Marriage is the hardest thing I do every day.
Taking care of two kids, working part-time, running schedules, keeping up with the house, being active at church and the million other things I do don’t compare to the struggles I have with marriage. And I love my husband dearly, way more today than I ever did when I walked down the wedding aisle.
Instead of that picture, I found myself at 24, in Indiana, walking down the aisle to a law student from Wisconsin who was dead set on moving back. I might have had a Coach purse or two and enjoyed a tropical vacation but nothing like I dreamed of during my college years. There’s a Kelly Clarkston song, “Miss Independent” that basically sums it up — it was all me before I fell in love.
I took the path of least friction, so to speak, and followed what was the Lord’s calling in my life – marriage.
Three years in and we’d had a very bumpy start: husband finishing law school, unexpected pregnancy turned into miscarriage, stressful job and then the birth of our first son. Nothing about marriage seemed to be shining as the path of bliss. My husband was just as unhappy as I, and it needed to stop.
We didn’t want any of what was going on with us to continue, and we weren’t messing around so we went into crisis mode. The two of us signed up for marriage counseling and stopped going to our small group so we could put all our efforts into making our relationship right. We identified some relationships that we needed to let go of because they were more unhealthy than good for us.
I was all for counseling. Someone was going to set it straight and bring it to my husband’s attention that he needed to get with the program. I felt I was the one making all the sacrifices. I left my job to go part -time and be at home with our son. I clearly wasn’t living anywhere tropical. I kept the house cleaned, made all the meals and basically was running the ship. With or without child, my husband went to the same job every day, enjoyed the peace and quiet of his own office, had a boss that told him “good job” and even had vacation days! To me, it seemed as though nothing about his life had changed! He was living his dream, and I was molding to fit it.
I’m sad to say marriage counseling did not go down as expected. It was about two months of agony and got way worse before it got better. The real issues at hand came to the surface eventually, and we were given opportunities to heal and improve. I was finally able to hear that my husband felt he was carrying the financial weight of the family and that he felt like our son was treated better in the home then he was. My husband expressed we weren’t friends anymore. I was able to voice that I wanted to be respected and appreciated for the around the clock work I was doing. My husband was able to hear and understand I wanted some credit as my life wasn’t all play dates by the pool and naps in the afternoon. I was working hard and never got a break. No one ever sent me a check with a bonus or took me to lunch. I was struggling with the change in the tempo of my career and the role to step up as a mother.
Our arguments over finances have ceased. We communicate fabulously about finances. We plan together, save together and enjoy the time we spend each month reviewing and preparing. Many of the aspects of Financial Peace we try to implement in other areas of our relationship as well.
Our relationship ebbs and flows with the seasons. It seems the chapters start and end a lot quicker with children in the picture, and those quick adjustments pose some issue for us at times.
If I’m being honest, currently we are in the midst of an ebb. It’s been a little over a year since the birth of our second son, and I finally feel like I know who I am, a little. Number two was a huge adjustment! The perfect cadence pace of life I had finally started rocking was entirely flipped upside down on May 16, 2013, when our second son was born.
With the birth of our first son so many positive changes happened for me. With the second, it’s like I have to get rid of some of those positives because there’s not enough time in the day. And I’m kicking and screaming a little bit with what has to go. Work seems like the obvious, but I see it as so much of my identity it scares me sick to say, “I’m totally 100 percent stay at home!” My husband is getting the brunt of my shape shifting, and it’s creating some friction.
We are communicating our feelings, although it doesn’t always go over smoothly. I’m trying to let go of some of my visions of a wife and putting more effort into my husband’s visions. I fall on the Lord on a daily basis to give me strength to pursue those things. I try to have a happy heart and energetic smile when my husband gets home from work so he doesn’t get the scraps. I enjoy an afternoon cup of coffee instead of worrying what it will do to my nutrition program because I know it’s just enough jolt to keep me going. I’m working on letting there be dust, dirty bathrooms, late thank you letters and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. These are all things that really don’t matter to anyone but my made up “vision” in my head.
It just feels good to say it’s hard. It’s difficult to be honest and admit I’m torn between my own personal vision of my life and the life God has taken me down. Although hard, it is so much more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined.
The moments my husband and I have shared together are more beautiful than any California beach. The arguments we have conquered and grown from are way better than any designer purse. Our marriage is a daily work in progress, and I’m hard at it. I love my boys, but most of all I love my husband. We together, are committed to making it work and making sure it sets the tone for our family.