Get Your Face(book) Out of My Marriage

Every year on the sixth of May, around lunchtime, I place a heated call to my husband and say “Well… HAPPY ANNIVERSARY….” And every year on the sixth of May at lunchtime my husband responds, “What are you talking about, our anniversary is tomorrow.” Every year there is a pause while I storm upstairs to dig our marriage license out of the box of important documents and every year I say “Oh. Look at that….”

I love to watch the reactions when I tell this story to acquaintances; people either feel sorry for me or awkwardly laugh. The point is that neither Jeff nor I really care what day we were married. I obviously don’t care enough to remember the actual date, and Jeff does not care enough to be offended when I get it wrong EVERY YEAR. And my storming up the stairs? That’s because I care more about proving Jeff wrong than our anniversary. This is our marriage. It’s filled with love, but not the Facebook kind.

Our romance has never been in the neighborhood of ‘normal’. What looks like love to me might not look like love to you. But for some reason, I spent a good part of our marriage trying to make it look like something it wasn’t and feeling sad, depressed and downright angry that it didn’t LOOK like Facebook love. I spent the first years of our marriage comparing it to others, and subsequently feeling bad about how it fell short, that I completely ignored the things that it did have.

The first year of our marriage we were living in northern Japan. Feeling lonely and isolated, I would sit at the computer and scroll through Facebook with a sense of loss—not only a loss of my ‘home’ but a feeling that I missed out on experiencing REAL romance. I had countless friends who were having elaborate weddings, all memorialized by talented photographers, all the photos eagerly posted on Facebook. I have two pictures from the day that ‘we’ became an ‘us’ and I hesitated posting them on Facebook because they seemed so sad in comparison. The actual day itself wasn’t sad, but it certainly didn’t include sparklers and place cards and ‘just married’ signs on vintage cars. Both pictures on Facebook, the one with the couple kissing in the backseat of their getaway car and the one with Jeff and me and the Justice of the Peace with the abnormally large head, depict love. It just looks different.

Seven years ago on the seventh of May. Not the sixth. Note to self, NOT THE SIXTH.

Jeff isn’t romantic. He is practical; level headed. Back when Jeff and I met, I would have told you without hesitation that I WAS a romantic. And I could have given you a lengthy list of the things I needed from a significant other in the romance department to be happy. But, as it turns out, I am married to a man whose ideas of romance are completely different than the things that would have been on that list.

My list has changed, not because I have lowered my standards, but because I learned how to recognize and appreciate the way Jeff DOES show romance. But, I’ll be the first to admit, when I see sweet proposal videos or touching public messages that are sugar sweet and oozing with hardcore romance, it’s hard not to get a little disgruntled and jealous. What I am learning is that, while they are lovely, I don’t need those grand gestures. The way my husband shows romance IS what I need. I need someone who respects me, who I can trust and who is gracious and kind. These things don’t make for viral YouTube videos, but they make for a really strong marriage.

A rare date night.
A rare date night.

It has taken me most of my married life to realize that it will never be picture perfect. Often, the things that make us strong in our marriage are the really ‘not-so-pretty’ parts of life. Everyday romance—supporting my parenting decisions, his patience with letting the children help with projects around the house, overlooking the dirty dishes in the sink on the days when I’m drained, waking up five minutes before me to make coffee—this is the language of love in our family. And, at least for this season, it is exactly what I need.

My husband, love of my life, patiently allowing our son to help him fix the bed. This is a romance scene from the Rodenhizer home.
My husband, love of my life, patiently allowing our son to help him fix the bed. This is a romance scene from the Rodenhizer home.

But if you ever hear of my husband planning a flash mob, lip-synching love proclamation, don’t you dare stop him.

Bryna is a stay at home mom who recently moved to Riverside in Jacksonville, Florida after living in Japan for six years. From figuring out how to make a foreign country 'home' to figuring out how the heck her six year old son can get pee BEHIND the toilet, Bryna approaches life with humor and open-mindedness. A huge advocate for Waldorf education and an overall gentle approach to parenting, Bryna enjoys exploring the world with her two children through eyes of wonder and excitement. She loves to write and writes about what she loves; family, traditions, food, wine, and how to find happy in everything.


  1. We’ve been married 15 years and this describes us so accurately! It took me a while also to realize that my husband may never be the guy to make elaborate romantic gestures. But he will always be the guy to care for me and love me the best way he knows how. Whether by making my plate for dinner, doing the dishes when I’m tired, carrying all of the luggage when we go out of town etc. It may not be huge to others but it’s incredibly romantic to me. 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for your transparency and courage in writing this. There are more of us than we realize — women who married wonderful men who are steady, wise, servant-hearted, and deeply faithful. Many of us married them for all these qualities because we were sick of the empty “romance” of our previous experiences. But after years of marriage immersed in a culture that highly values and publicizes the showy romantic gestures and not the day-to-day sacrifices of faithfulness and service to a spouse, we can easily forget what treasures we’ve found in our husbands! Thank you thank you thank you for reminding us all how romantic our husbands really are — faithful love that serves a spouse and children on good days and bad…THAT is romantic.

  3. Thank you for writing this post. It’s nice to read there are other couples with marriages whose love is expressed in the nitty gritty, daily mess of life. This is easy to forget when you are immersed in everyone’s highlight reel online. I appreciate your more authentic view.
    On another note, after living in Japan where in the world do you get sushi from locally? Just guessing you could give a recommendation if there is even one in town worthy of it. Thanks!

    • Deni, Fuji Sushi in San Marco is fantastic! And, surprisingly, so is the stuff from Whole Foods! My husband is the sushi snob, and he loves both. Nothing will compare to Japan… which I am sort of thankful for. Raw horse is COMMON there… and it looks like tuna. NO. No no no.

  4. This sounds soooooo much like my husband. I am constantly reminding myself to notice the wonderful things he does on a daily basis. That trumps an occasional, grand romantic gesture in my book any day. 🙂 I love our marriage!
    Thanks for your post.

  5. Cheryl, I dated a guy in high school who did a grand gesture thing that involved singing to me in a very crowded ice cream shop after a football game. I was NOT PLEASED. I don’t know why I sometimes envy those whose husbands do them now as adults. If Jeff did something like that I would probably say ‘Yeah yeah yeah, BUT DID YOU TAKE THE TRASH OUT, because I am exhausted and just can’t…’ 😉 Thanks for reading!

  6. So well said. The older I get (and the longer I’m married), the more I realize how much love truly exists in the mundane and the even-keeled. I’ve also had my eyes opened to what often goes on behind the scenes of those “picture-perfect” marriages. At first I was shocked when I heard of turmoil and deceit going on in relationships that seemed to me to be flawless–because all I saw on the surface were gorgeous date-night photos and effusive “I’m so lucky to be married to the most wonderful woman on earth,” types of posts. I’m not saying that everyone who makes grand gestures is to be questioned, but sometimes it’s attempt to compensate for problems in the relationship. I’ll take truth and substance over pomp and circumstance any day.

  7. Bryna, your post is inspirational and affirmative, largely because it acknowledges what so many people either cover up or deny: “picture-perfect marriages simply do NOT exist! I love your sense of humor, too.

  8. This post is very refreshing. My husband is not romantic in the traditional sense of the word. Sometimes I do get frustrated and think” why can’t he plan a date night, or why can’t he just once in all our time together buy me flowers just because” etc. The truth is if he did those things it would be because I want him to or because he thinks he is supposed to, it wouldn’t be from the heart. When he changes my oil, orders parts to fix the window in my car so it goes up and down correctly, vacuums the rug, makes breakfast and even sometimes helps to clean up after, that is his show of affection. I may still get jealous of the fb romantic stories sometimes, but at the end of the day I would rather have my manly, what you see is what you get, no games, loyal and faithful and in it for the long haul man than any flower wielding, poem spouting, man bun wearing modern Prince Charming.

  9. Sometimes my husbands “I love you” is stopping after a really long day at work, out of his way, to get me a big burrito from my favorite place on his way home. Sometimes it’s also an “I’m sorry” but he can’t verbalize his emotions like most and I’ve learned to accept the unspoken affirmations/apologies in the form of burritos.


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