I realized there are two ways to see things:
Take 1: I lost out on opportunities because I married a man with kids, who needed to live near his kids. I needed to help make money to keep our lives at a level I wanted, and we cannot move to follow careers. I rushed to get a job rather than waiting out the right one. My career has gone in a direction I didn't expect, my goals of success are not where I thought they would be (recession anyone?) and my husband is partly to blame.
I also have had to endure a lot of crap I never needed to deal with and barely, if at all, handled. Marrying a man with kids was insanely challenging, his ex wife turned out to be a nightmare, and the world is just crazy when you're a stepmom.
I had a choice, I chose this, sort of, and I can blame him and his prior choices for how hard things have been.
Take 2: When you marry someone, you suffer with them when they go through hell.
My husband went through hell in his prior marriage, which he learned pretty early on was a mistake but there were children involved. Then, he had off and on hell afterwards, as his ex wanted to control him, his kids, and his new wife. She continued to make his life miserable, and he stated that half of his life was still hell and the other half of his life was what he always wanted, filled with love and opportunity.
I suffered with him, as his spouse and best friend, when he lost custody without any logic or reason. I suffered with him as he dealt with a crazy person whom he once loved. I stood by him, when he was attacked. I am here, with him, and went through his worst years.
One day, I could have cancer. One day, he could have cancer. We suffer through each others' horrible bosses and jobs that hold us back. We struggle with the mix of our career, personal goals, and the obligation to family- which we would have if we had had our own kids, as well. We are in it together.
I asked my mom one time why she didn't at least try to talk me out of marrying my husband. She said, "Everybody has baggage; you just know what his is already." That has turned out to be very, very true. I had boyfriends whose issues came out after a year or two, and those issues were internal, mental, and scary. This man I married, on the other hand, doesn't have scary stuff going on in his head. I have not been surprised by hidden range, alcoholism, addiction, mental illness. (He probably, on the other hand, has been surprised by mine. =) )
He puts up with me and still loves me. He will see me through illnesses. I saw him through post-divorce, raising girls, and now raising teenagers. What if you had a crazy ex that never left you alone? You'd want your husband to stand by you and not give up on you, right? Honestly, the comparison is quite similar. Family issues, huge life decisions, what have you. Suffering comes in many forms.
He'll be here for me. I felt his pain with him.
I also can see the choices I made were the choices I made. I absolutely can't blame my husband for my career choices, and he had complete faith in my abilities to do whatever I wanted and reach my goals despite a recession, stepkids, moving, and health problems. We make our choices, I chose my husband, and I have suffered with him. Which is what we are expected to do in marriage.