– In visiting the long neglected blog, I realized that I had this post here that I had failed to publish. I may have written it two months ago, but It was a good reminder of something we need to constantly work at. –
Growing up my mom always prepped me that “marriage is not easy, it is a lot of work.” Of course, I never thought too much of it when I could see my parents happily married and I wasn’t in that chapter of life yet. Then I got married, and I heard plenty of newly wed advice like, “have a date night once a week” and “make time to date your spouse” and “never go to bed angry.” Sure! I was now living with my best friend and we hung out all the time. Life was fun!
(^^ throwback to our engagement photos ^^)
Then real life settled in more. If you’re married, you might be smiling to yourself because you know what I’m talking about. Sure, there may be quirks you hadn’t noticed before or petty arguments about picking up after each other or who is hogging the bed. – Or perhaps your husband gifts you a really nice box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day and then eats it himself because you didn’t “eat it quick enough!” There can be nothing more devastating than going for that favorite piece you have been saving to find an empty box of crinkled paper. – I have since learned to hide my chocolate. But jokes aside, there can be really tough things to deal with. Adapting to a new second family and their way of doing things isn’t always easy, not to mention balancing time spent with each family. Finances can definitely put a strain on the newly wed bliss. And all of your decisions now affect not just yourself, but another person and your life together. It’s true, marriage is not easy.
What I have been dwelling on frequently is where James and I are at right now. We have two kids and are coming up on five years of marriage. It has been such an adventure so far! We have had some really low lows and also some incredibly great memories. But we are definitely at a stage in our marriage that is requiring the most work so far. When we decided to have children, we decided to not just share our hearts with each other, but with these beautiful little people. Hands down that has been an easy thing to do! However, it has also been easy to let those little people come first before our marriage.
Being a parent is absolutely a priority. They say that having children is like having your heart walking around outside of your body. I understand that completely! As a mother, I decided to quit my photo business because I wanted to give my baby and almost three year old more of me. Taking care of them and being there for them is my life. It can be too easy though to make my kids become more important than my marriage by letting them get more of me than James does.
(^^ our attempts at a family picture this year on Easter haha ^^)
James is in school full time right now and working full time. He is SO busy. I’m at home with our two babes, trying to keep up with their needs, our home and our yard. We also both have responsibilities at church and often commitments with other people and events. At the end of the day, we are both pooped. I will readily admit that our marriage has suffered. We get stuck on auto pilot. I deal with the kids, he has work and school. Our lives could easily stay very separate because there is lack of communication with each other – it’s so easy to feel frustrated and worn out. We don’t take time for each other to bond, connect, work things out and take care of one another’s needs when life is hectic – but that is when we need it the most. It causes distance and maybe even bitter feelings toward one another.
I know that James and I aren’t the only ones that face this struggle.
I think about this a lot lately because it is the biggest thing James and I are working to improve: that each other – our marriage – should come first before our kids, our jobs, our other family members, or hobbies. It can be a really hard thing to do! And it is a lot of work. A lot of communication. We have become so much more open with each other and know that we don’t want to be the empty-nesters facing retirement that are uncomfortable and scared about having to live life alone again with a spouse we have allowed ourself to become disconnected from because of years spent focused on work and children instead of each other. (longest sentence ever!)
I really don’t know what the purpose of this post was, just that this afternoon James and I had to revisit how and where we can fit time in for each other. A time each day where we know we push pause on everything else to reconnect and talk or just spend time together somehow uninterrupted. Every marriage needs and deserves that. It reminds me of a quote I love…
“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.”
― F. Burton Howard