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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Marriage is work

Marriage is hard work.  It can be wonderful, it can be ugly, it can be a sleepover party with your best friend, it can riddled with contentment or resentment or a sea of complacency.  A marriage can be all of these things from moment to moment, from month to month or year to year.  It can change in a day or stay in a certain state for years.  The point of the matter is there are things that bring two people together.  Often with children and within those initial years following their birth, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of that.  Why?  Because having children is the hardest thing you will ever do.  Don't fool yourself, it is.  You have entered into an agreement to take responsibility for raising a human being.   A human being!  That is no small feat.   And the fact that these little people come out completely dependent with no ability to help themselves often times puts a marriage on the back burner, since raising children is exhausting.  Those little buggers have a lot of energy!

You probably never thought you would be one of those people during your courtship.   But you also never had children.  The concept of children versus the reality of children are TOTALLY different.  Marriage can be ugly.  Having children can be ugly.  Marriage can be wonderful.  Having children can be wonderful.  Society does us no favors feeding us idealistic pictures of the two.  It leads to a lot of unnecessary disappointment.

What I'm starting to realize is that you have to look at your marriage the same way you look at yourself after having children.   You are now different and so is your marriage.  Your identity has to incorporate this change the way it did when you got married.  For those of you whose identity didn't change so much after being married, this will be a bit more challenging.  Expectations need to be reevaluated and communication needs to occur.  What makes you happy?  What makes your partner happy?   What makes you both happy?  What do you expect of your partner and what does your partner expect from you?  No one is a mind reader and sometimes, it's as simple as just sitting down and having a frank conversation about it to crush those budding or already growing resentments.  The answers to those questions may be different from when you were dating and in most cases, they will be.

A wise woman once told me that when you choose the person you will spend you life with, it is similar to choosing a car that you know will eventually be a classic or collector's item (stay with me here).  If you intend to have that car make it to the stage where it can be considered classic, it takes lots of care and maintenance.  Marriage isn't really all that different.  It takes lots of maintenance which means checking in with your partner to see where they're at and letting them know where you're at...just because no one is talking about it doesn't mean that everything is okay.  It's something I need to do more, this motherhood thing has distracted me, but I do realize that my daughter will reap the benefits from seeing her parents in a healthy marriage and that's all the convincing I need.

What are your thoughts on this one?

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