I recently logged on Facebook to find a lovely new picture of my brother and his wife. They looked so happy, and that was the problem. My brother has told me that he has not slept with his wife in years. His plan is to stay with her until all the kids are grown, and then he is going fishing and staying there.
They are not happy. The picture lies.
My sister-in-law has also made it clear that her kids make her happy. Her husband, not so much. Her big plan is to wait until the children leave then move home with her mom, which may never happen. Three are already adults and she keeps them and their on again, off again boyfriends and girlfriends still safely ensconced in the family nest.
I hate that they have lived together so long without happiness. I suspect their children have felt that unease just as openly as I have. They probably think it is normal to just exist.
I imagine that my brother and sister-in-law are not the only ones who smile for the camera, and then go home to hardly looking at one another. Some of that is natural. After being with the same person year in and year out, things can get repetitive, but I think the truly happy people find other bits of life to make them happy as well as fight the continuous battle to maintain a loving relationship.
It takes strong people with a lot of commitment to come through the unhappy times and find peace. I hope my brother does, some day.