Believe me, I’m no expert on marriage. In fact, I’m working extremely hard on marriage number two to ensure that we don’t become an unfortunate statistic. So, please don’t mistake this post for someone who has it altogether. Rather–consider your own marriage, for a moment, and imagine how much better it could be if you honed in on what’s most important (*gasp* even more important than the kids)…
Marriage is kind of like a road, isn’t it? You know where you’ve both been, and you’re heading down a road where you’re not entirely sure where it will go. Days, months, and years pass. You have a kid or more. You’re doing the dang thing.
But… is that all there is? I am begging for a redirect here…because I know I need it!
We had the kids, now let’s revisit our marriage.
Don’t we all miss those times of ‘just the two of us’?
A little daydream session, shall we?
You’re dating. Your stomach is in knots because you’re super nervous about whether or not you should wear the black dress or jeans to your date. After five minutes in the car, you don’t even care anymore because you’re having too much fun together. The night gets late, and you don’t want to leave each other.
The next day is filled with (besides the obvious… SLEEPING IN) food….probably brunch. Then, you take naps, and wake up and watch television (most likely not interrupted). You leave each other and hang on tight for that hug because maybe if you hug them tight enough or kiss them long enough–they won’t have to go home. You’re filled with wonder as you begin to plan out what your future kids’ names will be. Whoa, that escalated quickly!
Sound familiar to you?
Reality… those times were real. They were fueled with desire and mushy love songs, too!
Then you get married and something magical happens.
Actually, I lied. It’s not magic at all. It’s just called… you realize each other are flawed, broken, and real people. What IS that magic?! I don’t like it one bit! I wish we could always stay in that state of bliss.
But those times of dating, where you laid the groundwork for the foundation of your marriage were very real. With much luck, prayer, hard work and commitment, you will both be transformed by time, but the love will hopefully still remain.
I have to say there are so many times I wish I could escape to a place with just my husband–to rejuvenate our relationship, reconnect with each other, and revive part of that flame that was so eloquently “snuffed out” by LIFE.
I love our life. I really do. I love our kids and the mess and the profound love that we have for our family. But I think it’s strikingly different than what the magazines and movies depicted from when I was a young girl. Sure, marriage was something I always knew I wanted, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the raw emotions and deep revelations that are tangled together in a web of “forever.”
Marriage can be both insatiably glorious and designed for great joy, as well as downright difficult sometimes. Add a kid or more into the mix, and marriage isn’t hard at all. It’s just sometimes nonexistent.
We slowly start to put each other on the back burner, grasping for a chance to hang on to our own identity. Kids inevitably put a different strain on our marriage, too. It’s not because we don’t love each other or our kids. It’s just because we’re two people who are different, work at different places (whether at home or out of the home), have different perspectives, and both trying to raise the same humans together.
Key word: together.
What does “together” even mean when you’re passing like ships in the night because one of you works nights? So. Many. Factors. I could go on & on.
We’re tired, y’all.
As with most topics that I choose to write about, they’re usually something near and dear to my heart and something I’ve either struggled with or am excited about and want to share. I have both of those extremes to share with you.
Marriage is a struggle sometimes.
The truth is, our marriage hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows all the time. It started out a mere five years ago, and since then–we’ve endured a miscarriage, created three beautiful children (a singleton, then twins), changed jobs, moved to new houses, traded in our cars for a saweeeet minivan and a 1989 Pontiac 6000 (no car payment = glorious), and allowed stress to creep in. It’s not “hard” in the sense that we can’t do it. It’s just “hard” because sometimes, we take each other for granted. And dang it, we’re tired.
Marriage is exhilarating.
A long, long time ago, when we were in the trenches of premarital counseling, we discussed what our dreams were. What did we envision for ourselves in 5, 10, 15 years? Although some were different, many were the same. We learned how to lean in to each other, to listen, and to push when we want to pull. Every day we have a choice to be excited about our spouse, challenge our spouse in a new and different way, assert ourselves to the other when necessary, and choose to love that person no matter what. I have to say, sometimes just pausing to reflect, maybe even writing it all down, can really make me so thankful for my husband. The most fun I’ve ever had is with him! And I can’t imagine life without him.
I don’t want to ‘get back’ to where we once were. Instead, I’d rather move forward to a NEW point. A better one. But it takes time. And effort. And thought.
I really hate that the struggle of marriage is sometimes taboo to talk about. Don’t we all need someone to talk to? I’ve known several people to endure divorce (myself included) and that is really not an experience that I’d wish upon anyone. I really believe it’s time to speak up about the importance of taking care of our marriages. And not just to our girlfriends, but to our spouse.
Revisiting the idea of falling deeper in love with someone instead of putting on that Netflix series can be stressful. But what does our marriage mean if we’re not putting forth effort?
It means we need to try harder.
Make eye contact.
Plan a trip.
Write a note.
Sit on the porch and talk.
Put the phone down.
Encourage each other.
It means DO SOMETHING even if we don’t wanna.
Because trying is beautiful, and kindness is contagious…and our children deserve to be both grossed out and inspired about their parents’ journey.
What are some ways you and your significant other reconnect?!