Saturday, April 16, 2011

Married with Kids

I never really watched the show by that title, but I did see bits and pieces of a few of the episodes, though I don't remember much. However, I know the premise was that marriage gets crazy, harder and/or more challenging once kids enter the picture. Marriage is never easy and always takes work. But kids take all that to the next level.

I realized that I write a lot about our kids and our adventures in parenthood, but never about our marriage. Yet, our marriage is supposed to be the foundation of our families. So, in effort to continue my challenge to myself to remove my mask and be more real with you and the world around me, I am also going to try and write more about marriage. My marriage as well as my observations about the state of marriage in our culture, with the hope that these more real posts will help and encourage you in your marriage or future marriage.  (In NO WAY is my intention to make anyone feel bad about their marriage. So please forgive me if anything I write offends!)

Sooo, this May 19th, Chris and I will celebrate our 10th year of marriage. (10 years! That makes me feel OLD!!! )  I am trying for figure out how time has passed so quickly!!! Oh yeah, 4 kids might have something to do with it!! But, it has not all been "happily ever after."

We did have a great example in Chris' parents, however. Their marriage was a model of real love. Real love is the kind that isn't fickle. The kind that survives the storms and thrives on the sunny days. The kind in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  But learning how to navigate the waters of marriage on our own has taken time and patience!  And we have by no means perfected it. It is an on-going process.

There is one thing we have learned and accomplish most of the time, and that is what I want to share with you today: We are committed to putting our marriage first. With kids, that gets tough for two reasons:

1- When you have kids, you are always tired. This constant state of exhaustion I live in tends to make me selfish. I often find myself trying to figure out "when do I get to rest?" But, we committed each put each other first. So, despite my exhaustion, I have to try to think of Chris and his needs before my own. Some days, I left him sleep in or take a nap, so HE can rest and recover. Then some days he lets me sleep in or take a nap. We also share the housework, considering it helping the other so it doesn't all fall on just one of our shoulders. But putting the other first can be especially hard during an argument, but eventually one of us "gives in" and apologizes. When he does it first, it makes me feel loved and grateful and remorseful over the fight we were having. So when I remember this, I make sure to return the favor after the next fight. It is hard to swallow your pride and be the first one to apologize or initiate the make-up. But it never fails to make the other feel loved, and isn't that the goal?

2- TIME! there is never enough!! However, it is IMPERATIVE that parents make time for each other!   We make it a goal to have a date night at least once a month. Finding a sitter can get challenging! But the benefits of together time and real conversations without interruptions is very worth it!

Try it sometime. Put your spouse before yourself and see what happens. And make time for a date night, and see what happens.

PS: What have you found to be a secret to a successful marriage? Is there something you wish you could change/do better? I have a list I could share (and probably will one day)! Let's take off our masks and be real and help each other improve our marriages!

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