If you're like me, your Facebook feed has probably been taken over by photos of friends taking part in the "love your spouse challenge," in which you're nominated to post a week's worth of images of you and your significant other. Not surprisingly, most of the images peppering my feed feature loving couples embracing on their wedding day, or on vacation. No matter the occasion or locale, the one thing all the pictures have in common is that the spouses look blissfully, perfectly, overwhelmingly happy. As if a child isn't a foot away, screaming because she wants fruit snacks.
Thankfully, some parents agree that these images only portray one side of marriage. What about the side where you want to kill your husband for leaving his dirty laundry on the floor? (Again!) And where you fall asleep on the couch together watching the Olympics, um, every night...
As Today.com reports, photographer Danielle Guenther was ready to show that side of marriage, and took to Facebook to challenge other moms to do the same.
"What is with this whole marriage photo challenge thing going on???" she wrote. "Can we be real here and start seeing some images with people fighting over Netflix or which spouse is taking out the trash? Who's with me (anyone?...anyone???)?"
A lot of moms were with her, and started posting photos capturing their not-so-picture-perfect marriage moments. One such mom is Melissa Bowers, who writes the Michifornia Girl blog. She shared hilarious images of what a real "week in the life" photo feed would look like featuring her and her husband.
And although the pictures were funny, especially the one of the couple passed out on matching lounge chairs, it's what she wrote in the post that really seems to be resonating with people. "My marriage is not as perfect as yours," she admitted. "Seven years and two kids later, Facebook has absolutely convinced me of this." She added: "Sometimes I wistfully 'Like' these statuses. Sometimes I cock my head and think, 'Hold up. Didn't she just tell people she's secretly researching divorce lawyers?' And sometimes I cringe a little to myself, because yikes, there are several days when I'm not sure I could shout such things from the rooftops...and many when my husband might not shout such things about me."
Another popular blogger, Meredith Masony, whose blog is hysterically called That's Inappropriate, also wrote a powerful post about why the "love your spouse challenge" is rubbing so many people the wrong way. "I get why people are doing the love your spouse challenge," she wrote. "It's nice to see pictures of the happy memories and telling everyone about how much you love your spouse. It's fun and thoughtful. However the real challenge is living life everyday with your spouse. The real challenge includes the hard, the messy, the 'I want to hit you with my car' moments."
As my husband and I prepare to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary, I couldn't agree more. And beyond that, I just have one more bone to pick with the challenge. Why do we feel the need to show others how much we love our spouses? I think it's far more important to show your spouse. Because I'll admit that in the daily grind of working and raising kids, sometimes I don't tell my husband I love him.
So if there's anything I take away from this, it's that right before we doze off watching the games in Rio tonight, I should seize the moment, roll over, and whisper, "Love you. Now stop drooling."
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.