robert and i have been married for 13 years now. it doesn’t seem possible that it’s been that long. when we were first married i didn’t expect or anticipate how much work goes into a loving and lasting marriage. i was definitely blinded by my feelings of wanting so badly to just be married. i think that’s pretty normal for any young bride. how can you know what to expect in a marriage when it’s all new. people tell you that marriage is hard work, but you don’t know exactly what that means until you are in the throws of the “hard work” that is your marriage.
robert and i have been through a lot. this is not evident in pictures, of course. i don’t post pictures of us arguing or having heated discussions about things. that would be weird. our marriage has definitely had many different seasons, but we committed to love each other on may 19, 2001 and love each other we will. that’s what we do. that doesn’t mean that i always feel loving towards him. sometimes i get mad, usually over stupid stuff, and sometimes he gets mad. sometimes we fight, but it doesn’t end there. i think when times are hard and life gets messy some couples decide that their marriage isn’t worth it or they aren’t willing to put forth the effort to work things out and love each other through it. they just call it quits throw in the towel and they’re out. if you commit to love your spouse then you have to actively love them. love is not a feeling it is an action. i’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it is so much the truth. the more i act like i love robert, the more i feel like i love robert. now, there has to be the initial physical and emotional attraction that got you into this in the first place, but those feelings won’t always be around. you can’t depend on feelings to make a marriage work.
one thing that has gotten better through our years together is our communication. i am able to talk to him much more effectively than i used to. i used to just let things kind of build up and eventually i would burst into a heap of anger, grief and tears. i still have times that i get very upset and don’t do this well, but i’m continuing to try to do better. i communicate with him much more calmly now than i used to. he knows that sometimes i need him to leave me alone to calm down before we talk things out. i know that sometimes i have to literally say to him, “i need you to not talk so that i can tell you everything that’s on my mind.” these are things that we’ve learned about each other and they didn’t happen over night. something that i struggle with is taking things too seriously. i have had to learn to lighten up about some things. robert and i are able to still laugh together and i love that about us. sometimes the stupidity of an argument is made so blatantly obvious through laughter. i am so thankful for a husband who still makes me laugh and realizes the importance of it in a marriage.
i will say that some of the rockiest times in our marriage have been after i have had babies. that will do a number on a marriage and most of that stems directly from the lack of sleep and the lack of intimacy. i have had such a hard time after each child and honestly it didn’t get completely better until i was done breastfeeding. i remember telling robert, “i want to want to, but i just don’t want to.” i was so exhausted and hormonal all of the time. robert has always been a champ with this, but i know it was not easy for him. in these seasons i prayed that the Lord would restore my desire for my husband. i read something that beth moore said that she had prayed for her marriage and i borrowed her words. i prayed that i would, “thrill to his touch.” i wanted that. i needed that. a marriage with no sex is a marriage that won’t last. God created us to be intimate with our husbands, it is a good thing. it is so apparent that we are our best selves and our marriage is at its best when our sex life is good. that’s how it is supposed to be. our marriage has to come before our children. that is so hard when you have a newborn or any age child for that matter. our kids love to snuggle up in our bed during the day or in the evenings, but at night our bed is for us. that doesn’t mean that there are never exceptions; like when someone has a bad dream or gets scared. we’ve also slept many nights with a baby in our bed for at least part of the night, but as a general rule our kids don’t sleep with us. i know that not everyone is going to agree with me about this and just because this is what is best for us doesn’t mean it’s the right or only way. the main thing is that our priority has to be Jesus, then our spouse, and then our children. it won’t work any other way.
robert and i had the opportunity to get away for a couple of nights this summer. it was wonderful to just be together, but i had such a hard time leaving the kids. i knew that we needed the time together and i wanted to go, but it was harder for me to leave them than i anticipated. i think part of it was that our baby was and still is nursing. it wasn’t easy to pump so that she would have milk while i was gone, but it was necessary. it was necessary for me to just be with my husband. we needed the time to be us. the fact that i had such a hard time leaving was in itself a clear sign that we needed this. in my mind our kids had begun to creep to center stage. that is dangerous ground for a marriage, but more importantly that is dangerous ground for my relationship with the Lord. anything that comes before Jesus, even my husband, is an idol. as wives and mothers i think that this is a daily battle. we have to keep our eyes on Jesus. we cannot do this wife and mom life on our own. we will fail. we need Jesus. the One who has kept robert and me strong and together is Jesus. Jesus first in every decision big or small. Jesus first in the morning for both of us. Jesus in all that we say and do. it’s all about Jesus. if there is any good in me, if there is any good in robert, if there is any good in us it’s because of Him. He is the most good.