors.

    Love how Barbie wanted to link up to Ken's site! Love it! Nothing like a load of angry blogging girlfriends as revenge! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your honesty on marriage – its been a wonderful series to follow all you ladies

  • Aubs April 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I've had this convo w/ several friends that get discouraged when reading blogs & social media…what we put out there on blogs, facebook, etc is only a tiny little bit of our lives! And i know that i really try hard to never disrespect my husband by putting negative things about him or our marriage out there for just anyone to read or see! Everyone has a story & challenges they face! Love all that you have shared ~ you're a blessing!! =)

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} April 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    So happy that our friend Barbie is in such a good place right now! And you're SO right….WATER YOUR OWN GRASS PEOPLE!!!!

  • jackie April 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I am SO GLAD I found you through Megan's blog for this series. What you said today is absolutely true. Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    I feel like I should side note here::I was a huge fan of Sean this season and was over the moon when I found your blog through Megan's.

    Happy Wednesday!

  • Carlin Smith April 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Awesome Awesome! I may not have the "prettiest" life, but I wouldn't trade my crazy, stressful life for anyone else's because nobody else has my husband! And he's a keeper!

  • Kat April 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    omg so true…..marriages aren't all roses and rainbows, nor are they greener on the other side. It's hard to judge anything for anyone without being in that relationship.

  • Aubrey April 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    True words, Shay! And very interesting comments about how social media encourages people to fall into ugly habits of comparing their lives to the lives of others.

    Every single one of us deals with difficult stuff on a regular basis. To assume otherwise is downright silly. I am 110% confident I would rather have my particular problems than any one else's. My difficulties are specific to me, and I know God would never give me anything I couldn't handle. I wish more people could convince themselves that comparison and insecurity is toxic!

  • Linda April 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    One of your best blogs, Shay. I see God's hand at work in the timing of Barbie's revelation to you. Having lived much longer than you, I can verify that marriage comparison is a losing proposition. I have NEVER heard your "grass is greener where it's watered" before, and I will never forget it! Simply amazing.

    Ironically, the subject of arguing, particularly in the marriage context, has been weighing on my heart. Several of the Proverbs I keep reading reference the foolishness and fruitlessness of arguing. My problem? How can I blog about it without admitting it happened in my marriage? The answer? I can't, and I shouldn't! Stay tuned.

    Thanks, my darling girl!

  • Anonymous April 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you so much for this insightful post…I actually know Barbie & Ken through mutual friends, and I have to admit that I actually WAS jealous of her perfect life and marriage. I talked to my husband about them all of the time and he always told me" the grass isnt always greener" I feel horrible about her situation and am so glad that she pulled through with grace and class, all the while continuing to put all of her faith in God, knowing that He is always on our side!!

  • Alison @ Get Your Pretty On April 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I'm doing the For Women Only Bible study right now and it has been so good for my marriage (and so frighteningly eye-opening!). It's great to have women in my small group to be totally transparent and really real with. I realize that all marriages have struggles and we've all been there, so we can speak from experience to each other. I can't say enough how valuable this has been!

  • Fisher April 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Ugh, it makes me sick to think about what your friend had to go through. I know this kind of stuff happens a lot but it is unbelievable to me how people can be so selfish and disrespect their families by cheating. You are not just cheating on your spouse, you are cheating on your entire family! I am happy to hear that your friend is doing well. Not everyone would be able to pull themselves together and move on. I need to go read about the Lemon Bars now to cheer myself up.

  • dol April 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I think one of the negatives of reading blogs and especially Facebook is the constant comparison of your life to theirs. Especially Facebook. It always seems like everyone else's life is perfect with great wives/husbands, kids, job, awesome vacations, etc. But, in reality, we don't know what's going on behind the scenes. I've seen that first-hand with a relative of mine. They appeared to have it all and be the perfect family, but there were things going on that totally dispelled that myth. I love what you say about the yard with the greenest grass has been watered. A good marriage is worth it.

  • dol April 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I think one of the negatives aspects of reading blogs and especially Facebook is that everyone else seems to have it all together, with the perfect wife/husband, kids, jobs, etc. It's hard not to compare and come out on the short side. But, I know from first-hand experience with a relative that things are not always as they appear. Don't compare your marriage to others or your kids to other kids. Anything worth having takes effort and "watering". Thank you for the series!

  • Anonymous April 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I love this quote "don't compare your behind-the-scenes with someone else's highlight reel"
    This is so true when looking at marriage too!! Even your blog – your life looks so charmed and I try to remind myself if I got to choose one thing from each day to blog about I could make my life look amazing too :).

  • Tracy April 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    This is one of the best blog posts I've ever read. There is so much truth here. Thank you for posting!

  • Anonymous April 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    I was looking forward to this post since you mentioned it was coming last week. I was married for almost six years when my husband left me and filed for divorce, saying he no longer loved me. I prayed for years for him, for our marriage, for a restoration to what we once were. I've had to learn like your friend, that God has other plans! Give your dear friend a hug, and tell her thank you for letting you share her story. Because when you are so alone, scared, fearful in a bad marriage you think you're the only one, when every one else has shiny happy marriages. (I sold off all my designer handbags to pay lawyer fees!) Thank you for talking about this topic!

  • Slightly Askew Designs April 24, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    LOVE this post, Love our bestie Barbie and LOVE your honesty. πŸ™‚

  • Hilary April 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Very well said, Shay!

  • Awn April 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Loved this series and all of your great advice. My hubby & I are working on year 11 and I couldn't agree more with your wise words. Although being married to a wonderful man certainly helps. πŸ˜‰
    Love your blog!

  • Mandy Rose April 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    A great reminder indeed! I think it's so important to not compare ourselves to others…especially in blog world where you just never know the whole story. I do; however, LOVE connecting with woman and couples like you and Andrew. People who have a heart for Jesus and a desire to make their marriage a priority! Thanks for sharing your story the last 4 weeks…I have enjoyed every post from you! I am so glad to have been connected with you through this and I hope we will collaborate on something again soon!

  • Christine April 24, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Great post and point! Cheatin' or Beatin' means it's time to cut and run. Glad Barbie's happy now – better alone than with the wrong person.

  • natasha {schue love} April 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Loved this series! It's so inspirational to hear how "real" women make their marriages work and keep them interesting. I was particularly interested in your story since you have young children. We had our first 10 months ago and so many people told us how children would change our marriage. So I was very encouraged to hear how you two have made it work. Thanks for being so open and honest!

  • laura joy April 24, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you so much for writing about marriage! I just found out yesterday that one of my best friends is getting a divorce after only 3 years of marriage. I'm reading these in a new perspective today! So thankful for the beauty of what marriage is and feel blessed to be a part of it!!

  • Paula April 25, 2013 at 3:01 am

    COMPARISON IS THE DEATH OF CONTENTMENT!
    I actually have this on my white board in my kitchen!

    Things do appear fabulous in others lives, but it can at home too. We work to look good. Work to have things. Work for degrees. Why not work for the one true love? It should be worth the work.

    I have over the years, 13 years of marriage, realized that "situation" or "flaw" with my husband that seems to bother me so really isn't even about him. It is me. If I first go before the Lord, pray for my eyes, heart and mind to be clear and open, then I see change. Change within me. Which in turn, changes the "situation". Humility is hard. But, always checking self is key.

    Thanks for sharing your heart

  • Jaren April 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I've really enjoyed this series and how you are just so real about everything…good and bad! That is why I have stuck to following and reading your blog. I've also enjoyed reading everyone's comments, and it is so true that we cannot just assume the grass is greener and be thankful for our own personal blessings!

  • mel @ the larson lingo April 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    "The grass is greenest where you water it" YES!!!!!! Love, love, love that!!!

    P.S. So sorry about Barbie. Ugh. That SUCKS. πŸ™

  • JenniferW April 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Everything you said is so true! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Anil June 29, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Sophie KH October 9, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Thank for sharing
    Cheaters Girls

  • Marven James November 14, 2015 at 8:07 am

    What's the difference between love marriage or arrange marriage? In my opinion, both are same… What you think…??
    every problem has a solution

  • Allison October 3, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Hi Shay! I was just going through your blog and I clicked on your marriage series. It stuck out to me because I just got married a couple weeks ago so everything is still new even though we’ve been together for 4 years before we got married. πŸ™‚ I appreciated your series as it talked about tips that really goes for any marriage. As I read each blog post, all of these great tips stuck to me and are always with me in my head. I wish you and Andrew the best in your marriage and your beautiful kids! I love following your blog and journey.