There’s a new “challenge” post circulating Facebook. It involves posting a picture of you and your spouse, stating that you understand he/she has your back even in the toughest of times.

Call me old-fashioned or whatever, but I think it’s true and pretty awesome.

My spouse has my back. He doesn’t always do dishes or help with cleaning but he works hard to provide for us, loves our children and myself, and does his best in whatever he’s doing. So I liked this challenge and chose to participate. Yes, I felt a little guilty when thinking of friends whom I wanted to challenge but they aren’t currently married for whatever reason. Still, I wanted to do it for myself.

Back to the “challenge.” I saw someone post an article on how the political ramifications of voting for Clinton or Trump would affect the author’s homosexual marriage and family. The person posting it stated same-sex marriage and the fact that many families are non-traditional was the reason she refused to partake in the challenge. I was instantly guilty because I wondered if I was offending people by posting my marriage. So I read the article. Essentially, it asked for people to vote for Clinton because a Trump vote would tear this family, and other families with same-sex parents, apart.

That’s when I got confused. I couldn’t figure out why my friend would relate the “challenge” to a political view. I’m not upset that she doesn’t want to do the challenge. I just struggle to understand why. I also know, by nature, she is a deeper thinker than I am (must come from me having too many conversations with under-8-year-olds while she has adult company) so maybe there’s a point I’m missing, like the challenge is ONLY supposed to be for traditional married couples, or something similar.

Am I privileged to be in a hetero marriage? You bet I am. Are others privileged to be in same-sex marriages? You bet they are. Are they treated the same way in society? You bet not. What I don’t understand is why it’s so wrong to celebrate your spouse, no matter what the orientation.

(Sorry, single parents, I know this is leaving you out. I also know there are a variety of reasons for being single and perhaps the challenge should be to post pics of you and your significant other because there are lots of times where we have very close, loving relationships without marriage.)

After much deliberation, I decided it wasn’t the “challenge” or her declining to participate that bothered me; it’s is how these “challenges” on social media can divide us, and it’s how we have a need to “prove” ourselves publicly.

For example, the ice bucket challenge – you were a prick if you didn’t do and support that. Yet, there were people who didn’t like how some of the ASL research uses aborted fetuses, and people got down on them for not supporting ASL by participating in the challenge. How about the 22 push-ups for the 22 veteran suicides per day? I was challenged but couldn’t post because the video on my phone didn’t work, and I apologized – yes, apologized – for being unable to post. Some people came down pretty hard on me, stating I was being negative and refusing to bring the issue to light. What? Because my phone wouldn’t transfer video? I did the push-ups, just without video proof. I continued to engage in therapy with people who consider suicide. I was as supportive as I could be without proving it to the social media world.

So there’s the underlying issue – our need to “prove” ourselves to others. Some of these challenges aren’t lived day-to-day. Many of the challenges start with people who are living the struggle day-to-day but I think it gets lost as others join. Do 22 push-ups, post the video, and go on with your day. What did you do for a veteran? Dump a bucket of ice on your head, post the video, and go on with your day. Okay, at least that one requested a monetary commitment to the ASL organization, which maybe you did and maybe you didn’t.

I like the marriage “challenge” because my spouse is supportive and I’ll shout it to the mountaintops. We are living proof that relationships aren’t perfect and take work, dedication, love, and sacrifice. WE LIVE THAT EACH DAY FOR EACH OTHER AND WE DON’T HAVE TO POST PROOF (even though I’m currently choosing to do so).

I can’t deny the love and sacrifice that non-traditional marriage relationships have. More than likely, I’m naive and conservative about the issue. I want people to get along. I want the hate to stop. I want the shaming to stop.

So I’m naive and conservative. That’s fine. I’m going to continue the marriage “challenge” because it is positive, and in our times, there’s a lot of negative events out there. For seven days, I’ll post a picture of my spouse and myself, and I will challenge two friends. It’s up to them if they want to do it, no questions asked and no reasons needed. I won’t judge. I promise. (I hope the person who reads this and knows her post sparked the thoughts in my mind doesn’t feel judged because that isn’t my intent.)

Here’s my point: After posting, I’m going to continue to PROVE my post by LIVING BY MY COMMITMENT. I’m going to take care of my spouse because he takes care of me. We’ll continue to struggle and persevere. We’ll continue to be loving and dedicated. We’ll do this, long after the “challenge” has faded. So will many of you, whether or not you choose to participate in this particular social media “challenge.”

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Jessica McCaslin

Jessica is a mom who is working outside the home part-time and who is learning to cope with the ever-changing daily challenges of full-time parenthood. She graduated with her Master's degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2005, and works with a diverse mental health population. Jessica resides in Central Nebraska with her husband and four children on the family ranch.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading