I want to rewind and walk you through my life 9 years ago.
I was days from getting married. We had dated for 4 years. I knew his family. I knew his dreams. I knew what we wanted for our lives. I knew his expectations.
At least I thought I did.
But let me tell you what, I had no idea what was in store for us. So many people tried to tell us about their marriage experience, and both sets of parents warned us about struggles they had experienced themselves. I can distinctly remember my mom asking us what we were going to do differently than what our parents had done. Ron and I both came from broken homes, but we had no idea how those experiences would shape us when we had our own marital disagreements.
Unfortunately we didn’t learn those lessons as quickly as we would have liked. We went from two college graduates, to newlyweds, to homeowners, to expecting parents, to dealing with the loss of a unborn child in a span of 9 months. Everything came at once, and each thing hit us like a pile of bricks.
You see, there’s no magic trick to marriage. It’s incredibly hard. You’ve spent years managing your own finances, making your own plans, only having to worry about yourself and then BAM you wake up to a person who has done the same thing and suddenly each of you want the other to think of someone other then themselves. Newsflash: it doesn’t happen so easily.
Marriage brings a whole new set of challenges to the table. Shared finances, family dynamics, kids, lack of sleep, and dare I even say disagreements about sex?
Yep that too!
The first five years were rocky. I think everyone in my family would attest to that. Granted most people don’t have 4 kids in that time period. My husband coached football every year between 2013-2015. I was pregnant every year. It was a really hard time for us.
A dear friend told us after Olivia was born “if you wake up constantly trying to outserve the other without expecting anything in return you’re life will be completely different”; and it’s so true! It’s not easy at all! Let’s be honest. Babies crying, toddlers who need changed, and a 4 year old who just wanted mom to read to him.
My point in all this is marriage is hard. It takes work. It’s not easy. But here’s my encouragement to newlyweds or maybe those of you who have been married for a while but feel like you are drowning.
- Don’t compare your life & marriage to what you see on social media. Social media is the highlight reel of people’s lives. Don’t compare your life to what you THINK theirs’ is.
- Find a counselor. I’m being serious. Most insurance companies include this in your health insurance plan. Sometimes it’s just helpful to talk to someone who is a neutral party who can hear both of you and offer suggestions.
- Find a Church. I realize many are not church goers, but if you are, find a good Church where you can get plugged in.
- Have friends who will encourage you; Another thing that’s hard. I had to distance myself from people who badmouthed my husband. You don’t need that negativity in your life. You need friends who will encourage you to do the right thing even when it’s hard. Now, I’m not talking about abuse situations- obviously that’s a whole different category!
- Spend time together. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, make that time your time. No TV, no phones, no kids.
- Learn to count to 10. No, I’m serious. In those ten seconds there’s a lot that could be said, and sometimes they are things that shouldn’t be said. So in a heated argument- slowly count to 10.
- Remember your spouse is not your enemy. Remember people change. Just as your spouse has changed over the course of your marriage, so have you.
I’m not a expert. We have made many mistakes. We still have disagreements. In fact we had a pretty big one at the end of September ? but at the end of the day I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side. Nor would I want to ever have to do the weekend drop off and pick up with our kids. EVER.
Happy anniversary my love. May we leave a amazing legacy for our kids. I hope they always know that no matter what situations we were going through at the time, that mom & dad not only loved them but also loved each other.
Here’s to the next 40 years!