Monday, March 16, 2015

We're Not Exactly Newlyweds Anymore

We don't get as many wedding invitations as we once did...we are getting older and most of our friends are in the "having kids" stage of life. We are Mormon, though, and that means that there's always someone getting married--older couples' kids, sisters/brothers of people we know, friends of friends, etc. And it means that we can still expect a few wedding invitations each year.

Our first invitation of "wedding season" came in the mail over the weekend. As I looked over the card, I remembered how I used to obsess over engagement pictures. I would imagine that the couples must have felt like they were just on the beginning of the best parts of their life. When Zach and I got engaged, I did feel that way. And then after we got married, it was solidified: Marriage is awesome. Being a newlywed was the best thing ever. 

Enjoying your spouse

My marriage still is the best thing ever, but the reasons why have changed. I think marriage gets a bad rap sometimes because once people move beyond the newlywed stage the things that did make their marriage so awesome, might fade to give way to different things that can be just as incredible. Phrases like, "Honeymoon's over!" and "Ah! Life before kids, enjoy it now!" are heard all.the.time. I think people spend too much time mourning the loss of the great aspects of the last stage their marriage was in to enjoy the blessings and good that can be found in the new stage. 

When Zach and I were first married, life was incredible. We went to sharing our entire home together overnight. While there are adjustments to make--there is so much fun to be had. Eating dinner together each night, seeing each other and not having to say "goodbye" at the end of the night, starting your own hobbies and traditions at home and more. I loved nothing more than knowing at the end of the day we each knew where we were headed--home. And we were headed to each other. That feeling was one of the sweetest blessings of new marriage to me.

We spent our newlywed days finding television shows, having sleepovers in the living room, taking our dog for walks, and discovering new things we enjoyed doing together. 

Not long after we were married, we started experiencing what has seemed to be an ongoing car trouble situation. And I learned that marriage was a blessing because two people bring two different strengths to the table. As I have always been prone to worry, it was incredible to feel not alone in this worry. I knew that this situation wasn't mine but ours and that really helped take the weight off my shoulders. Where I worried, Zach was calm. He helped me to feel safe and secure and I loved marriage for the blessings of forging a partnership.

After Zach graduated from school I thought, "Finally, we will have a consistent schedule and time together!" Wrong. Zach's next move career-wise was a promotion at work that had him working the night shift. His weekends were Sunday/Monday/Tuesday and mine were Saturday/Sunday. We worked completely opposite shifts. And I learned that marriage was a blessing because you make it work. We still found ways to find a pattern, time for date night, and time for each other. Things weren't ideal, but we went with it because ultimately it was best for our family and our future.  While the days on the living room floor seemed a bit of a distant memory, we still found our way.

Sometime during all of that, I got pregnant and lost that baby. And I learned that marriage was a blessing because I had someone who took such incredibly good care of me through that time. It was actually a sacred time in our marriage and I am grateful for what it taught us about wanting to be parents and loving each other through the really ugly hard things.

When I got pregnant with JaiseAnn we experienced the pregnancy as "together" as possible. Zach went with me to every appointment, changing his schedule when necessary--though I never asked him to. He developed relationships with the midwives and had his favorite. Instead of spending our time playing card games and going on dates--we spent it preparing for the arrival of our baby and many times date night was childbirth class as Zach was still working nights. 

JaiseAnn was born and I realized how amazing marriage is because it can lead to the incredible blessing of family. I also learned how special it is to know that Zach loves JaiseAnn like I love JaiseAnn--it's something only the two of us know. Instead of camping out on the living room floor, we sit down on the floor and play with JaiseAnn before dinner and bed together each night. It's one of my favorite parts of the day. We share glances at each other and stifle laughs when she's being naughty but it's too funny, we laugh at her, and we try to teach her things together. We love her together...and that is so incredible.

Being a newlywed with Zach was great. Being a parent with Zach is phenomenal. Being married is the best!

My marriage as a newlywed wasn't great due to camp outs and funny memories--it was great because we were friends and we entered into an eternal commitment that meant we would go through many seasons of life together. Marriage is great because it's meant to evolve. It's meant to take you through life--all of it--the good, the bad, the ugly, and the changes with a best friend by your side.

How do you feel about the evolution of marriage? Do you think it gets a bad rap sometimes? Do you see these changes in your own relationship? What are some things you enjoy now that you didn't enjoy in the previous stage of your marriage?

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