Introducing The Marriage Diaries

by Erica Layne on October 8, 2013

The Marriage Diaries

I boarded the bus at 6:05am. Pitch black. In the dead middle of a Utah winter.

My life had just changed drastically. Granted, it was a change I wanted with all my heart, but that doesn’t make the reality of an adjustment magically disappear. I was taking the semester off of school, to do an internship in a city an hour away. I had just moved away from the social mecca that is life right off a college campus. And most importantly, I now lived with a man.

That morning, when I boarded the bus? My husband had dropped me off.

My wedding dress was at the cleaner’s, and the house was strewn with gifts waiting to be put away. As the days went by, I learned that navigating a marriage was much harder than navigating a relationship with a roommate. We were tied together forever, and at 21 years old, I didn’t know how to be me and be part of this partnership at the same time. My feelings—my confidence—were entwined in him.

I made a friend on the bus that morning. She was young and newly married, like me. She joked about some odd habit of her husband, and we eventually bonded over the adjustment from one to two. Our paths crossed just a couple of times a week, and I never saw her again past that semester, but I knew—at that point in time—that someone else in the world was like me, and that was enough.

In my eight years of marriage, I’ve found a few people to open up to. (I talked about my need for a sounding board here.) But they have been few and far between. Marriage is hard to talk about, because we want to respect our spouses and to keep intimate matters intimate. Even online, it is much easier to find community as mothers than it is to find it as wives. But for the next three months, we’re opening a dialogue.

I’ve invited six tremendous women to participate in a new series here called The Marriage Diaries. Each writer will be talking about one aspect of her marriage that surprised and challenged her. We’re getting as personal as we can, and we hope that our stories will help women feel more normal and less alone in their relationship struggles. Even more, we hope you’ll be a part of the conversation.

{photo credit}

Update! We’ve finished Round One of the series and have started Round Two! To catch up, check out these wonderful posts:

Mary Carver: “Surprise! I Was a Lousy Wife”
Emily Anderson: “I’m a Runner”
Anne Bogel: “One Thing We Were Horrible At”
Julie Renbarger: “The Little Things that Pull People Apart”
Alisa Bowman: Do All Couples Settle?
Jill Anderson: Fighting the Pull to Drift Apart

Linked up with Wifey Wednesdays and Life in Grace

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie E October 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

This is awesome, Erica!! Can’t wait to read what’s to come :)
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jaysa October 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I look forward to reading them. Good topic!

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Erica {let why lead} October 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Thank you, Jaysa! I’m excited about the topic too.

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Erica {let why lead} October 8, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Me too, Katie! :) And thank you so much for sharing on facebook! I’m excited that we’re officially friends now. :)

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Katie E October 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

My pleasure! I am, too! :)
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Ashley Ponder Richards October 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I am extremely excited about this series. I’ve found marriage to be much more difficult than I ever could have thought. Such a brave series!
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Erica {let why lead} October 8, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Thank you, Ashley! I agree! When you’re smack in the middle of falling in love, it is almost impossible to believe that your two personalities will actually make it pretty hard on each other, at times! Thanks for following along!

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allison October 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I am so excited about this! I am looking forward to reading some encouraging thoughts about marriage. Having a kid sure rocks a marriage and I feel like my husband and I are still trying to figure it all out!
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Erica {let why lead} October 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Oh definitely, Allison! I think it’s related to the fact that having a child doubles (triples? quadruples?) our responsibilities, so there is a lot more to negotiate with a spouse. Way more give and take becomes necessary, and it can be so hard to figure that out as a couple. Hopefully one of our writers will touch on that! (And if not, maybe I will!)

Great to hear from you, Allison. Have a lovely week.

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Andrea October 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

What a great series! I’m looking forward to following. I was engaged before I met my {now} husband and I called the wedding off a month before I was set to walk down the aisle. I’m so grateful for that decision. Even though I’m with a man who is worth of my love and we have a beautiful little boy together, marriage “aint for the birds.” (Did I just make that expression up? Or is that a real saying!?) Ha! I’m not sure how long you are hoping the series to last, but if you are interested in another guest writer, I would love to contribute! – Andrea :)
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Erica {let why lead} October 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Andrea! I totally thought I responded to this comment (perhaps I drafted it but never hit submit), so ignore me if you’re getting this twice! :)

What an incredibly heavy decision, to call off a marriage. I’m so glad you’re with the right one now, but yes, no matter how well matched you are, there is ALWAYS going to be a lot of give and take, especially once kids come a long.

If the series does well and is beneficial for readers, I’d love to do another round, maybe in the early spring. I will let you know if I do! (And feel free to remind me!) Have a great weekend, girl!

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Lisa October 9, 2013 at 3:02 am

One of my biggest realizations was that you don’t have to want to be together ALL the time–there are very few couples that do well in that type of situation. The realization that I was normal was a big relief! :)
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Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect October 9, 2013 at 3:34 am

Thank you so much for including me in this series! I’m in such great company with that list of writers!!
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Kristen @ One in 1 Hundred October 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I love this idea!! Cannot wait to read what everyone has to say. I can add one thing that really surprised me about marriage is that often it works out much better for me, and my husband, if i bite my tongue more times than not. I am a very open person and like to talk things out immediately. My husband is much more reserved. It took me a while to realize somethings are better not said, especially in certain moments. It was hard for me to hold my tongue at times. I really learned the hard way. I was quite surprised to see how the situation found a way of working itself out without a long dragged out late night “discussion”.

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Erica {let why lead} October 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm

“A long dragged out late night ‘discussion’” is my favorite line ever. :) Do all women just love those? And by love, I mean despise but sometimes feel like it is imperative. :)

I too am getting better at holding my tongue. My problem is that for a few days (or maaayybe a whole pregnancy), I’ll work something up in my head, and if I can just wait it out, I usually realize I was totally overreacting and there was no need for it to come to a head.

I’m excited to see what these women write, too. Thanks so much, as always, for your thoughtful comment. Enjoy your weekend!

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Nat October 10, 2013 at 11:50 pm

If you’re looking for a newlywed point of view in the Spring, I’m your gal! XO.

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Erica {let why lead} October 11, 2013 at 2:19 am

You will probably still be on cloud nine! But I would be ecstatic to have you!

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Missy Robinson October 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I’m a new reader, but look forward to the marriage series. I’m a forty year old newlywed and have a great deal of history with both the good and the challenging parts of marriage. Best wishes to all the young ones out there!
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Donna February 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Visiting from Edie’s. Great post on marriage.
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