the marriage fight

Jared’s right. People would just say – everything changes. Everything. And you’re like – really? Thanks for that. Really helpful.

I’ve touched on it a little bit – but I mother. It’s my “gift” – right. I boss. It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. I love it. But it’s not nearly as helpful as I thought.

So being a mom was gonna be easy for me. And really truly it’s been what I expected. Those first few weeks and months are hard – exhausting – trying. I am not a person that functions well on little sleep and that’s basically what happens when you have a baby – you get little sleep. Breastfeeding was exhausting. I’ve got friends that will tell me I’m selfish for even admitting that – but guess what – it is. I can honestly say that I didn’t feel this magical connection that other moms speak of with breastfeeding – it was – Fitzy is hungry and I’ll feed him – not a extra special moment really. I went back to work 8 weeks after he was born (and stopped breastfeeding) and now wish I had made a different decision. Not about the breastfeeding – Fitzy had formula for the first year after those 8 weeks and is thriving – but about going back to work – so much and so soon. Thankfully we have wonderful and supportive and loving family that helped us. I worked too much. barden photography was my baby – for a long time – and I didn’t know how to give that up – even a little. It’s easier now – but I’ve had to learn the hard way.

I don’t even really remember much about the first few months of Fitzy’s life – it’s all a fantastic blur. I know that I cuddled him and played with him and loved him and fed him and changed him and didn’t get much sleep. I know that Jared was here and we probably talked and hung out – but I really truthfully don’t remember. I took care of a baby and edited and slept and ate and photographed. And maybe (hopefully) paid attention to my husband.

Jared talks about alone time – something I don’t really crave – other than to edit or blog – but then I realized that for the three years I’ve been doing bp full time – I’ve had alone time – all day – every day – almost. So I might not crave it because I got it. Now that Fitzy is here I often look at the pile on my desk and desktop and wonder when it will get done – messages that need to be answered and photos that need to be edited. If I only had a few hours a day (doesn’t Fitzy nap? HA. sometimes) that I could get this stuff done – oh wait – I need to vacuum and do dishes and maybe cook tonight and get a shower and do laundry and I don’t even know what piles are clean anymore. There goes that small amount of time that I thought I could sit and get something done. At night I’ve been trying really hard to not be on the computer and focus my attention on Jared. I’m not on the computer during the day and not at night – not getting things done.

It’s been REALLY REALLY hard being a mom AND working from home. I would like to think that working outside the home where I don’t bring my work home would be easier? I’m most likely wrong. I have this little boy that wants to play and cuddle and type on the keyboard as soon as he sees it. He is awesome at occupying himself for about 20 minutes and then wants HOP ON POP read to him for the 14th time that day. And I love him and love paying with him. So it wins out. Always. But it’s really really hard. Really hard. Much harder than I thought it would be.

I get frustrated with Jared because I feel like he wants alone time ALL the time. He comes home from work and needs to wind down. And then it’s dinner and bath time and getting Fitzy to bed and then I might have an hour to work on something and then I realize I’ve been on facebook (I HATE facebook) for 20 minutes doing NOTHING and there goes any time I would have been able to catch up and I should probably spend time with Jared – ya know – watching TV. Seriously? And then we do it all again the next day. And on the days I don’t have weddings – Jared would like to go golf – but I’m already on my own with Fitzy 5 days a week – I don’t want to do weekends too. But he’s been working all week and needs some wind down time. But I want him home. So I don’t have to spend every waking second worrying about what Fitzy just ate off the floor. So an argument starts – the same one we have all the time. And I know that Jared needs his alone time so he goes. And I read HOP ON POP for the 160th time that week and wait for him to get home. So that maybe I can catch up on the 14 folders on my desktop and there I am working on the weekends again when I took time off this year so we could spend time together – and we aren’t.

And then those arguments lead into other things we are holding onto. The fact that miscarrying three years ago had a damaging effect on both of us and our relationship. I poured myself into my work and made barden photography my baby. And then when we did get pregnant again – right as I was just accepting that it would most likely be the two of us forever and how to deal with that – and this baby took over the barden photography baby role – again (or still) leaving Jared in the dust. While Jared needs his alone time – he also needs attention from me. And he wasn’t getting it. And facebook (did I mention I hate it – cus I do) became an outlet for the attention he needed from me but wasn’t getting. And I didn’t understand and we got off facebook for a while – but we are both quite addicted – so here we are again and trying to balance our relationship together and with Fitzy and with friends and family and business and free time and fun time and date nights and showers and sleep. You get it.

Fitzy is amazing and wonderful and fantastic and makes me cry almost every day. Whether it’s from laughing or because he comes over and grabs my face with his little fat hands and kisses me. When I look in his eyes I am looking at a miracle – an answer to prayer. I don’t know how to NOT make my world revolve around that little boy. But making him my entire world hurts me – and him – and Jared. It’s part of what we’ve been dealing with in our marriage over the past few months and it’s SUCKED. But where we are right now is right where God KNEW we would be. He’s put the people that are in our lives RIGHT NOW for THIS MOMENT. We are talking and crying and dealing with hurt and loving and learning. Learning so much about each other and our relationship and where God WANTS us to be – where we need to be.

Having Fitzy moved us from a family of 2 to 3 – and at times I left Jared out of that equation altogether. At times when we were both wrong and confused – God has kept us talking (even if it was in raised voices) and loving and learning. I’m learning how to make this relationship work with being a wife and a mom and a photographer.

I’m fighting for our marriage – and I’m thankful for a husband who fights with me.

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and baby makes three (he said)

Posted By on May 16, 2012

There have been a handful of times throughout my life when I thought, “this is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.” And, perhaps, at those stages of life each one of them were. Hard to say for certain.

I remember talking with (I believe it was) my dad before we had Fitzy. When I asked him what changes when you have a baby, he said, “everything”. My response went something like, “thanks for being so helpful, Dad. Can you give me an example?” His response, “everything.”

As always, he was right. Oh man, was he right.

I’d love to be able to sit here and tell you how wonderful the first year of fatherhood has been, and how it’s made me such a better person and how life has been a bowl full of cherries, but that would be, mostly, lies.

Don’t get me wrong. Being a father is great. Fitzy is AMAZING. He’s one of the happiest little guys I’ve ever seen, even when he’s super sick with ear infections. I’m fairly certain his smile is infectious too :)

But being a dad is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. (I know, I know, it doesn’t get any easier for the next 20+ years or so, or ever, for that matter).

I’ve always known I’ve had a “selfish bent”, if you will, mostly because I grew up as an only child. I was used to getting most of the things I wanted (trust me, you might think all but definitely NOT all) and doing things on my own schedule.

Having Fitzy has shown me that, at times, I can be incredibly selfish. I don’t know how many different times over the past year I’ve mentioned that I just need some “space” or “alone time”, because helping out with a baby is exhausting. And I don’t even deal with the brunt of it. I’m gone 8-10 hours a day. Danielle has to maintain her job with Barden Photography, do photo shoots, weddings, edit, etc. AND take care of Fitzy. All day. If anyone has the right to complain about needing free time, it’s definitely Danielle.

It’s also tough, because sometimes I just want to be alone. Again, I think this comes from me being an only child. I am used to being alone, and often, I enjoy it. Danielle has always been pretty much the opposite. As the oldest of 3 there was always someone around, who most likely “needed” mothering.

Me? I love my alone time. Whether it’s occupying my “nothing” box (another post for another day), messing around on the computer, reading or playing golf, I love having that time to myself. I remember having to adjust when we were first married to having someone who, for all intents and purposes, was around “all the time.”

Having Fitzy has completely shifted the “alone” paradigm. It’s crazy to have to be responsible for someone who needs you to survive. It is an honor and privilege for sure, and a HUGE responsibility. But it can get taxing. I feel like recently, in the past couple months or so, I’ve gotten more used to putting Fitzy’s needs ahead of my own and trying to ditch my more selfish tendencies, but it hasn’t been easy.

I can’t speak for other dads out there, but it has helped me a lot now that Fitzy is able to interact with me more. He’s developing his own little personality and is ever-increasingly more fun to interact and play with. In fact, he and I spent about 2.5 hours together the other night while Momma was away on a photo shoot, and we survived! That might not seem like a big deal to some of you reading this, but for me it was.

The effect adding a baby has had on my relationship with Danielle has also been huge. On one hand, it’s been amazing. It’s brought us closer together, makes us marvel at our little miracle baby God blessed us with, etc. On the other hand, it’s been TOUGH.

It’s been a struggle and a process to adjust to the changes we’ve had to make in our relationship. At different times this first year, especially when Fitzy was just a few months old, I often felt like I took a back seat to Fitzy and Barden Photography. Danielle and I talked about it a lot. I had to realize, especially at that very young age, that Fitzy was pretty much totally dependent on Danielle, and it wasn’t that she was trying to ignore me, but Fitzy NEEDED her. The more I was able to see that helped things, but it was definitely a challenge.

We’ve both had to adjust as our roles have changed from not “just” husband and wife but to mom and dad as well. I feel like, for the most part, we’ve done a good job at the transition, but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

I feel like this post has been a bit all over the place, but the important takeaway is that fatherhood is HARD, but it’s so so worth it. If you’re struggling with being a dad, feeling guilty, or anything like that, don’t. You’re not alone.

I think the biggest key when you’re dealing with all the changes that fatherhood / a baby brings is to communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t let your feelings just fester inside, where they can oftentimes get the best of you. For me, being open with Danielle about these issues has been a huge help.

When baby makes 3 or 4 or 5, remember to fight for your marriage!

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There aren’t many more statements out there more false than this one, in my opinion.

More like “love means ALWAYS having to say you’re sorry.” I guess maybe always having to say you’re sorry is a bad thing though, because it means your behavior isn’t changing much. Shoot.

I read Danielle’s post a few minutes ago. She says that she says she’s sorry a lot. I’m sure she does, but I’m pretty sure I have her beat in this area, and I’m fairly certain she would admit that also. I’m always quick to say I’m sorry. Probably to a fault at times. I’m sure that has to do with my need to people please, but that’s another post for another day.

I guess I use “I’m sorry” as a way to defuse situations before they get too out of hand, when I don’t even genuinely mean it at sometimes. Hoping that an “I’m sorry” will smooth things over and we can just move on. Usually doesn’t work out that way.

The problem is I have to say I’m sorry for the same things again and again. A LOT sometimes. And that kinda sucks, because it means (as I mentioned earlier) apparently I’m not changing, and so I have to apologize for whatever it is I’m doing that’s causing pain. Again.


Why do we so easily hurt the ones we love the most? I guess if we had that one figured out, we wouldn’t have to say “I’m sorry” quite so often.

When I went through a DARK bout of anxiety/depression, I remember (or at least I think I remember) apologizing to Danielle a lot. Apologizing for putting her through the pain of watching me deal with the emotions, apologizing for not being myself, apologizing for just the whole mess. She always reminded me that I was there by her side when she went through her TMJ pain, and that she would be by my side – no matter what. I am a blessed man.

More recently it’s been different things I’ve had to apologize for. I had to apologize for not being there for Danielle and Fitzy like they needed me, especially the early parts of his life. I’ve had to apologize for being so incredibly angry at life in general – angry because we had another miscarriage, angry because I was selfish and didn’t want to have a little girl, angry because things aren’t going my way (in my view of how things should play out), angry that other people seem to be getting blessed when we aren’t, just plain angry.

I’ve also had to apologize for being relationally selfish, for not seeing how things I was doing were hurting Danielle, and for not being as good a father as I feel I can be. These have been some new / hard things to apologize for.

It is humbling to apologize. No, not to just say “I’m sorry” like it’s some sort of Harry Potter magic spell that will make things all better again, but to truly apologize and strive to change and be different.

THAT is hard. But the successful completion of our marriage vows depend on it. We’re going to need forgiveness, and we’re going to need to give it as well. It’s inevitable, unless you married a perfect person (NEWS FLASH: you didn’t).

And forgiveness can be hard. Super hard. Especially when you’ve been wronged, and have “a right” to be angry. Boy, am I glad God doesn’t use that logic when it comes to forgiving me, or else it would be Game Over. I’m reminded of Jesus, when he taught the disciples how to pray saying (paraphrased), “and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” It’s so crucial that we forgive each other, ESPECIALLY in marriage. There is something freeing about forgiving, but even more so about forgiving your spouse. Most likely because the relationship of spouse to spouse is the closest we can come to comparing to the relationship between God and us.

If you’re going to fight for your marriage – forgive. Ask for forgiveness. And strive to change so that the amount of times you have to say “I’m sorry” for the same issue decreases on a daily basis.

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You’ve heard this said right? Many MANY times according to Wikipedia. It’s from the novel and subsequent film – Love Story – which I’ve never seen. When the search came up on Wikipedia – there was a quote from John Lennon – love means having to say you’re sorry every five minutes. I prefer that one. Lately anyway. Who am I kidding – not even lately. Always – I think I’ve just grown and learned that my pride really isn’t THAT important to say I’m sorry.

Love means NEVER having to say you’re sorry. NEVER? I guess maybe I should watch the movie and then I would understand. But then again – I’m not much for gushy girl movies – with a few GREAT exceptions. But NEVER? REALLY?

I think it’s absolutely CRAZY that we seem to hurt the people we love – usually we hurt them a lot more than people we don’t even really like. I think I’ve mentioned it before – but it’s that comfort factor. I think sometimes we take advantage of our wedding vows and we KNOW that we will be there for each other so we can get comfortable and be rotten without any severe consequences. Again – WRONG.

And why is it SO hard to admit our wrongs and say those words – I’m sorry. Why is it SO easy to place the blame on others instead of reflecting on ourselves and seeing that we mostly likely are contributing to the problem more than we would like to think? Why is that we have to say I’m sorry – OVER and OVER again for the same things? Why is it that instead of taking blame when we totally should be – it’s sometimes easier to lie and bury yourself deeper and deeper?

Love means safety. Looking into the eyes of your husband and feeling truly safe – emotionally – physically – financially – just safe.

Love means commitment. Promising yourselves to only each other for the rest of your lives. Devoting yourself to stand by your husband through it all. The good and the bad. The beautiful and the ugly.

Love means happiness. Laughing and enjoying each other. Remembering why you fell in love in the first place.

Love means forgiveness. Asking for it and giving it. Love means having to say you’re sorry. Every day if you have to. It also means accepting forgiveness when it’s asked of you.

When I was going through my jaw pain I would apologize to Jared all the time. I’m sorry that you have to take care of me. I’m sorry that we can’t do anything. I’m sorry that I can’t think straight. I’m sorry that I think I’m dying. I’m sorry that I asked you to cut my face open. I’m so sorry.

When we lost our first baby I would apologize all the time. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to see a picture on the ultrasound. I’m sorry that I might have done something wrong to cause this. I’m sorry that nothing you say to me makes it easier. I’m sorry that I can’t feel your hugs – I’m too numb. I’m sorry that we can’t have sex – I don’t want this to happen again – but I want a baby more than anything. I’m sorry that I want a baby so badly. I’m sorry that I cry all day. I’m sorry.

When Jared went through his severe anxiety attacks I would apologize all the time. I’m sorry that I don’t know what to do for you. I’m sorry that I can’t say anything right. I’m sorry that I can’t make you happy. I’m sorry that I can’t fix this for you.

When Fitzy was born I apologized. A lot. I’m sorry that I’m so tired. I’m sorry that I’ve made this baby my life. I’m sorry that I’m not seeing what you need. (those last two weren’t till very recently) I’m sorry that we have to ask someone to take our beautiful puppy in. I’m sorry that I’m exhausted. I’m sorry that I don’t have time. For anything. Ever. Or so it seems.

I’m sorry that I blew up on you. Again. I’m sorry that I doubted you. Again. I’m sorry that I didn’t see you needed me. I’m sorry that I’m controlling. (trying REALLY hard to work on this one) I’m sorry that I’ve been too busy mothering you. I’m sorry that I’m not perfect. I’m sorry that I get jealous. I’m sorry that I get irrational. I’m sorry that I hurt you. I’m sorry that I don’t encourage you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I say it. A lot.

But do I really mean it. Do I really repent and try to change my behavior and my outlook? Not as much as I should be. Not even close really.

That’s what I’ve been trying to do lately. Saying I’m sorry and meaning it. Calling people out on the times that they’ve hurt me. Knowing that most likely it will come back to something that I did. Something they are holding onto. Something I’ve never said I’m sorry for. Knowing that I won’t like the answer sometimes. Knowing that in TRUTH and LOVE forgiveness is waiting.

Whether you need to say I’m sorry to someone or you’re waiting for an I’m sorry from someone – take that step today. ESPECIALLY if it’s your husband. Swallow your pride and ask for forgiveness. Swallow your pride and accept his apology. Take the steps so that you don’t have to say I’m sorry again. At least not for THAT same issue.

Forgiveness is AMAZING. Jesus has it for you. Jesus wants it for you. In all areas of your life – ESPECIALLY from Him but also from and for people in your life.

Forgiveness is a MAJOR step in fighting for your marriage.

<strong>Love means having to say you’re sorry. Love means having to say I forgive you. Sometimes every single day. </strong>


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