Posts Tagged With: husband

Eight Years

A few years ago I met a friend at the park. While our kids played, we chatted about life, about our crazy mornings with getting kids out the door, about the tantrum at the library and the embarrassing twenty minute serenade of Old McDonald in the stall of the Target bathroom. All those topics moms chat about when they get together. Then the conversation shifted. “I was just reading a study,” she started in, “about how the more children a married couple has, the more marital dissatisfaction they will experience. And three kids is where the greatest decline in happiness was seen.” Little did my friend know that we were expecting baby number three.

My husband and I recently celebrated eight years. I will always remember the first time he said the “L” word. It was evening and we had gone on a hike up a local canyon. At the top of the mountain he pulled out a blanket and his little pocket PC (years before ipods and ipads and smart phones and all those gadgets were invented) and we watched October Sky under the October sky. We could hear elk bugling and the stars were so bright. I was too terrified to say it back that night, but I thought it, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

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I fell in love with my husband for so many reasons. It wasn’t just the fun, creative dates he thought up like our October sky or the fine china and oatmeal he brought along on a Saturday morning hike. Although they certainly helped. He was kind and thoughtful, he was fun and smart. He made me smile, and I wanted to be with him forever.

IMG_0240pre-wedding 079Fast forward eight years. After yet another night of our crazy whirlwind routine of nagging to get three roudy boys in PJ’s, reading some Dr Seuss, brushing teeth, making bathroom stops, prayers, back rubs, songs and kisses, I stood at the sink rinsing dishes. That man I married eight years prior stood next to me with a towel, drying each pot and pan. The glamor of that October Sky seemed so long ago. Those butterflies, that nervous feeling when he took my hand. Suddenly that conversation with the friend at the park years ago came flooding back to my mind. It hit me that in the eight years we have been married, I have been pregnant or nursing a baby for SEVEN of them (crazy, right??). That’s four anniversaries that have come and gone while I’ve sported a tummy the size of a watermelon. 120 accumulated pounds gained and lost (more or less). Holding my hair back as I sat on the tile floor in the bathroom waiting for the next wave of morning sickness to hit more times than he probably wants to remember. Six-and-a-half years of diapers. Two houses bought, one sold, four moves. Countless temper tantrums, many sleepless nights rocking a baby, definitely not enough Saturday mornings of sleeping in.

And three (almost four) of the most incredible miracles we have ever witnessed. And we witnessed them together.

IMG_3720And while we stood there sharing those pots and pans, recounting the funny things the kids said that day, our worries about M starting kindergarten, about work, about all that accompanies that mundane married life we share with our little boys, I realized my love for that man had changed. Three (almost four) kids and all that stress, chaos, and craziness it brings later, I wasn’t dissatisfied. I was filled. I was filled with awe at the father than man had become. I thought about how I fall in love again with my husband every day when I see him wrap his arms around our three little boys. When I hear them ask me, over and over and over and over again, “When is Dad gonna be home?” When he tickles them and wrestles them to the ground, when he hits them with pillows and elicits giggles as he chases them around the dining room table. When he gears them up with work gloves and somehow miraculously motivates three eager helpers to pull weeds around the house. When he talks in his best pirate voice and six blue eyes are fixated on the colorful illustrations on the pages in his lap. I fall in love again and again when I see him being a dad to the boys we get to share together. It’s an entirely different kind of love. Having children hasn’t wrecked our marriage, it’s made it so much more. I had no idea eight years ago that this is what I would be capable of feeling for that man I married.

HPIM1548  IMG_0380 I realized that over the eight years we have shared as a married couple, I don’t love him like I did then. It just isn’t the same as it used to be. It’s no longer about two, it’s about SIX. It isn’t just about a husband and wife, it’s about a mom and dad. It’s seeing him, that man I fell in love with over eight years ago and promised to spend eternity with being a man far greater than I could have ever imagined. It’s waking up in the morning and feeling so grateful to be next to him, loving him, raising our boys. Together. And it is amazing.

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Then…

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…And now

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“Marriage is more than your love for each other. … In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations…” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Categories: Family, Marriage | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

And They Lived Happily Ever After (why marriage has been worth all the work)

This past weekend my husband and I loaded up our car with snacks, games, books, and music and buckled our kids in their car seats for a nine-hour drive. Our boys could hardly contain their excitement to play with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, and grandpas. This wasn’t just any visit either. My brother-in-law was getting married, and my boys were getting a new aunt! The beginning of Uncle J and Aunt M’s ever after. We were all thrilled to share in their love and excitement. The handsome couple could certainly rival that of any fairy tale. Love radiated from them the entire day and everything about the wedding seemed picture perfect.

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In all of the tradition that comes with weddings, I was reminded over and over that tying the knot comes with plenty of advice. Everyone knows the secret to a successful marriage and is eager to share it with the new couple. As I watched guests spill their wise words onto the pages of the guest book, pull the newly-weds aside to inform them of what is to come, and slip it in with their congratulations at the mic at the family dinner, I was reminded of the same advice my husband and I received years ago when we were the ones starting out.

“Never go to bed mad.”

“Go to bed mad because everything always seems better in the morning.”

“Always talk things through, don’t bottle them up inside.”

“Some things are better left unsaid.”

“Always assume the best in each other.”

“Put your spouse and his/her needs above your own.”

“Make sure to find time and do things for yourself.”

At the time those years ago I felt bombarded with news of this doomsday that inevitably would happen. We would fight. That’s what everyone said, and I hated to hear it! Here we were, newly-weds, so in love. In my little naive mind that was just NOT going to happen. Not to us, not never. I’d found my prince charming and we were headed off into the sunset of our “happily ever after” and all anyone could tell us was, “Congratulations! Now brace yourself. Things are going to get rough.” I just didn’t want to believe it.

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It took about a month or two before it was clear to my husband that he didn’t marry a Rachael Ray, and maybe a week longer for me to discover my sweet husband was no “Chef Fantastico” himself. He hogged the covers at night, I fell asleep mid-sentence, and we both totally disagreed on what time the alarm needed to go off. I was always running late, he was always 15 minutes early, I asked too many questions, he didn’t ask the right ones, he drank whole milk and I was used to skim, and (worst of all) he liked vanilla ice cream flavors over the triple-ripple-fudgy-oooy-gooy-chocolate flavors I preferred. We had a few late-night discussions, a disagreement or two.  Dog-gone-it, all those well-meaning, kind, thoughtful people concerned for our future were right.

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During the family dinner this past weekend my mother-in-law shared a great quote with the lovely couple. “Marriage is two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.” That first year of marriage (and every year since) happened to be just that for us. It was a year of sacrifice and learning, of compromise and forgiveness. My dear husband, after two summers of lessons (even a solo flight) and a lifetime of dreaming, postponed working to get his pilot license. I no longer took trips up the canyon to go snowboarding every weekend after class. We bought two percent milk, worked together to develop some sort of cooking skills, and agreed on vanilla ice cream with the fudgey ribbon in it. I learned to live with a cover hog and he grew to accept only hearing half of a story before I fell asleep.

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Truth is we still are learning, sacrificing, and compromising. Always trying to forgive, cause both of us mess up. A lot. It might take an eternity for us to truly understand each other and get it right. Somehow in my little world of fairy tale weddings and happily ever afters back then I thought if we didn’t always see eye-to-eye, if we had disagreements, or if we got upset, we must not love each other. I’ve thankfully learned over the years that nothing could be further from the truth.

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The events of Saturday were dear to my husband and me for more personal reasons than just our loved ones getting married. Nine years ago we started our “forever” in that same town. We drove by where we met. We took the kids on campus (we were young and in college back then). We walked by the building where I first saw my husband holding hands with another girl right after we met and nearly lost hope. We walked by spots we liked to study together, around the park where he first held my hand, by our first home, up the hill that we’d ride our bikes, down the field to where we played ultimate frisbee and on to where we cheered at many basketball games. We drove through the canyon where we spent many days hiking and exploring and many nights counting stars. So many memories! I wouldn’t dream of  trading those wonderful times for all the late night discussions, all the silly arguments, and all the sacrifices we had to make. Those sweet moments amidst the more tough ones, that’s what marriage is all about.

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seven years and three kids later…

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Aggies all the way, go Aggies, go Aggies, hay hay hay!

We are certainly no experts. Just two very imperfect people working hard to make it last. But in our short experience, marriage has been about sacrifice, forgiveness, and unconditional love. It’s a journey that always presents new challenges, new experiences, new blessings, and surprises. Marriage is most certainly not without hard work, but I would never, ever go back. So, for what it’s worth, this is our sometimes frustrating, occasionally exasperating, unclear, trying, wonderful, sweet, worth-every-minute, happily ever after.

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Categories: Marriage | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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