Friday, September 18, 2015

Marriage is Tough

I've made no secret about the rough time that our marriage underwent after JaiseAnn was born. Some of it was fighting. I felt at times that Zach and I were at odds--specifically in regards to me feeling like I had enough support--particularly in the sleep department. But our biggest struggle in our marriage wasn't that we weren't getting along, it was just that life was hard. 

marriage is hard

Our budget changed, our circumstances changed, our schedules changed, we had changed. And while I feel strongly that we are better as parents and that we are very compatible parents, it was still just really hard. There was a constant unsurety of what was next for us and how we would continue functioning with me staying home financially. The financial changes were harder for me to accept. I had a harder time with no funds to buy clothes or makeup and I had a harder time looking ahead to the future because the present was just so incredibly hard. Add that to a severe lack of sleep and a different approach to parenting than I saw coming and things at times looked bleak. 

I remember discussing finances with Zach one night and tried to talk about the future. I finally said through tears, "This is so hard. I'm so tired of fighting. I'm mentally and physically exhausted." It wasn't that Zach and I were fighting each other--we were battling life together. And while marriage is strength among many other things, I had just grown tired of what our marriage had become--a battle against life. 

Now that I have this new opportunity and we are night-weaning JaiseAnn, life is a different kind of hard, but there's hope.  Zach and I have fewer conversations about finances and sleep issues and more conversations about things we're doing in our jobs and the things I'm learning in school. And it's been nice to breath a bit. To come out from the struggle.

It's also given me a new perspective on marriage. So many people warn how "tough" marriage is. That usually is talking about how hard it is to be married. But I think I have a new perspective on marriage being tough--I like to think of marriage as resilient. When you put two people together with shared goals and dreams--and add a commitment to each other and family--that marriage can withstand some major things. It's not fun, but boy am I grateful that there is a time and a season to everything. And that the when the season of our marriage playing the tough guy ends, we emerge a bit stronger, with a bit more perspective than before. 

While I heavily support things that help nurture and grow a marriage--date nights, family dinners, working towards common goals, etc.  Romance and quality time have their time and place. But there are also times when marriage is tough...not because it's hard to work through, but because the marriage is doing the work. Marriage is strong and can be so much more than the delicate flower we think it is.

I have learned that if in the-not-so-tough seasons we care for and nuture our marriages, they will be strong enough to withstand those tough seasons--whether the marriage is tough or life is tough or a little bit of both. I am grateful that we had a strong foundation before kids and I am grateful to see the fun side of marriage emerging for us once again--with a bit more perspective and a lot more appreciation for all of it. 

How do you feel about the notion that marriage is 'tough?" How do you nurture your marriage or deal with those periods of difficulty in your marriage? 

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