Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marriage Is Hard... and Wonderful

As we're approaching Tracey Ann's first birthday, Hubby and I both agree this has been the fastest year of our lives.  No question.  Raising a child makes time fly.

As I reflect on this year, I, obviously, adore our daughter and am so proud and joyful about the little girl she is becoming, but I think more than that, I find myself reflecting on Hubby and my marriage and the changes the marriage has had to withstand in the past 12 months.

Adding a baby to a marriage is not a bad thing... it's a wonderful thing, but it's a hard thing.  I can't pinpoint the "one" thing about having a baby that changes a marriage, but the simple fact is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  Adding a baby to marriage is more complicated than two plus one makes three.

By adding a baby to our marriage --
  • our differences were made new, again -- the differences that we brought into the marriage and had spent the last 2.5 years learning to handle, now were back, and bigger than ever
  • our selfishness was realized -- speaking just for Hubby and myself, I think neither of us realized how selfish we were allowed to be as married adults without children.  We really made our own rules and ran our own show -- no longer once our baby arrived
  • our ways of coping with stress were revealed, and we were made to cooperate as we worked as a team to keep our infant healthy and happy
  • our time together was shortened, interrupted, or utterly nonexistent for long stretches of time (remember how I said time flies)
  • little annoyances that were "no big deal" during the first few years of marriage became a very big deal because of outside, stressful factors, and lack of sleep
All of this to say, it became clear to me, during our first few months as parents that when Tracey Ann was born, we did not just get a new job as parents, our marriage would require additional work as well.

Having said all that, this has been a WONDERFUL year.  As I look back, and take stock of the year -- highs and lows and in-betweens, I am so happy, and I'm so proud of the effort that both Chris and I have put into our relationship to make our marriage stronger than ever.

This year, I learned that one of my love languages is Words of Affirmation.  I never thought it was -- after reading the book a few years ago, I thought my love languages were Quality Time and Physical Touch.  Maybe they are... but I REALLY feel loved through Words of Affirmation.  This year, I have had to learn to communicate that to my Hubby, so that he can know what I am needing to hear.  My wonderful Hubby deserves so much credit, because he has listened attentively and made a pointed effort to love me in this way ever since.
With both of us working full-time, a lot of communication and planning needs to occur to keep our schedules straight and make sure that Tracey Ann is always cared for.  We have both had to step-up our communication efforts, and plan in advance in order to be considerate of our spouse and intentional with our time.

 If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you that after 2.5 years of marriage, we had really hit a good stride.  Then, if you had asked me again in the Spring, Summer, or Fall of last year -- in the months prior to and following our third anniversary, I would have told you, our "stride" was gone... we were adjusting to being married parents.  Now, with 3.5 years under our belt, I can happily report, that, once again, our stride is back, and we really have a good system in place.

I'm sure there will continue to be ebbs and flows, and that is to be expected.  We have found that a big key for us is to keep working on the marriage.  Yes, there are times when we can give it more attention than others, but it needs to be a continued project to maintain open communication, to intentionally love one another and display that love, and to prioritize our time together as husband and wife as much as we prioritize our time with our daughter

No doubt about it, marriage is hard... and wonderful. 
I love you, Babe.

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