I don’t usually use this space to talk about one of the most important, if not the most important, relationship in my life: the one I share with my husband. But after reading an article with 20 marriage advice tips circling on fb, I felt compelled to say something.
The article is wonderful and spot on. I agree with it wholeheartedly.
When I met my husband I was 22 years old. We were both young and carefree. We were both finishing up our last semesters of college. I’d just moved 1000 miles from home to the sunshine state and he was living it up in an apartment in Austin tx he shared with 2 friends. We didn’t yet have jobs or careers, we didn’t have children other than our dogs, we didn’t really have any bills. We were free to make the 700 mile drive to one another every weekend, then turn around and drive back. We were footloose and worry free.
When we got engaged I moved to Texas where we shared an apartment. We spent weekends hiking and exploring vineyards, camping out in Lost Maples and hiking Gudalupe Mountain. We had the world at our fingertips and no real responsibilities.
I was 23 when we both graduated, got married and shortly after found out we were expecting Jackson. We decided to move back to DC where we thought jobs would abound for a geography major and criminal justice major. So in 3 months time we went through some of life’s biggest moments, all at once: marriage, pregnancy, college graduation, job searching, cross country move. You can imagine how that affected our relationship. We were still very young, as was our relationship, and during our first year of marriage we struggled a lot with figuring out how to fit our lives together. We struggled with compromising, with forgivenes, with understanding that pregnancy hormones are very real and that marriage isn’t always a fairy tale every moment. Our first year we had more downs then ups and it almost cost us everything. There are times I look back on that year and I cringe. I am truly ashamed of who I was back then, of the petty fights we shared that seemed so monumental, that we ever let little things overshadow the big picture. But that first year, hard as it may have been, thrust us together and into a relationship that instead of shattering at the seams, came together and persevered stronger than ever.
Our second year of marriage we entered with a sigh of relief. We were older and wiser and had learned so much. We felt relieved to have overcome the first hurdle. We enjoyed our family of 3, soaked up every moment of our little boy and even found time for the two of us, taking dates to go on bike rides and runs. We fought much less as we learned how to communicate better, we loved deeper as we learned to forgive and forget and we became stronger as we realized that perfection is found in the imperfections, in accepting one another for every part of them. We thrived, we laughed, we loved, we lived. And we created another gorgeous little life.
Our third year of marriage we entered pregnant and with a vivacious toddler. Brys career was in the middle of a huge turning point, my pregnancy with Andrew was all but smooth and we had a lot of financial questions as Bry prepared to quit his job and make a huge career change. In March Bry went through some medical things that truly turned our world upside down. It broke me down, flipped me around and kicked me in the gut. At the same time I was 8 months pregnant experiencing preterm labor and we’d just discovered Andrew might have only one kidney and his surviving one showed Hydronephrosis and might require induction. All this while we were living on savings, both unemployed and still trying to raise a sweet little boy who had no idea what was transpiring. It was a time that easily could have driven us apart. It could have caused fighting and discourse, anger and distance out of fear. But instead it pushed us further together. At each step we looked at one another, kissed and held each other and simply said “we’ve got this”. And we did.
It was the hardest year of our life, but as I remind myself daily, especially in the moments I’m thrust back to some of those times that literally leave me breathless in utter fear, it could be so much worse. No family should have to endure what we’ve had to, but there are many that experience much worse and who aren’t as lucky. We are blessed, we are strong and we have and will always have one another.
This is my long way of saying no one and no relationship is perfect. You don’t marry someone and all the problems dissipate, all the flaws disappear and the marriage is a smooth ride until the end. It will always have it’s ebbs and flows, always have disagreements and arguments, always take work. But that’s what makes a great relationship, growing with one another, truly becoming a team, learning how to balance your individuality with your partnership. And in the end it’ll be worth it all because what you get in return is absolutely beautiful.