It’s been quite a while since I have been here to write. Many things have popped up over the course of the year, but namely it was my first year of marriage distracting me.
So many things can happen in that first year. For some, it is a whirlwind of fantasy and honeymooning. For others, it’s a huge adjustment to move in together and blend lives. For other groups, there’s really no change at all. There are also those who live with, what I would say settle for, just a boring ordinary existence where there’s neither magic or hard times to work through.
For me, holy moly, it felt like a whirlwind of disaster.
We had previously lived together, neither of us having it as our first marriage. We honestly weren’t sure if we would ever actually marry again. Time moved on, hearts became over flowing with love, and a proposal came. During our engagement we were so into our relationship and love for one another, focusing on family and friends and helping them to believe and understand the depth of our feelings and commitment. We had our fantasy wedding, in a barn; and our fantasy reception, with a taco bar and margaritas being served up at the bar. We even had an ice cream truck, it was a surreal day!
The next day we woke up exhausted. His kids had started the long journey back to Texas, after helping get things in order and celebrating with us, my feet looked like they had been through a blender, our whole bodies ached, our heads were pounding and our house was a disaster from all of the left over decorations, cake, food, and drink. We also had a big stack of gifts staring at us, our friends and family were so kind, we asked for nothing but cards.
But, our hearts were full.
Moving right along, real life set in. I fell with some odd illness symptoms and ended up being quite sick for quite a long time without anyone being able to tell me what was wrong. Months of tests, new doctors, trying different solutions, and going through the most extreme emotional ups and downs. During this phase, I made my husband and two boys feel inadequate, unattended, under appreciated, and sometimes my foul mood would down right make them feel horrible. Shame on me. I wasn’t aware while it was happening how difficult it was to deal with me or live with me, I was doing my best to cope with my situation and it wasn’t easy.
While all of that was going on, my husband started self medicating his distaste for my new health issues, but mostly my depression and moodiness, with alcohol. He’s never been much of a drinker, but when you’re doing everything you can to make someone feel better and care for them, but they are becoming beyond what you can help, you just want to do something to help you relax and feel better. And so began the drinking of 2019.
This all snow balled and snow balled until we were both so resentful with each other that we really had nothing left to be able to talk about with any sort of joy. I was miserable inside my body and complaining too much, he was miserable in our relationship and felt that I was unreachable, un-help-able, and had gone to a dark enough place that the sunlight never even peaked out anymore; and he felt helpless, eventually hopeless.
Things seemed to climax when we had a huge falling out and argument at a family event. He left drunk and angry and I stayed sobbing and hurt. From that, we took some time, days apart. I was already doing everything I could with doctors to take care of my physical health, but I realized then that I was not taking care of my mental health. He had some realizations about the way that it felt to be me and became sympathetic and understanding. We both had a list of things that we needed from each other and we both agreed to do our best to communicate better and work through it.
Following that, we had some counseling, a formal counselor and family and friends. Both of us would go through stints where we tried very hard, but would then get frustrated, blow up, and then shut down… just then the other would kick up efforts, try really hard, be met with resistance, blow up, and then shut down.
Our timing was off, or was it. Or were we keeping each other at arms reach intentionally? I mean, we’d both been married before, we’d both rebuilt from nothing to have a successful and wonderful life alone. Did we just have our guards up, keeping us from happiness, all because of FEAR? All because we were afraid of being HURT and wanted to beat the other to the punch?
This pattern continued for a while, more blow ups, more drinking, more depression, more bad decisions.
Why in the world did we get married?
I’ll tell you why!
During those months of pain, there were also great things happening. During those trials, old ways and patterns had been shattered and new were able to emerge. We were in control of what emerged, but didn’t take it seriously enough to blossom our marriage into something beautiful instead of miserable.
We had blessings abound swirling around us. Our home was lovely. We both had stellar jobs and were getting promoted and raises, we both were able to work remotely and spend as much or as little time at home, together, with our family, or not… it was up to us! We had beautiful children, were relationships had previously been challenges, were now strong and positive. We were surrounded by supportive family and friends. Doctor’s were finally making progress on detecting and treating what was failing in my body. The therapist told us how much love and admiration he could see between us and we needed to find a way to nurture that. And even while all of the bad was happening, this was still the man I loved the most. The man I wanted by my side forever.
Eventually, after enough hurtful and rage filled events, divorce was on the table. My husband rented a room, he moved out of the house. Our hearts were broken, we felt empty, it seemed unfixable. It seemed like there was no way to get our timing right, to get on the same page. We needed to talk, we needed to listen, we needed to understand both sides and each other’s points of view. We needed to forgive. We needed to rebuild trust. Most of all, we both needed to want this and we both needed to work for it together with God.
And you know what, we did!
So here we are, a few month post him moving back in. We have hardly had a disagreement, let alone an argument. We listen first and talk second, we seek to understand and not to judge, we seek to ask questions and no make assumptions, we decided to always think the person is coming from a place of love when we are addressed, we talk about the hard things, the embarrassing things, the proud and ugly things, we talk about it all. We are in this together and as long as we keep our deepest selves vulnerable and available, there is no room for resentment. Through this we have rebuilt trust and I’d say that we are stronger now that I ever though two people could be. We can weather anything.
One month from now, we will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary! I’m thrilled that we made it. I’m thankful for the man that I married and the couple that we have become. I’m proud of my family and home life. I’m thankful for my health, but also understanding that mental health and the way we treat others when we are struggling matters.
I am thankful, I am happy, and I am married!