Category Archives: Marriage

On the eve of maternity leave’s end

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There is deep sadness. Sadness over having to leave my babies with someone else to go to work. Sadness at the thought of not seeing their sweet faces all day long.

There is fear. Fear of failure at my job as a teacher. Fear of missing out on priceless moments of my children’s early years while trying to educate teenagers who could NOT care less.

There is anxiety. Anxiety over whether my littlest will take bottles at daycare. Anxiety over how the sitter will cope with his constant crying that is only soothed by walking him around. Anxiety because of the distinct  possibility of him crying ALL night long during our first week with both of us back at school (teething is no fun, people).

I wonder, have I adequately cherished these months of mothering? Was I wrong on the days I wanted nothing more than to get away from my kids for a few hours? Did those moments mean I’m undeserving of these sweet little kiddos?

Now that my time as a SAHM is ending, I find myself trying to hold my children even tighter and keep them up later, letting them read the dino book “one more time” (translation: three more times minimum).  I don’t want to let them go. When we finally put the baby to bed after seemingly endless rocking and nursing, I find myself still wanting to hold on longer, admiring the curves of his sweet chubby face, peaceful in sleep.

I am grateful. Grateful for nearly six full months immersed in mothering my two-year-old and his new baby brother. Grateful for the countless afternoon naps with a baby in my arms. Grateful for the wakeful nights when sleep eluded us. Grateful for the deepened bond I’ve gained with my firstborn son. Grateful for the way his relationship with his brother is blossoming. Grateful for the trips to the playground, the visits with family, the lazy afternoons splashing in the kiddie pool. Grateful for my husband having the summer off as well, so we could all be together.

Yes, I am grateful, but I will shed more than a few tears tonight, tomorrow, and in the days to come. How could anyone not, when saying goodbye to these precious little guys?

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The magic engagement number

Maybe you’ve read the recent blog post by a young lady entitled “23 things to do instead of getting engaged before you’re 23” (or something along those lines).

The title caught my attention.  I thought I’d be reading a happy-go-lucky post focused on the fun stuff singles can do more easily than marrieds.

Instead, the author quickly digresses into a bitter diatribe (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase) against marriage and anyone who dares to tie the knot in their early twenties.

She claims brazenly that she has already experienced more of the world in her 22 years than her married friends will.  EVER.  In their ENTIRE lives.  All right, so she’s traveling in China right now.  Big deal.

She reassures herself that nothing is wrong with her for being single at this point in her life (totally in agreement on that) by stating that her married friends will soon be pregnant and fat.  What a sweet friend she must be.

She calls marrying young a “cop-out” for those who are too scared to face life alone.  Okay, honey, you need to talk to some married folks and see whether marriage really made their lives easier.  Some things are easier with a spouse, definitely (my husband always takes care of snow blowing the driveway and fixing things around the house).  Some parts of life are much more difficult.  Blending two lives into one is no easy task.

I truly want to believe this girl had good intentions in writing this post, and simply got carried away, not realizing the utter rudeness and lack of respect for others her comments displayed.

I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and try to express what I’d like to think this girl actually meant to convey:

Marriage is a huge commitment and should never be entered into lightly or without serious consideration.  Perhaps she does (or more accurately, did, now that she’s insulted them all) have lots of friends who approach marriage as simply a way to get an extravagant party with the perfect dress, followed by a houseful of trendy new gadgets from her gift registry.  If that’s why you’re getting married, it’s simply not going to cut it.

Another point I assume she was trying to make: society can be way too judgmental when we don’t follow standard timelines for when we reach certain milestones.  Maybe she has been asked too many times, “So when are you going to settle down?” or has received one too many pitying looks from her engaged or married friends.  It gets old, it really does.  Whether a young single person is longing for marriage or perfectly content to remain single (for a few years or permanently), these questions and attitudes are frustrating.

The saddest aspect of this article, to me, is the general disrespect of marriage that is conveyed.  Although the author claims, in the beginning, that she does want to get married, someday, every other bit of her writing says exactly the opposite.

If she genuinely believes that married people can never “experience” the world the way she wants to, then why get married at all?

I personally have found that marriage can in fact be filled with amazing experiences!  My husband and I travel a lot: we’ve been to Jamaica, France, Spain, and Myrtle Beach in just three and a half years.   We’ve also experienced the gut-wrenching pain of miscarriage, eventually followed by the unimaginable joy of welcoming our precious son into the world.  It’s already been incredible, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in the years to come.

Life does not stop when you walk down that aisle.  Other than the several rather promiscuous activities she includes, most of the things on her list are perfectly  doable within a marriage.  You can still travel, take risks, try new challenges, together.  

Yes, some things are just more complicated when married.  You have to make decisions that include another human being, not just yourself.   It’s not so easy to take a spontaneous vacation or move cross-country.  It doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

There are some experiences this girl will never have as long as she is single, and some singleton experiences those of us who are married won’t have either.  Both lifestyles involve choices.  Neither is inherently superior to the other.

On my wedding day, I was twenty-nine.  Was this because I had to “find myself” before giving up all my independence and adventurousness?  No.  I  quite simply didn’t have the right person in my life until then.  Both of us encountered some bumps in the road.  I would have loved to meet him when I was twenty-two, but that wasn’t our journey.  I watched a ton of my friends get married right out of college, and they’re all still together and happy.  I’ll admit I was certainly envious at times, but not once did I ever feel that my friends were “copping out” or “settling” by marrying young.

Marriage is a covenant to do life together.  Can single people lead fulfilled and adventurous lives?  Absolutely!  Can married people do the same?  Without a doubt!  I love being married.  I love my husband, I love making plans and decisions as a team, and I love that we’re building a family together.  Whatever the timing of any relationship, it’s all about what’s right for those two people.  There is no arbitrary number for success or failure of a marriage.

How not to treat your wife

If this title scares you, don’t worry; this will not be a rant against my husband.  Even if I did have that sort of anger boiling up within me, this would not be the appropriate place for that discussion.

Besides, my husband could teach a lot of guys a thing or two about building a strong relationship.  I look around at other couples and think, Wow, I am so lucky!

After following The Amazing Race’s most recent season, I’ve collected some pointers for any single guy looking to get married in the near future.  Inspired by Travis, the hotshot E.R. doctor, these tips are absolutely meant to be taken seriously.

Number One: Do not get involved with your subordinate.  Nicole and Travis met when she was doing her residency under his leadership.  They apparently have never escaped that teacher-student dynamic.  She continues to see him as her superior in every way, not only in their medical careers.  This creates a ton of problems for their relationship.  During several legs of the race, she cowered under his domineering personality. If you cannot treat your partner as your equal, then perhaps you should reconsider the wisdom of the relationship.

Number Two: Do not delude yourself into believing that you are always right.  This reverts back to #1.  Yes, there are probably areas in which you will excel.  However, there are also areas in which your wife will excel.  She might even (gasp) be better than you in some areas!  For a successful relationship and marriage, it is essential that you recognize your own fallibility.  The season finale was incredibly irritating because Travis could not admit, even for a second, that occasionally he might not be perfect.  Everything that went wrong for them was her fault.

Number three: Do not verbally or emotionally abuse your wife.  Travis criticized his wife and harped so relentlessly on her shortcomings that she only became more agitated, therefore making more mistakes.  You know what, buddy?  It’s okay to get frustrated when things aren’t going your way, but it’s not okay to assume you absolutely could have done any better on a task than your wife.

Many variables can affect the outcome of each leg of the race.  Who knows?  Perhaps it was your negative attitude and not-so-subtle disparagement of your wife that actually lost you the race.  Maybe if you had tried being supportive of Nicole while she was struggling, rather than making her feel worse about it, she might have remained calmer and finished her tasks more quickly.

Single guys, look at how the winning team played: they were kind and generous to one another and even to all the other teams.  They supported one another and praised each other’s strengths rather than criticizing their weaknesses.  Nice guys don’t always finish first, but they did this time around.  By avoiding the mistakes Travis made, you could gain a wonderful, amazing marriage.

That’s worth so much more than a first-place finish in The Amazing Race.  Yep, I’d even say it’s worth much more than a million-dollar prize.