Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What I Know Now: 9 Year Retrospective

This week my husband and I will celebrate 10 years of knowing one another and 9 years of marriage (yep, we had a whirlwind courtship and engagement - 364 days to be exact!). After 10 years, we know each other's stories, past hurts, and bugaboos, but that doesn't mean we don't trip over them, even still.

Most of you who have been following my blog know that we struggled to have a baby for 7 years. We looked that SOB, Infertility, in the eye together. Me in a paper gown much of the time, him with 3" needles aimed at my rear, but we did it. If I thought that would be the toughest test of the mettle of our relationship, I would be wrong. Our toughest challenge in marriage has been finding "us" after "we" became three. The silver lining of our 7 year trial on the way to baby, was that we had 7 years of just the two of us, and got spoiled by it. For us, marriage was pretty easy when we weren't sleep deprived, trying on the parenting hat for the first time, and struggling to find time to complete a sentence to one another without saying, "No sir, we do not put our toes in our food!"

I mean, get a load of these sweet, young, well-rested people!

5th Wedding Anniversary - Golden, CO
The last 20 months have been some of the most precious, challenging, joyful, and arduous moments of my life. I continue to struggle to find the balance between the different aspects of me (Wife, Mother, Daughter, Friend, Small Business Owner, Writer...) and I'm fairly certain there is no way for it to be done perfectly. I constantly feel like I'm sucking in at least one respect while excelling at others.

After 10 years building a life with this man, I know that marriage is not always easy and that as cliche as it may sound, communication is everything. Any time our relationship has felt strained, it has been because we haven't taken time to connect and communicate. When we make time to focus on our relationship and really talk about things, it's like someone flipped a pressure relief valve in our hearts and in our home. 

Any time I have been asked for marriage advice, I always impart the best advice we received. Ken and I were fortunate to have pre-marital counseling with our then pastor, Brad Cauley. In the last session before our wedding, Brad spent time talking to the two of us about the meaning of the word LOVE. He shared with us about the various words for love in Greek (EROS: romantic, sexual love, STORGE: natural affection between families, PHILEO: friendship, fondness, brotherly love, AGAPE: selfless, sacrificial love). Needless to say the english language has failed us mightily, leaving us with one four letter word to describe everything from how much I LOVE those cute booties, to how much I LOVE my spouse. Instead, Brad offered us a new definition for love in our marriage. He encouraged us to replace "love" with "I want to give you what you need, no matter the cost to myself." That is some big time love, y'all. It's sacrificial. It's putting your spouse first...but if you're both doing it, it's pretty amazing. We don't always hit this mark, but we continue to try.

We have recently made some big lifestyle changes. Ken is going back to school full time and we have substantially downsized our home and expenses. We are pursuing simplification, less stuff, and more memories. I'm excited to see where the next 10 years take us (Good lord, we'll have an almost 12 year old at our 20th anniversary!) This year we are celebrating with a sick toddler. Nothing says, I love you babe, like splitting leftovers by the cool mist of a humidifier, am I right? 

Today, while washing laundry in our semi-gutted kitchen/laundry room (don't worry, a how-to-remodel-a-60-year-old-home-without-killing-each-other blog will follow) I made my husband pinky swear that we will move forward in our next decade together knowing and letting go of the following:

  • My husband will leave clothes and shoes and the contents of his pockets where they may fall when he comes home. He will do these things and I will still love him. 
  • I will cook only the 4 dishes I'm actually good at and leave all other culinary decisions in his capable hands, because I am no cook, and don't really want to be. I will do this, and he will still love me.
After 10 years together and 9 years of marriage, I figured it was high time we gave one another the best anniversary gift possible. The gift of being ourselves, flaws and all, with the guarantee of love on the other end. 

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