What Marriage Is

dancing

As I have approached my third year of marriage, I find myself surprised that it has only been that long. Our love feels ancient. It feels stretched. Torn. Weathered. At times faded, but in just the right light it blazes with all of its ethereal, ancient beauty.

I met my husband nearly a decade ago, we began dating a couple of years later and were quickly engaged though not quickly married. A three year engagement would drive most people crazy, but it was perfect for us.

Once we were married, I finally felt like I was home. Our lives folded beautifully together. We got a little house, a little cat, then a little struggle.

My health was not the best. His grandfather died. I went through a huge transition at work. We got pregnant. That was year one.

Year two brought more growth. I quit my job.  We had a new baby. We were submersed in postpartum life and all its unpredictable glory. My grandpa died.

The third year was strained. How do you take care of an ever changing baby? I still don’t know. I started a business. Constant baby talk can make you no talk so good to each other. I got really, really sick. My beloved grandmother died. Oh, and surprise, I’m pregnant again.

Somehow through all of that and the in between that I left out, we managed to hold it together. We still love each other. I dare say we love each other more today than we did two weeks ago.

That’s because marriage is hard. It’s not for the weak of heart. It’s for warriors. Two people fighting for the same cause. Those who do not quit no matter how many times they want to slam open the door and run like hell. It’s for those who say no to other things they find a little more attractive in a fleeting moment.

Marriage is laughing so hard at something that other people would probably find gross or disturbing. It’s safe. It’s even fun. It’s inside jokes, and knowing looks that need no words.

Marriage is going to the grocery store late at night because your pregnant wife needs anything and everything that you do not have in the comfort of your own home.

It’s listening to the same old stories and knowing the inflection and hand gestures that go with them.

Marriage is taking it slow, even for only five minutes because you just realized you haven’t hugged all day in a couple of days.

It is admitting what is wrong and determining to fix it. It is raw, unedited, and pure.

Marriage is holding your sobbing wife behind closed doors when she just can’t.

Marriage is teamwork. You got the dishes, I’ll fold the laundry. You watch the baby, I’ll mow the lawn. It blossoms in the mundane.

Marriage is doing the boring stuff: chores, bills, budgets, making a living. It is planning, home-making, life building.

It is doing something for the other person just because you think they’d like it. It’s giving without always taking, encouraging, and supporting.

Marriage is footsy in bed because you better not think about anything else. It’s learning the difference between quality love making verses quantity and knowing that a little quantity isn’t bad either.

It is hand holding, back rubbing, distant winking, seeing someone attractive across the room and having this sensational realization that, “Hey, they’re with me.”It is random romance. It is passionate. It is intimate, vulnerable, and sacred.

Marriage is Friday night snuggles because there is no place else you’d rather be.

It is trusting, being kind, finding ways to overlook idiosyncrasies.

It is humbling, inspiring, and at times overwhelming.

Marriage is a worthy challenge because every part of you is invaluable to me. Marriage is an honor, a gift, happiness, and fulfilling.

It’s I love you, now and forever not because of this overwhelming feeling or desire I have right now but because I promised to.

Marriage is having the flame go out only to quickly stoke the flame to light it up again.

It is commitment. It is sharing, care-taking, compromise, you give 100% and I will too.

It is forgiving, letting go, fighting hard while choosing your battles.

Marriage is taking care of yourself so that you can better serve the other. It is mutual respect, sacrifice, learning to be selfless.

It is allowing the other to have the space they need to regroup, unwind, and recharge.

It is having a partner, a friend, and ally, and I am so glad you are on my side. Marriage is family.

Marriage is many wonderful and intimidating things, and it’s so much more than this little summary.

My marriage is basically a toddler though our relationship as a whole will soon be preparing for middle school. I only know a very little, and I bask in the wisdom of the marriage elders who have been at it for decades. This little nugget is just what I’ve learned so far, and I look forward to learning so much more.

Here’s to 33+33 more! Cheers, my dear! You are a most cherished blessing.

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Pregnancy:The Sequel (15 weeks)

15 weeks

 

How far along? 15 weeks

Maternity clothes? Not this photo. Obviously I’m wearing sweatpants though that I bought when I was pregnant last time.

Stretch marks? …

Sleep: Still popping the night time melatonin.

Best moment this week: Starting a new job.

Miss Anything?: Clear skin. Coffee.

Movement: SO MUCH.

This week I’ve felt a bit more sunny than usual. I attribute it to the stretch of warmish days we’ve had. Being able to actually go outside and play with big sister makes me feel much, much better.

My hip has been bothering me a lot this week, and it has made it very difficult for me to be active. The heavier big sister gets, and the larger my belly gets, the harder it becomes on me to lift her, and this really depresses me. She’s so active, and I want to be able to keep up with her.

Everyday this week I’ve had to slice up some potatoes and either pan fry them in olive oil or bake them and smother them in ketchup. I like ketchup OK, but this has been in excess. Also, every afternoon without fail, I have wanted a PB sandwich (yuck, no J) with a small glass of milk. These are pretty easy to manage.

I started a new job this week which is a huge blessing. The job that I’ve been doing for the last several months has been great, and I still do it, I just can’t do it as much. It requires a lot of lifting and preparation that my little body just can’t handle right now. My new job requires me sitting in front of my computer screen. I could do that on bed rest.

Even though I’ve felt a little more energetic this week, I’m still mostly exhausted. This pregnancy has been more challenging on my mind and body than the last, and at the end of the day I’m too tired to sleep. I usually have to take a melatonin to settle down. I’m getting a new all natural sleep aid in the mail this week that contains vegan melatonin, valerian root, chamomile, and a few other sleep encouraging herbs. Hopefully this will help.

My sweet husband has been so kind to rub my back and hip every single night, and I imagine this will be a routine that lasts throughout the remainder of this pregnancy.

There’s only 25 weeks left in this pregnancy and just over 2 before I get to find out if new baby is a boy or girl.

I Resolve 2015

The first day of the year typically garners an “I Resolve” post from yours truly. I’ll break down a list of resolutions, typically compartmentalized into different areas of my life. Similar to most people, I fail miserably at even remembering what I resolved to do let alone actually bringing them to fruition. So this year I’m keeping it simple.

I resolve to be joyful.

I’m a realist with anxiety issues who is jacked up on an influx of pregnancy hormones, so being joyful is not one of my fortes. However, since I became a mother, I have learned a great deal about joy and its incredible healing powers.

So this year, I will be joyful.

If there is something in my life that becomes a joy thief, I will try to fix it or it will be removed all together. Period. This life is far to short, and the things that rob me of feeling joyful will have very little meaning in the grand scheme of eternity.

So there is my resolution. I hope your new year is filled with joy and love and that 2015 is everything your heart desires.

Pregnancy: The Sequel (11 weeks)

11 weeks

11weeksshirt

How far along? 11 weeks

Total weight gain:Honestly, I have no idea. I have decided to not worry about weight gain this time around. I’m a healthy eater, and I exercise. I don’t want other pregnant readers to read my blog and compare themselves to me. If my doctor becomes concerned about it, then I will.

Maternity clothes? Not in this pic, but I wear yoga pants more often then not. I did order some super cute maternity jeans from H&M for $15! They were on sale after Christmas, and I could not resist. Word of wisdom for buying H&M Maternity jeans, buy 2 sizes up. I have some from my last pregnancy that I found at Goodwill that I almost didn’t buy because they weren’t my size, but I tried them on and they were so comfy. I love that the belly band on their pants comes up over the majority of your belly. I hate most maternity pants because they cut you off mid-uterus.

Stretch marks? My belly has barely popped so….

Sleep: I take chewable melatonin almost every night. I’m not a fan of having to take it, but I’m also not a fan of not sleeping.

Best moment this week: Waking up at 3 am on Christmas morning to feel my baby FLUTTER. No it was not gas, it was bubbly, fluttery, and consistent. So precious.

Miss Anything?: Not feeling like I’m sea sick

Movement: YES.

Food cravings: Sour candy. I need to hit up Trader Joe’s to see what they have in the sour candy department, because I try to avoid dyes and artificial flavors like the plague.

I’m a little delayed in writing this because of Christmas, but this week has been great overall. My belly feels like it has exploded, and feeling new baby flutter has me tickled pink.

I’m so thankful we got to spend time with family over the holidays, and I even got to eat SOME food. Thanksgiving meal was nothing but a plate full of mashed potatoes.

My husband and I began reading Christ Centered Childbirth this week. We read a bit of it last time, but we didn’t get it until I was almost 9 months pregnant, and I had already read        e v e r y   pregnancy book my small suburban library had to offer. The one thing that has stood out to me so far from my reading it to try to connect with the baby at the beginning of every hour by talking to, praying for, or just thinking about him or her. This is pretty hard for me, especially since I’m constantly chasing around big sister, but I try to take time throughout my day to do this.

An Open Letter to the Depressed and Suicidal

The news is splashed with the devastating truth that one of America’s most beloved actors, Robin Williams, has died of an apparent suicide. This shakes me to my core, because this topic is still so raw to my heart.

I am not a doctor, a mental health professional, or even a counselor of any sort. I find my knowledge best lies on the other side of the couch where I spent countless hours picking my cuticles, hot tears billowing down my cheeks, barely able to whisper the words “I just want to die” to someone I barely knew.

I know your story is different than mine, and I will not even do you the disservice of pretending to fully understand what you are going through. There may have been a particular event in your life that spawned your depression, or maybe you’re like me and look back over your life and can’t really remember a time when you weren’t depressed. Whatever the situation, you’re to your breaking point, and that my friend is where you need to step back from.

You may feel like no one cares, no one sees you, no one hears you. You may have had people scream at you “You’re just being selfish.” In a way you are, but that’s not how you see it. You believe that they’d be better off without you, that this world wouldn’t even miss you, life would go on as it already is even if you weren’t there.

This is a lie.

Maybe you see the horrible things of this world and can’t bare the pain that is caused by it, whatever your reason, You are needed. You are wanted. You have something to offer this world.

The ripple of your departure would affect people you don’t even know. Just like a drop in the center of a pond moves the water on the edges, so would your death by your hand rock people that you do not even know are watching you.

There is absolutely no shame in getting help. I know you probably don’t think you need it, but take it from me, you do. If you’re reading this and see someone slipping beneath the waves, pick them up. Do not just stand there and let them drown.

I would have went under and been lost at sea had my fiance’ not taken a stand and firmly and gently guided me to safe harbor. It wasn’t easy, and was excruciating at times, but it is worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

The answer to your despair is not on the other end of a gun, the bottom of a pill bottle, or hanging from a noose, and honestly I can’t tell you where it is. But your life is precious. You do matter. You are seen. You are loved.

You’re probably not an uber celebrity like Robin Williams, but this world would seriously not be the same without you. Do not give up without a fight!

“This pain that you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that is coming..” Romans 8:18

Need someone to talk to call 1-800-273-8255 or visit the suicidepreventionlifeline

Batter my heart

 
Sometimes I feel as though I’m caught in an existential funk, but I don’t know if that’s a problem. Questioning what purpose I may possess doesn’t seem to be the problem, the problem with my thinking at times seems to be pride.
Shortly after marrying my husband, I found myself in yet another counselor’s office trying to sift through my overwhelming feelings of depression. I didn’t really click with this counselor, and she was more concerned with talking about God’s grace as opposed to addressing my problems head on.
She was nice enough and seemed to care, but what she was saying were things I had heard my whole life. I didn’t want to be there, and I begrudging went each week to appease my husband. I was in a program that lasted for several weeks, and I would try to blaze through each section that I was supposed to complete just so I could be one week closer to the end.
Retrospectively, my problem at that time wasn’t really the depression, but pride. I thought that I had it all figured out and that I was too good for God’s grace, or at least the idea of it. I didn’t need to hear about what I already knew in my head, even though I desperately needed it to permeate my heart.
I finished this program with a sigh of relief, and never gave it much thought again until this morning. Often I fear asking the Lord to draw me closer because of what He may take away. I know that He is a jealous God, and doesn’t like other things in His place. I do want Him on His rightful throne in my heart, but at what cost?
Below is a sonnet that I originally read at least 12 years ago. Its words often echo in the back of my mind, especially in times such as this when I find myself wondering what I am supposed to be doing and longing to be close enough to His divine presence that I can feel His breath.
For the things that break your heart, may they also break mine too. Draw me ever nearer, nearer to you.
Batter My Heart, Three Person’s God (Holy Sonnet 14)
John Donne1572 – 1631
Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

I Resolve 2014

Reviewing my resolutions from last year, I must say that I kept more of them than not. That is quite the accomplishment for me considering I’m incredibly good at starting projects only to leave them incomplete.

This year I want to keep it simple. I have a half-year old, a stud husband, and a cozy mountain cottage to manage, and efficiency is my favorite way to do things. Therefore I need to be able to stretch myself but do so in a way that I won’t stress myself.

So here it goes.

I resolve….

To read, learn, and memorize as much as I can the words that Jesus spoke in the Bible.

To respect my husband more, dance with him more, read with him more, and focus more on him not just as the father of my child but as the lover of my lifetime.

To document my girl’s milestones, love on her more (done), and to learn more about being a parent from her and others and occasionally books.

To spend more time with family and friends.

To take more classes, get better at photography,  and to make things and sell them.

To get healthy. Bye-bye junky non-foods, hello nutritious real foods.

To run a race.

To perform on stage, not just singing but acting/dancing. It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve done this.

2013 was a wonderful year. I want to make this year even better.

Happy New Year!!!