Thursday, August 22, 2013

Some marital honesty

I remember the first 6 months of marriage as mostly being incredibly challenging and not very fun. Jeff and I are both pretty selfish creatures. We both like to get our way and, like most, we had much learning and maturing to do that first year of marriage. Who knew the kind of effort and selflessness marriage would require? Really, the first year was very challenging but with people around us who knew and loved us we learned and grew so much. Thankfully, things started to seem much more fluid after the first year.

After several years of waiting, we decided to try and get pregnant. Very quickly, we did, and we had our son, Noah. The whole pregnancy, birth, first days and months were such a beautiful time for us. Everything was new and exciting, we clung to Jesus and each other in the challenging moments, but it was all so beautiful. Jeff and I were a team and we had a family!
When my dad died, Noah was only seven months old. He was slowly becoming less- baby and more-toddler which presented new, busier challenges. When he was 10 months old I became pregnant with Gracie. We were ecstatic and had been waiting for the time that we could get pregnant again (after needing to wait 9 months due to my c-section). As exciting as it was, reality hit not long after finding out. I had been exhausted from grieving the death of my dad and now entered a very, tiring first trimester…all the while still adjusting to parenthood in general and chasing after a busy baby boy. Somewhere in the middle of that pregnancy Jeff and I got really off track. His job was at the peak of a new transition, he was traveling a lot, I was pregnant, and although I don’t think I realized it, I was very much still grieving the loss of my dad. In hindsight, it was the beginning of feeling like we were completely falling apart.

Months later, we had Gracie. Her birth was a successful VBAC and such a beautiful moment for our whole family. But in all honesty, it was very much tainted by how distant from each other Jeff and I were becoming. We were lacking our “oneness” which really stood out in such an intimate time. It makes us both so sad now, but I remember Gracie’s first days as being challenging, lonely, and painful…much different than the first days of Noah.

Still adjusting to life with two kids and a fussy baby, we started house hunting when Gracie was four months old. That. Was. Brutal. But thank God, it brought so much to the surface. We came dangerously and painfully close to a breaking point. We needed help and finally came to a place where we had nothing left to do but ask for it. With a friend, who loves us like a dad and served us a mediator one evening, we sat in our living room being open, honest, yelling, and crying. Our friend loved us and was also honest with us. It was a hard night, but a turning point. This particular night was also right after we got back from our annual summer vacation to San Diego (that was also tainted and crummy). Vacation buzz kill!

This year, we went to San Diego and completely enjoyed each other. We probably said a thousand times, “wow, it’s so nice to actually like each other this year”. Marriage is crazy. Life is crazy. Little kids who are completely dependent make both of those things even crazier, but it’s so much easier when we are walking in the rolls that Lord has given each of us and when we’re working to serve each other and not ourselves. Throw in obvious things like laying down pride and communicating and there’s a much better recipe for success than we were using before.   

That being said, there was much time to reflect this last week having been away. I may have had a near break-down over a sub sandwich one afternoon, but other than that we went on vacation in a great place and we came home in a great place (also a new house- thank you Lord!). I’m so grateful for the work that the Lord has done in both of us over the last year. I’m grateful for how and what he has taught us, for people who love us when we need to be loved, and for our growing family. We have nine or so weeks until we meet our son and it’s nothing but exciting. I’m so proud of my husband and I feel privileged to journey through life with him.