the marriage fight

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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nine years (she said)

Posted By on Jun 26, 2013

Nine years ago I woke up with a headache – which is the norm for me. But I remember thinking – not today. Please not today.

Thankfully my girls distracted me and we started hair and make up and had a relaxing morning. I got ready and dressed at my future in-laws house – with those most dear next to me.

The dress fit perfectly – the day was beautiful – I was ready.

Cus that”s what a wedding is about. A beautiful dress and no pimples to hide! Perfectly manicured hair and nails and a bright shining sun in the sky. Looking your best. With all your friends.

Oh – and then walking down an aisle to say I DO and kiss. Dancing the night away with your friends and family. And gifts.

That’s totally what a wedding was about. That’s totally what a wedding IS about.

And it shouldn’t be. A wedding should be about your marriage. Not the dress – not the weather – not the party. You and this boy pledging your love and commitment to each other for all time. No matter what. In rain or in shine. In craptastic days and fantastic days – or weeks or months or years. In pain and sorrow or in good health and joy. In newlywed bliss or brand new baby tiredness. In every moment that takes your breath away and every moment that you want to scream.

I look back on today – nine years ago – and think. The nerve. The nerve I had to look Jared in the face in front of all the people dearest to us – and God – and tell him that I loved him. Yes. I will be there for you. Yes. I will love you. Yes. I will support you. Yes. Yes. Yes. I had NO idea what I was talking about. I had NO idea what marriage was really about. Sharing your hopes and dreams and life and loves. Putting Jared and his needs before me and mine.

I love him so much more today – than I did nine years ago. And it’s about more than love. Our trust has been tested. Our dreams and desires have been put on hold at times. What I wanted – it isn’t about me anymore. It’s about us. And believe it or not – that’s a hard concept for me. And I’ll bet it is for you too. I love him so much more today – but it’s also a deeper love. I know what it’s like to be scared. To look at my marriage and ask the really hard questions. To listen to – and give – hard answers. To sacrifice.

To think about the vows we promised each other. To trust each other.

I wrote about how I’m a little bit crazy – okay – a GIANT bowl full of crazy. And to think that Jared has lived with me – loved me – supported me – stayed in the same house as me – for nine years. Nine crazy long years. It makes me cry. He is kinder than I am. He is more patient than I am. He is more giving than I am. I’ve always said that I wanted to have a baby with Jared – because he is the best person I know. I know that Fitzy gets his kindness and gentleness from his dad. Thank You Jesus.

While I am still in the midst of crazy Danielle (I’m working on it) and while we’ve been through some really ugly days and weeks and months – when I look at my life. It’s beautiful. It’s blessed.

Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life. I am so thankful that my husband has made every day since then even better. And next year – I will love him even more.

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i’m crazy (she said)

Posted By on Jun 9, 2013

I’m crazy.

No – seriously. And Jared will agree with me.

I’m usually pretty crazy anyway. But being pregnant – makes it much worse.

I feel horrible. Cranky – moody – irritable (I realize those are all the same thing – but believe me – you can describe me right now with each of them – capitalized if you’d like). I’m not complaining. I’ve been pregnant 5 times and when I feel like this – it’s a good sign that a baby is here to stay. So the worse I feel – the better I feel. If you know what I mean.

BUT – that doesn’t help Jared. And the people around me that are exposed to my craziness. But like almost anything – I try and put on the best face I can for my friends and family. So – Jared ends up getting the WHOLE ball of craziness. Awesome.

We’ve gotten good news about this pregnancy. A baby on a screen. A heartbeat (seen and heard). No signs of tearing or bleeding. But the slight spotting continues. And I think – I was bigger with Fitzy – but I was also 20 pounds heavier in general. And I worry. And I try not to. And I know that it’s in God’s hands. I know that He has given us a word and a promise. I know that. I do. And yet I worry. And I try not to.

So what happens – is I start to control the things that I can control. Mostly things being picked up and neat and orderly and having a place. I have some OCD tendencies – but they’ve been able to be under control – for the most part. But there are certain places in my life where you can see them – very evidently.

My business. I pay my taxes on the first day of the month – not the 20th when they are due. I pay quarterlies a month ahead of time. I have a spreadsheet calculating my taxes and mileage and sessions. When I do a session – the first thing I do when I get home – is open three little spreadsheets and mark down all the info – before I even download any pictures. Because it”s what I’ve always done. Because if I don’t – it’s just not right. Nothing bad will happen – it’s just what needs to be done. Crazy. I know.

My desk. Pens go here. Sticky notes go there. Bills go here. Checkbooks go there. And you don’t move them. Ever. Because that’s where they go. And I get crazy about it.

With my business and my desk – I”m like this all the time. Thankfully – with the rest of the house – I have chilled out – a lot over the years – because I am pretty sure Jared would have left by now. But when I’m where I am right now – it starts to spill over. And shoes NEED to go here. Plates HAVE to go here. Dishes NEED to be done NOW. Toys MUST be organized. EVERY SINGLE THING has a spot and it must be in it. And when I have to ask – oh no – much worse. Because you should already KNOW that all these things MUST be done this way. I mean – we have been married for almost 9 years – haven’t you figured it out yet?

Jared assures me that I’m not THIS bad all the time. Today he told me that I usually keep it at a manageable level – but it’s just out of control right now. In his exact words – you’re just crazy right now. And he tried to think of a better way to say it. I said – just say it. So he did. And I said. I know. We need to talk about it – cus I’m not happy right now. I’m not happy with you – not happy with me – just not happy. And that’s the way it is with OCD and control issues. People think you do it to make yourself happy. But you do it to maintain the crazy that’s spilling out ever so slowly – or in my case – pretty rapidly.

I deal with anxiety – always have. And my anxiety comes out this way. With control issues. Jared knows this. He knew this when we started dating – it was much worse then. And he still chose to stay with me. And while I’m not happy with him right now – and his inability to live up to my crazy standards – we talked. Because mostly – I’ve just been sighing and crying and saying ONCE AGAIN – you didn’t do this – you didn’t do that. And I feel better. Tons.

But – I’m still crazy.

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I’m watching The Office. Jim and Pam are in marriage counseling. OH THE HORROR!

I know – it’s a television show – it’s NOT real. Just remember that I know that.

Pam was engaged. To a jerk. She wasn’t happy. She met Jim at work. They became close friends. They fell in love. Jim asked her to choose him. She said no. Jim left. Pam called off the wedding. Jim started dating someone else. But we all knew they were meant to be. They FINALLY got together. They got married. Had two babies. Jim got a new job. His focus changed. Pam may have gotten a little too close to a friend – a guy friend. They are asking the hard questions to other people – not each other.

Why would the writers take it down this road? This can’t happen to Jim and Pam. They have the perfect relationship.

Because it happens. To the best of us.

We lose sight of what it means to be married. What it means to actually put someone else ahead of our own needs and wants. We get selfish. We start to confide in someone else. We start to put more value in their opinion than our spouse’s. We start to assume.

And then it all comes out. We find out that we’ve lied to each other. We’ve lied to ourselves. We’ve become someone we don’t recognize. We’ve said things that we regret. We’ve asked each other questions that we never thought we would. We don’t know how to trust each other.

Because it happens. To the best of us.

Because we aren’t the best. Because we are human. Because we are sinful.

Because we need Jesus more than we need each other. And sometimes crappy stuff has to happen for us to realize that.

Jim and Pam can make it. They need to ask each other the hard questions. They need to cry. They need to say I’m sorry. They need to forgive. They need to get on the same page.

Sacrifices had to be made. An aspect of my job. A relationship with a friend. The reliance on a FACEBOOK account. Time. Sleep. Priorities.

It was hard. Really truly very hard. We talked. We cried. We yelled. We forgave. We learned to trust again. We re-evaluated our marriage. What it meant to be in this. Together. What the new rules had to be and living within those boundaries.

A year ago – I didn’t know what would happen. I wasn’t sure where we would be today. Seriously.

We turned to Jesus. And he helped us turn to each other and stay there. We’re on the same page. We’ve made sacrifices. We are in an awesome place – a place I didn’t think could exist. It was hard. Because life is hard. But so worth it.

While we didn’t turn to marriage counseling – we would have. If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with your spouse – no matter what the issue is – it’s not going to just go away. I’m willing to bet it will only get worse. Confront the issue. Let your feelings be heard – not pushed aside. Remember that your marriage is more important than any friendship. Remember that you are in this together. Remember why you got married in the first place. Remember why you fell in love. Go there. Stay there.

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Oh. My. Word.

We’ve been busy being married and being parents and being friends. This blog totally suffered – but it’s been in the back of my mind almost every day. I wrote down LISTS of topics and FINALLY have a moment to write.

Why not dive RIGHT in and ask a hard one. Does Jesus have a place in your marriage.

Let me tell you about the role He plays in ours – from my perspective.

When Jared and I started dating – I told him I wasn’t interested in a relationship – but a marriage. It freaked him out. He needed a few days to adjust and let that sink in. That didn’t mean that I wanted to marry him RIGHT THEN – but that I wasn’t about being in a relationship that went nowhere. If any red flags came up – on either side – then it was over. I didn’t want to hang on to something that wouldn’t last. He met my parents on our first date. I’d known his for a while. Family was very important to both of us – we accepted that we wouldn’t just be marrying each other – but our families too. It was very important to both of us that we shared the same beliefs – politically and morally. Check. We both knew that we needed to marry someone who loved Jesus – had Him living inside their heart. Check.

Have we done a good job at keeping Jesus in the center of our marriage – eh – mediocre at best. But He has always been there – especially when it matters. Well – we really turned to Him when it mattered. He was always there waiting. We’ve prayed together – cried together – fought together – read together – taught together – loved together.

I have no idea how to love people without Jesus in my heart. I have a hard enough time loving them with Him hanging out in there. I cannot imagine what it would be like without. Let me tell you why.

Jesus bled for me – died for me. He has forgiven me. He loves me. Because I have experienced that love – I share it. I try to represent the love of Jesus through it – I fail most of the time. But I know what it’s like to be broken and empty – and thanks to Jesus I know what’s it’s like to be healed and full. Living with someone and sharing my life with them – could only be done with Jesus on my side.

I get angry and judgmental. I get impatient and unkind. I get irrational and sometimes just mean. Without Jesus in my life – I would be horrendous to live with. To love. Without Jesus in my marriage – I wouldn’t be so quick to admit my wrongs – and I have LOTS. I wouldn’t be so willing to work on our issues and to forgive. I wouldn’t know where to turn with my worries and my doubts. Jared and I take them to Jesus – together.

It’s not just about going to church together. It’s not about raising a child in the church together. It’s about loving Jesus. Together. It’s about spending this life on earth with the person that Jesus made exactly for me and spending eternity with him in heaven after this is all said and done. I cannot imagine spending my life on earth with someone that I would never see again after this life. Someone that I know would be spending their eternity in hell – in pain – in turmoil.

Having Jesus in the center of marriage has been THE reason we stay together. The reason we work our crap out. The reason we forgive. The reason we love.

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