Making Marriage Work

 My wedding. 
The anticipation of our little bundle was high, we were in love, and we were ready to spend our lives together forever. It seemed so simple. Have a baby, make a family, raise baby to be a healthy independent adult, grow old with your partner.
And now it feels like it is quite the opposite.

Derek and I have struggled at keeping our relationship a priority the moment Trace entered this world. He came barreling in with bottles, burping, and blow outs, and it quickly became evident there wasn't much time to do anything but take care of him. At the end of the night, the battle with putting Trace down would be so tiresome in itself that I was ready to fall into bed only to wake up to do it all over the next morning.
My bond with Derek in this time began to drift. It was hard keeping everyone happy when all I could think of was keeping this tiny baby alive. I was a new mother figuring out the ups and downs of motherhood and forging a bond with the newest member of my family. My mind told me to make more time for Derek but my heart pulled me towards the tiny hands and feet of my son.
I could tell in time that Derek was hurting.
And I was too, I didn't know why I couldn't figure out a way to involve both parties into my heart equally. I was having a hard time showing affection to one and the easiest time giving it to another. After Trace turned one Derek and I got back on our wonderful united path and forged on into the next chapter in life. We decided to have another baby. We were well adjusted into the parenting life style and adding a sibling into the mix was the most logical idea for the two of us. 
 So Phoenix was born.
 And Phoenix grew. 
And mommy and daddy drifted again due to sleepless nights, colic, and a clingy needy daughter. She was worth it, Trace was worth it, the love we have for our children made it all worth it. But Derek and I both missed the days we had before kids.
There was no doubt about it, our relationship has evolved to one of consistency, safety, ease, and simpleness. Most of which I appreciate, some of which makes me entirely nervous. 
Growing up I lived with my sister and a single mother. My father and mother divorced when I was around 5 and he committed suicide shortly after.
My idea of marriage was argument filled nights and me hiding under blankets crying and believing my sister and I had something to do with the dysfunction of our home life.
Once my mom was on her own, she had a lot to do to keep up our basic needs. And after our basic needs were met she was too tired to give us anymore. My sister and I were left to fend for ourselves quite a bit. My home was not an affectionate one, in fact I can hardly remember a time I cuddled with my mom. There were no hugs and kisses, even to this day hugging my mom is a very awkward feeling. And we never said "I love you" to each other. When my mom remarried we went through a huge mass of turmoil and I once again witnessed the dysfunction of what I believed marriage was. There was still no love, no affection, no emotions shown to me. I grew up craving love from anyone who was willing to show it to me. I was overwhelming with my friends, flighty with my boyfriends, and heartless to others. It was all I knew. Love was a tough one for me, as I had no teacher in this field. 
I revert so easily back to my closed in self. I revert to the little girl I once was, just simply trying to survive in the world without love or care. And when times get stressful my survival mode kicks back in and I soak myself up with the love of my kids. They are the easiest way to receive love.For the first time in my life I have two tiny people who love me unconditionally and want to love me. As a child I felt like people were forced to love me simply because I was part of their "family" and showing love in my family doesn't seem to come easily.
I thought I had overcome my past enough to be able to completely move on from it but the more I take a look at myself I realize my past effects me in ways I don't even recognize. 
I need to quit shutting down on my husband, I almost subconsciously look at marriage as an automatic Fail no matter how well it is going. I need to get away from the experiences my mother had with marriage- they are hers and not mine. 
The man I found to be my life partner is someone so special, and I know he cares for me. I know he loves me and wants to stay together. Not only for our children's sake but for keeping us together as well. 
 We may have ups and downs and we may need to work on our marriage more at some points then other times but the biggest thing that will keep us together is if I free myself of the stigma that I have grown up seeing marriage as. 
 I am different. My life is not my childhood, I have refused to make it become that.
And I will work with my husband through thick and thin to keep our family a strong stable structure filled with affection and "I love you's" pouring out the brim of our home. 
My mission from now on is to quit putting my walls up,  stop making excuses, and make small efforts every day to bring my husband and I closer. 
 Because if it weren't for our love

 We wouldn't be a family. 


Mommyof3 said...

Holding onto a marriage after kids is the hardest thing in the world. My hubby works 85+ hours a week, we have the 3 kids. We go out together once a year if we are lucky. The only date we had this year was to watch Fast Five. It is the hardest thing ever to work on.

Adria said...

I can tell this post really came from your heart. It's been a hard adjustment for Marius and I to have had Iris - we miss our old lives sometimes too. We weren't planning to have children for a few more years, but surprise! :)

I also feel for you in terms of how you grew up. My parents' relationship was and is extremely dysfunctional, and I was emotionally/sometimes physically abused. It's something I still struggle with immensely. Sometimes I find myself lapsing into the ways I used to survive in a household like that - I shut down, my emotions are nonexistent and I wish for self destruction. It's so difficult to turn away from that path, isn't it? I feel overwhelmed with parenting sometimes too. Especially now that Marius is in Iraq.

Hope you're doing okay. If you want your marriage to work, you can make it happen. It will make you happier, even if you're more tired. If you're consciously aware of all these things haunting you, you can change them. And you are! I think you're wonderful. :)

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