Marriage is hard. Well, a good marriage is hard. And a good marriage is what we all want, right? It’s what I want. It’s what my husband would say he wanted, if I asked him. Actually, his answer would probably be more like, “We have a good marriage, stop over thinking everything!” But us girls, we know the truth. Marriage . Is. Hard. It is oh my god did I just see you throw your dirty underwear on the floor not two minutes after you watched me pick up every article of clothing off the floor hard. It is really, you’re just going to leave that mess on the kitchen counter when the wipes are right there hard. It is why can’t you put the kids to bed on time so I don’t have to deal with cranky little ones in the morning which makes us crazy and late but you wouldn’t know because you leave before you witness our morning chaos hard. It is did you not see that I was watching that, you can’t just change the channel without asking me hard.
It’s hard enough when it’s just two people in love. Toss in in-laws, careers, bosses, kids, all those times we say “yes”- it’s always for the kids, isn’t it? Yes! I’ll sit on your board! Yes! I’ll join your PTO! Yes! I’ll work in the church nursery! Yes! I’ll work vacation bible school! Yes! I’ll help, I’ll decorate, I’ll make phone calls, I’ll take notes. Yes, yes, yes… But we do it all because we want to do it all, and because every bit of it is important. If I don’t sit on that board my voice won’t be heard. If I don’t join the PTO I won’t know what is happening at the school that is powered by volunteers. If I don’t work in the church nursery every so often then I am not showing my children God’s love, especially since I used that nursery for years. So I say yes not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s what I want to do. I have spent years picturing my life as a mother. The mother I saw in my mind was involved in her children’s lives, she knew everything that was going on with them, she drove them to school and sports, and music lessons. I always wanted to be the soccer mom. And now I am. J
My version of a soccer mom doesn’t drive a minivan, I drive a small SUV. And in my wildest dreams I never would have thought that one day I would be driving that small SUV to monster truck shows, China school, and Russian festivals. In my earlier dreams my hair was always done, my lip gloss always on, and my underwear always matched my bra. Now I can never find my lip gloss, and I have found that my hair looks much more acceptable at 5:30 in the morning than you would think. And don’t get me started on anything matching… But I have it all because of my marriage and my sweet husband.
As I sit here writing this I can hear all three of my boys struggling downstairs. I can hear the frustration mounting in my husband’s voice. And I think about the decision we made sometime last year that we would hold each other accountable when we got too upset with the boys. When they push us to that point where we want to yell, we would step in and hold each other up. And I am sitting here weighing the options. Do I call my sweet husband and remind him of this decision, which will surely push his frustration from the boys to me? Do I let the three of them figure it out on their own? Do I like it when he steps in to help me when I am frustrated? Yes, marriage is hard.
I am thinking about all of this because our 10thwedding anniversary is coming up this week. Ten years! I have been attached to my husband in some way for the past 13 years. I can barely remember my life before him. He is a part of me, and I could not live without him. Which is a sentiment I have thought of millions of times this past year. Any issues we may have had in our marriage prior to May 2011 were nothing. Nothing. I could tackle those tiny problems with one hand tied behind my back. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that the addition of one child into our little family would cause such ripples of intense feelings, both good and bad.
So yes, our ninth year of marriage was not as easy as our previous eight had been. We argued a little more, we snipped at each other a little more, we occasionally forgot that we are supposed to treat each other better than we treat anyone else. We were a little more sensitive than we needed to be, and we allowed something small to escalate into something big on more than one occasion.
Ten years ago I made the commitment to walk through this life with my sweet husband. I have learned a lot in those years. I have learned that even the one who loves you the most in this world will, sometimes, hurt your feelings. I have learned that no matter how angry I get at him I still miss him when he is away from me for too long. I have learned that while he may not notice the little things he will be there for me for the big ones. I have learned that being a Godly wife and mother is a daily struggle but one that I want to continue to strive to achieve. I have learned that nothing that happens outside the home is more important that what happens inside. I have learned about rock music, football, and finances. I have marveled at how someone can wear jeans and a sweatshirt in August. I have learned to let go, to forgive, and to ask for help. I have learned what love really means, and for that I am grateful. I could not be the woman I am today without the man who stands up and leads this family.
In ten years we have walked through a life of happiness and sorrow. We felt the pain of miscarriages and the struggle of conceiving a family. He held me night after night after I sat, day after day, by my mother’s bedside in the ICU and he stood up beside me during her funeral, taking over all child care duties and just being there, totally, for me. He kept me sane as we travelled to China and Russia to meet our boys for the first time, and he made me feel as though I could conquer anything as I travelled home from Russia, alone with a new baby son. We have walked together through three job losses and two moves.
Yes, marriage is hard. Our journey will continue, through more happiness and sorrow. Just like our boys, we will continue to grow and change. And I will continue to strive every day to be a Godly wife and mother. Some days will be easier than others, sure. But every day married to my sweet husband is better than any day alone. Happy anniversary to us!