Let me start this blog post out with the fact that I am in no way a marriage expert (or a love expert like the adorable trolls on frozen). My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years and even typing that sounds crazy because it really hasn’t felt that long! We essentially became adults together. I got married at 21 years old, and my husband was 24. We were just talking about how this first decade of our marriage would be classified as one of “firsts”. First time living completely financially independent, first time buying cars on our own, renting apartments on our own, having kids, buying a home, starting a business. All these firsts – all types of mistakes and figuring out life. It’s been fun, it’s been stressful, we’ve learned so much and we have grown closer as a couple and respect each other more.
This next decade we would like to have it be one of planting seeds. Now that many of the firsts are out of the way and we have somewhat of an idea of who we want to be and how we want to live, it’s time to get to work building that life. It’s time to plant seeds for our financial future, raising our children and strengthening our marriage. Hopefully later in life we will get to reap the seeds we plant now.
This weekend we got some time away – just the two of us – which we haven’t had in over two years. It’s been great to just have uninterrupted conversation, laugh together, REST, and take a look at where we are at and where we can improve, especially in our marriage.
The big thing we both felt, was lack of time to communicate deeply with each other on a regular basis. There will be DAYS that go by where we haven’t had even ONE true conversation with each other. It’s hard to love and care for your spouse when they feel like a distant stranger. Now granted, my debilitating nausea that seems to hit primarily in the evening has not helped! Most nights I am unable to move from a fetal position by 7pm, leaving Fernando to put the kids down alone and stealing our evening chats away. Because he leaves for work at 5:30am, the evenings are really our only time to be together – so this has been hard. But even before that, just wrangling the kids to bed each night would sometimes leave us so exhausted, especially if we had some work to do for our jobs, and we would regularly skip spending time in deep, meaningful conversation.
So, moving forward this is what we will be trying to do:
- Continue to make weekly date nights a priority. (this is SO hard! but we have to keep trying!)
- 3x per week go on walks together with the kids so that we can get a bit of conversation in (when we are in the house, it’s impossible, but our kids love being outside and usually while they ride their scooters around we can chat a bit)
- Workout with Hammer and Chisel regularly together
I know that each of these points will take TONS of work to make happen. I will have to get dinner ready ahead of time to have the freedom to walk when Fernando gets home from work. We will BOTH have to be disciplined to do our workouts in the evening when we feel totally exhausted (although I do have a secret weapon for that!). And date nights…just finding someone weekly to watch the kids is a crazy difficult undertaking, let alone keeping our schedule free enough from other church and work commitments. BUT – we both know that we are committed to not just tolerating each other into our marriage, but loving – DEEPLY loving each other for the next five decades (at least) and that take work.
It takes creating space where we can laugh and talk and also ask the hard questions. Why do you seem to be sharp with me? Where can I serve you better? Am I being selfish here? Are YOU being selfish here? Those are questions we never WANT to ask, but when we do, the conversation that comes from it is EYE-OPENING. When my husband asks me why I’m being sharp and I start to share with him the day I’ve had and break down in tears from the stress of having to deal with over 20 tantrums from between our three children and I just feel like such a failure as a mom! I never would have expressed that – even to MYSELF! If he wouldn’t have asked those questions. I would have gone to bed with that stress and those emotions bottled up inside of me, and woken up to another day without dealing with any of it. Instead he can realize I’m not attacking him, pray for me, and help me see Jesus, my helper and my peace.
I know this is a long post, and if you have stuck with me until now, I applaud you. We are not perfect by ANY stretch. We are often times selfish, quick to judge (more me that him) and lazy about fighting for our marriage, but if this glimpse into how we are imperfectly trying to build a marriage that lasts, inspires you to sit down with your own spouse, ask some hard questions, or just take a night to laugh (never underestimate the healing power of laughter) then I am thankful.
You are not alone. Marriage is not easy. But with God’s grace it can be beautiful and wonderful!
If you have any tips or words of advice for an exhausted couple with three (almost four) crazy kids on how to make time and pour energy into our marriage I would LOVE to hear!
On this weekend getaway we have been listening to the audio book of You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan. Even though we haven’t finished it yet, I HIGHLY recommend it!