I’ve had writers block for this installment of #nakedmoms for almost a month now. I’m finding it impossible to write about my relationship with my husband as it is the one private aspect of my life I don’t share details of very often on this blog. It’s not that anything is particularly bad or not worth sharing, there are so many times I’d love to share all of the good things- but my husband is (ironically) a private and reserved man and I try to respect that. Unfortunately for him, he happened to marry a girl as open as they come 😉 willing to write her life out online for other people to read. I’d like to try to write a little bit more about my marriage and the things I go through- because as a wife and a mother I think that is sometimes what I crave most. Connecting with other women, honestly, about BEING MARRIED.
Another lifetime ago, at my of-the-moment-job , I had the distinct and random pleasure of assisting an elderly couple in buying a polo shirt for their grandson. For a store normally swarming with self absorbed young people, it was pleasant and refreshing to shout over the music at two reasonable adults. It was these two adults, in fact, who informed me that Brandon was, indeed, a keeper and asked if we were dating yet. I remember blushing and laughing in that awkward way girls do when they are nervous. We definitely weren’t dating. He was my boss after all…
I didn’t get romantically involved with Brandon for quite awhile after we both stopped working togethering. We were each in serious relationships at the time and I headed off to backpack Europe with my best friend. This handsome, kind, quiet, guy was –for the time being- a really fun person to text about ice hockey and entertain with silly cheers I remembered from elementary school (or made up myself- seriously I am that embarrassing), and someone I enjoyed being around at work …but nothing more.
While in Europe, many precious euros were spent at hole in the wall internet cafes, emailing parents and my current boyfriend, but each technology indulgence included a casual check for a message from Brandon. I didn’t know it at the time but my whole world changed in Europe as I navigated traveling like a vagabond with my would-be maid of honor and figuring out how to handle many different stressful situations without the security net that we lovingly call “parents”. We survived that trip together but suffice it to say our worlds changed in ways I still cannot put into words. I can’t speak for my backpacking partner in crime, but I was completely over and out of my current relationship before we even got off the plane in America- whether I knew it at the time or not.
Fast forward to actually dating the man of my dreams. For the most part, I would describe Brandon as an outwardly quiet, reserved, thoughtful and stoic person. There is a side to him that is wild and unpredictable but I think those traits are reserved for display amongst closest family and friends. He was (and still is) alluring to me in ways other people haven’t been before. Fiercely passionate about hockey. Unguarded with his opinions and emotions. Confident and sometimes unreasonable.
I spent many cold nights on the bleachers at the ice rink. I’d watch my future husband coach highschoolers or play with his own team(s). I’d get my homework done, watching him skate, watching him dressed all in red, standing tall on well worn skates. I was so proud to be there with him. I was his girl and I never wanted to miss a game or not be there to see him work his passion.
But everything has changed. In what feels like a heartbeat (four years really did flash before my eyes) my husband’s passion has become a burden to me.
When do the traits we love most about our significant others become the resentments that undo us? How does that happen? How do we keep that from happening?
I personally think the answers are found by looking inward.
A very wise man once told me (Hi, Dad!) that love is work. And marriage is the hardest, grandest work in the world. When the marriage-work becomes second priority to all of the other-work, the relationship between two people starts to atrophy. It weakens like that awful air dry clay you use in kindergarten- tiny cracks seep into every crevasse until a feather-light touch causes an irreparable tumble bringing your beautiful work to the ground.
I don’t want my relationship to become brittle. I’d rather not ever get to the point of fragility. Just as clay needs to stay wet and be kept inside a bubble of plastic, so too does a relationship between any two people who want to make their lives work together while maintaining separate interests and responsibilities.
Instead of placing blame, being angry, feeling alone, and ultimately reaching the end of my rope, I would rather think on what it is I need. Offer solutions. Explain how I feel. Change my approach. I think it is completely possible to decide how you feel about a situation. Decide how you react. Most importantly, to decide to approach your husband with love before all else. Before anger, before disappointment, before getting defensive, upset or hurt. Bring your response from love FIRST and address the rest after that.
It’s important to me to be my husband’s biggest fan no matter what. No matter how tired I am, no matter how much I wished he was home seven nights this week instead of three, no matter how anxious he is before a game, no matter how many kids we have or how big the bills get. Part of my vows to Brandon were to be that reliable pillar of strength and support he can count on. That is a big part of who we are as a couple. We both have particularly big ideas and goals and passions and hobbies and we support each other whole-heartedly in each and every one of them. We need each other’s love- always- even amidst the trials of the work of marriage.
Remembering that our spouses deserve love FIRST above all else is liberating. Express your anger, your disappointment, your sadness or your anxiety. But give your love first.
Offer love first.
Grab your cup of choice and enjoy the other #nakedmoms posts from this month. Thanks, ladies!
Loving the Mom in Me by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
Loving While Waiting by Heather at Diary of A First Time Mom
Present in Love by Laila at Only Laila
I Loved You Before You Were Born by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show
My Mom Was Right About Motherhood by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny
Being a Loving Mom Begins With Loving Yourself by Steph at Confessions of A Stay At Home Mom
I Love Being a Working Mom by Vanesse at Mommy Works A Lot
How to Balance Your Checkbook of Love by Diamonte at Liberated Mommy
Naked Love. Learning to Be Vulnerable by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries
Back To Love by Brandi at Mama Knows It All
**I am honored to be writing this post in conjunction with 12 wonderfully talented writers willing to share their nitty gritty thoughts on motherhood. Each month we interpret a common theme and share our work with you via the hashtag #NakedMoms. We aren’t actually naked (sorry!) but we are bearing our souls here on our blogs. Kind or constructive (even argumentative or opinionated!) comments are always appreciated but negative or hurtful ones need not be expressed here. We are in the business of lifting up and supporting other women with our writing as we weave a web of stories and anecdotes from our past, present and future Mommy selves. We hope you enjoy the series and share the stories you love with your own circle of Mom’s- whomever they may be. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading.**