the marriage fight

ten years (she said)

Posted By on Jun 26, 2014

We were married ten years ago today. At 6:30 in the evening – we stood before God and our families and friends and said yes. We will. Forever.

While we were on vacation last month – my sister pointed something out to me. She said – why is it that growing up – YOU were the romantic. And now you’re not? We’ve kind of switched roles. And it hit me. She’s right. Growing up – I daydreamed about love and boyfriends and marriage and romance and dates and romantic getaways. There was ALWAYS a boy that I liked – one that didn’t like me back – but oh did I like him. Every time. And in my journals – I gushed about love. It’s all I thought about. I just wanted to be married and have babies. That’s it. No college – no job. Just love and marriage and baby carriages. But those boys didn’t return my affections. So off to college I went – more boys to oogle over and more boys that didn’t return my affections. And I still journaled about love. I still daydreamed about romance.

And then I met Jared. And he pursued me. And I didn’t know what to think. He had a reputation in college – a good one – don’t get me wrong. But he was THE Jared Barden. It was intimidating. Why would HE want ME? All the other boys I pined about didn’t. And it scared me. I called my mom and she said – Danielle – if you don’t give this Jared guy a chance – you could be missing out on your whole life. So I did. Our first date was my brother’s soccer game. He met my family. He knew within a few weeks that he would marry me – but it took me a little longer. And then all my notions of romance seemed silly. Over the top. Who needs roses and candlelit dinners and teddy bears holding little hearts when this guy loves me when I’m in my sweats and eating a carton of icing. Jared fit into my family perfectly. I fell in love with his kind heart and sweet spirit. And we said yes. We will. Forever.

And almost right away – reality set in. Losing jobs – leaving apartments – praying for paychecks. Moving into a home that I didn’t want to be in (and still being there today) – battling chronic pain and wondering if I would ever feel well again – deciding that it was time to start a family (and losing and struggling and finally holding a baby in our arms – now two). Rehoming our sweet puppy – starting a business (pouring myself into it) – struggling with anxiety. Time has flown by. Seriously. And I look back and wonder – what ON EARTH did we do with our time. How have we been married 10 years already? I’m breathing heavy just thinking about the next 10 years FLYING by.

And just when things seemed to finally be “normal” – life threw us yet another curve. The biggest yet. And I was lost and broken and hurting. My best friend became someone I didn’t know. My husband – the man I vowed forever with – was trapped. Recovery was intense – secrets exposed. Our world was crashing. But we said yes. Forever. And I loved him. I needed him. And my love took on an even less romantic feel and more of a survival mode. Fighting for our relationship and our life we had built. In the midst of that fight – romantic love was hard to find – is still hard to find sometimes. Forgiving (really truly forgiving) and moving on (not holding on to yesterday). Taking care of a toddler and welcoming a new baby into the mix – all while recovering and literally just trying to survive day by day – overwhelmed me. Still overwhelms me at times.

And then this man walks in the door at 5:20 and looks at me. And smiles. At me. The girl he pursued over ten years ago. The girl that he chose. The girl that he asked to spend his life with him. This man that has struggled and worked so hard over the past year to show me his sorrow and his love. This man that loves me. The man that God put in my path. The man that has given me two beautiful boys. The man that just loves me.

And I am truly amazed.

I love you Jared Barden. And I am anxious to experience a whole new level of love with you.

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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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