It felt like our anniversary crept up on us this year…between Chase turning 1 and spending the last 5 months being pregnant, there were plenty of distractions. In fact, our daily priorities have naturally shifted to parenting first, marriage if there’s time.
I thought I would share the major lessons learned from our 3 years of marriage thus far. As we experience life transitions together as a couple, it has become obvious that learning together is an essential part of marriage.
Year One: Learning to live with each other
It’s one thing to have a roommate. We probably have all had one at some point in our early adult life. Some are awesome, some are tolerable, and some are just awful. When you get married, you basically vow to be roommates for life. The gravity and enduring nature of living with the same person for the rest of my life didn’t quite set in until we got married. We began observing each other’s little quirks, habits and behaviors that turned from cute to annoying. Did I really have to pick up socks that were a few inches short of the laundry basket every single day? Would I really not be able to watch my mindless reality shows without him making side comments about their stupidity? Yup. As they say “choose your battles”, it does ring true for a healthy start to your marriage. Some little annoyances are just not worth fighting over, and you learn to live with them because in the grand scheme of things, they don’t matter. One of my love languages from The 5 Love Languages is “Quality time”. So he may laughing at my ridiculous TV shows, but he’s sitting there next to me sharing the moment instead of doing something with his own time. One of his love languages is “Acts of Service”. So I pick up the socks without a thought anymore, because he may perceive it as a way of showing love. Once we got past the initial year of learning how to live together, it was difficult to imagine living apart.
Year Two: Learning to Plan for the Future and Transition together
Soon after we celebrated our first anniversary, we found out we were expecting our first baby. We had prayed for this to happen for quite some time and were ecstatic to begin this new journey as parents. At first, I thought planning a wedding was stressful, but planning for a baby takes the cake. There were so many things to think about: which OBGYN practice to use, who would help us after delivery, when I would go back to work, nanny vs. daycare, baby shower registry, how to deal with being pregnant etc. When little twinges or body changes would send me into a slight panic, my husband would contribute his medical rationale that would usually ease my nerves. When he would get nervous about my exposure to environmental toxins, potential accidents or under-consumption of fruits and veggies, I made sure to avoid risky situations and drank the healthy smoothie he would make me everyday. Once Chase was born, there were lessons being learned everyday. It was unchartered territory that we were blindly navigating, but at least we were in the boat together.
Year Three: Learning to be a team
This past year has been an exhausting one. As Chase transitioned out of the newborn/koala/eat-sleep-poop stage into the full-on infant and toddler stage, our responsibilities and routines changed dramatically. Chase was still waking up at midnight, we were both working full-time, and we were going to bed defeated on a nightly basis. Like most parents, it became shift-work: one parent on kid-duty while the other cooks, takes care of the dogs, eats, showers etc. Or on some occasions, one parent meets friends out while the other stays on duty at home. What I think makes marriage with kids work is communication and compromise. I’m blessed to have a husband who always puts his child and wife first. He jumps to change a diaper, wakes up in the middle of the night to rock Chase back to sleep, and makes sure that Chase, the dogs and I am fed before he sits down to eat his own dinner. He’s the type of teammate that you would have to pull out of a game before he would tap out for a substitute. We acknowledge and appreciate the role each other plays in the parenting game, knowing how difficult it would be to accomplish alone. We’ve only just begun this journey, but parenting has become the most challenging and rewarding responsibility we have yet to have as a couple.
A WORD FROM HUBBY: