Moms Post Their Real-Life Version of the “Love Your Spouse Challenge”—and It’s Refreshingly Awesome

A couple of weeks ago I started seeing the “Love Your Spouse Challenge” ALL over Facebook. If you live under a rock or aren’t on Facebook, I’ll summarize it for you: Facebook users post one pic a day of them and their spouse for seven days, and then tag others FB friends and challenge them to do the same. The point is to encourage and highlight marriage, which I am all for.

But I knew that when I was challenged (and I was, inevitably), I wouldn’t be doing it. Why? Well, although I’ve been married 16 years to a wonderful man, and I wouldn’t change a thing, seven days of happy smiling fun photos just isn’t…us. It just wouldn’t feel genuine. And also? It’s just not something I think my husband would be entirely comfortable with. (When it comes to showing off on the internet, that’s ALL ME and not him at all.) The truth is, all of my close friends and family (whether they are Facebook friends are not) know how I feel about my marriage and my husband—and so does he. And that’s enough.

Just to prove I’m not a total buzzkill, though, here’s one photo series of us I do love. We’ve been hopping in available photo booths since we were teenagers! These were taken while we were on a short getaway for our 15th anniversary, it’s a rare moment where we were well-rested and enjoying being with JUST each other, without the responsibilities of parenting for a few days.

See? I love him and he loves me!  And this is what I WISH our marriage looked like every day. But it’s not. Although there is ALWAYS love and commitment, but there is also three kids, frustration, messiness, selfishness, and exhaustion. I don’t take pictures of those moments, but maybe I should? Because they ALL count. They are all part of what makes our marriage strong, because no matter what, we are in it to win it, honoring our promise before God and each other. Believing that marriage is a beautiful but hard picture of Christ’s love for His church.

So I didn’t do the love your spouse challenge, but I don’t begrudge anyone who did! I’ve had a lot of fun looking at everyone else’s pics.

And then I found some that were TOO FUN—either “keeping it real” and showing the messy moments of marriage, or, just plain poking good-natured fun at the challenge. So I thought I’d share those with you, too because I am sure you will love them just as much!

First up, blogger and YouTuber Kristina Kuzmic is famous for her love of Nutella. She also couldn’t bring herself to post a bunch of shiny, happy photos with her husband, so she imagined being married to her favorite culinary treat. I died laughing!

First comes love, then comes marriage…

Then comes Nutella babies in the baby carriage!

Ok, ok, so those aren’t exactly photos of “real marriage”—but these are! Photographer Danielle Guenther, famous for her hilarious images of REAL parenting, had this to say about the love your spouse challenge on her Facebook page:

What is with this whole marriage photo challenge thing going on??? 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???)? That’s it, I’m going to start the REAL marriage photo challenge*. Share your pics, stories, thoughts. Oh this could be so fun. My husband and I are always arguing in the car over maps and directions. I dislike his driving. Oh that feels so good to get that off my chest : ))

She then recruited a real life husband and wife to do a “real marriage” photoshoot and come up with this image, which MAY look familiar to many of us!

I mean not that I’ve ever fought with my husband on a road trip or anything…

Finally, Melissa Bowers, who writes at Michifornia Girl, wrote a blog post that quickly went viral called “I Cannot In Good Conscience Participate in the Love Your Spouse Challenge,” staging her own 7-day photoshoot of real marriage pics with her husband. She says:

“We have the airbrushed wedding pictures and the beaming, sparkly selfies. But I’d have to post something beyond our best five percent, because that’s not really how our union looks a lot of the time.”

All her photos are great, but my favorite is her day 7 photo, which she captioned, ‘Day 7 of the Love Your Spouse Challenge: The kids are finally in bed, and now it is sexy time. Yep…you know what’s sexy? Rest. It is the seventh day. GET SOME REST. Today I nominate any couple who has ever taken “Netflix and Chill” literally.’

Michifornia Girl
Photo: Melissa Bowers/Michifornia Girl

So to sum it up, I LOVE MY SPOUSE! But I also love keepin’ it real. And since I don’t have any photos of our real life marriage moments, and as Bowers says, I didn’t want to JUST post our “best 5 percent”—I didn’t do it. And I love that these moms were able to poke fun at the challenge while still acknowledging that marriage can be great! Because ups and downs and all, marrying Bobby Rapson is still the best decision I ever made. I pray you feel the same way about your spouse!

Did you do the challenge? Why or why not?

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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.