the marriage fight

Writing that title without capital letters is hard. But I’ve done much harder things in life. Watching your wife suffer with jaw pain, praying for a 24-year old friend to beat cancer and then standing in front of his casket, hearing your dad has Leukemia, are just a handful of the hard things I’ve walked through.

Being a dad is hard. Mostly because I’m not a kid person. I find it hard to relate, hard to pretend “play”, etc.

But marriage. Marriage is hard. Marriage is everyday. It’s 24/7 hard. Like hard. For realz (as the kids say).

Don’t get me wrong. I love being married, and I LOVE Danielle, but loving Danielle every day and holding up my end of the vows is not always a walk in the park.

You see, I’m fairly forgetful, I think it’s part of the Male condition, for whatever reason. And Danielle values having things done (gifts of service for you 5 Love Languages peeps). And I try, I really do. Sometimes I try too much and just ending up forgetting in incredibly epic fashion. #FAIL, if you will.

And yet Danielle loves me, even though I drive her completely cuckoo at times. For that, I’m eternally grateful. She claims not to be patient and caring sometimes, but she is.

Lately Danielle has been “interesting” to live with. I blame the baby! (just kidding, Baby Barden) Something about hormones and such. And I get it. I do. But it can be challenging at times. I risked bodily harm by informing her one evening that she was, frankly, being crazy. She took it remarkably well, because she’s awesome like that. She can admit when she’s being more Almond Joy than Mounds.

And here’s a little secret. Ready? Being an only child, I value my alone time. Because for roughly 20 years of my life or so I basically had as much of it as I wanted. So to be by myself for a day, or two, or three, is no big deal. It’s not that I don’t like being around Danielle or Fitzy, but sometimes…I just need my space.

I enjoy golfing. 3-4 hours of just being out in the elements playing a game that is deeply maddening and enjoyable at the same time, usually with friends. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But, it does take me away from the rest of my family. So I am working on finding a balance. Which is hard.

Lately Danielle has been on my nerves and I’ve been on hers. Sometimes I think we need a separate vacation, but you didn’t hear that from me ;) I think my problem is that I assume she’s going to be upset about something, so I go on defense automatically. I just can’t help it. And Danielle assumes I will forget something or not do something, so she goes into “prepare to be disappointed” mode, if you will.

And yet we work. We keep at it, because it’s worth it. Now, more than ever, society needs examples of marriages that work, in spite of all the challenges. So we fight.

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Marriage. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. For me – it’s harder than being a mom. While I have only been a mom for a little over 2 years – I’ve known my whole life that I would be one. To be honest – the whole being married part – didn’t really enter my thoughts. I mean – I knew I would be married. But – you just get married. And you live happily ever after. Because you are married. Because that’s what they say. Because that’s what happens at the end of movies.

Parenting is hard work. Parenting is exhausting and time consuming. Parenting is about letting go of your selfishness. Not marriage. And while parenting IS all of the above. Marriage is hard work. Marriage is exhausting and time consuming. Marriage is about letting go of your selfishness.

Marriage is much harder than parenting. For me. Right now. Or – maybe it’s marriage AND parenting combined.

Right now – I am extremely emotional. I am extremely sensitive. I am on edge. (I wrote about that here) So maybe right now – marriage is harder than usual.

It all comes down to this. Jared doesn’t listen to me and do what I want him to do. I think he should do certain things – without me telling him. Things that are painfully obvious to me.

And it’s stupid stuff. Right now – in a moment of rationale – I can see that. I can admit it. But in the moment of the issue – I’m extremely irrational. I know I am – but I can’t stop. It’s like I’m telling myself – just don’t say it. Just don’t say it – just don’t … BLAH BLAH BLAH. YOU DIDN’T DO THIS AND THAT. WHY DO YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME. WHY DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT ME. Seriously. It boils over – out of control. And I can see it when the smoke has cleared – but when the same exact situation comes up again – I freak out.

Here’s the crappy part – being married to Jared isn’t really that hard. Being married to me – is crazy hard.

I would love to tell you – and sometimes think – I can let things go. And while I can forgive – it’s hard for me to forget. When Jared does or doesn’t do something once – then I expect it to happen again and again. Which is really just me setting him up for failure. If I believe that he will always screw up (no matter what) – he will most likely screw up (no matter what) – because I’ve already prepared myself (and him) for that. That’s the excuse I use. Being prepared for the worst. Seriously.

I would love to tell you that I’m the encouraging wife – in every and any area of life. When it comes to anything. But – I suck. Like – really really suck. Words of praise and encouragement are Jared’s love language – he needs it. And the concept is absolutely ridiculous to me. (Again – not in the concept of parenting – I get that. They are just little guys that need positive reinforcement – but in the case of grown men – or women – I don’t get it) I wanted to start a business – so I did. I made up my mind to lose weight – so I did. Again – I don’t say this to be insensitive to anyone – just to let you know a little of what goes on inside this head.

Jared has spent most of his life trying to blend in with the crowd – not make waves – make people happy. I’ve spent most of my life trying to stand out in the crowd – be proud of being the goofy girl – not concerned with how people view me. Obviously – there are pros and cons to each situation. Jared craves encouragement and recognition. I crave time and service.

When I come home and Jared has picked up or done the dishes – he waits for recognition. I feel that I don’t need to say anything because that’s just something you have to do every day. I don’t get thanked for keeping up the house and doing laundry and blah blah blah. But then again – it’s not important to me. I don’t need it. He does. I just needed the house picked up and dishes to be done.

Why is it so hard for to me to say – thanks for doing the dishes. Why is it so hard for me to say – yes – go golfing. Why is it so hard for me to say – great job. Why is it so hard for me to leave shoes out of place. Why is it so hard for me to see the things that Jared has done to help instead of doing what I do best in pointing out the things he hasn’t.

Last weekend – I was explaining this to my parents. I said – I’m just so irritable right now! My dad said – as compared to what? He was joking – but not really. It’s not that I’m an unpleasant person – but I am a particular person.

I know that. Jared knew that when he married me. And while you shouldn’t want to change the person you marry – you try. And hopefully YOU end up being changed. It’s happening – even if it’s ever so slowly. I’m not as freaked out about things being “perfect” like I once was. I’m not nearly as uptight and stubborn as I once was – believe it or not. I’m trying – even as I type this – to think rationally. To pick my battles – so they say. To let things go. I don’t consider myself a fixer – although I know people would disagree. Instead of a fixer – I’m more like a – if you would just listen to me and do things my way – person. Which might be why mothering comes easy to me and marriage is harder.

But in the end – mothering isn’t about that either. Mothering and marriage is about trust. Trust in God. I can’t even say trust in your spouse. Because your spouse will fail you. Your kids will fail you. The only person you can really truly trust is God. And when you both trust in God to protect and guide your marriage (and your kids) – it’s a little easier. Still hard (for me) because I have control issues which means I have trust issues. And while marriage is the hardest thing I’ve ever done – nothing in this world worth having comes easy. I have a husband who loves me and stands by me (crazy or not) and I know why. Because he loves me – which has to be hard. And I love him.

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