I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Julie from The Girl in the Red Shoes. Her wonderful breastfeeding series (which I was lucky to be a part of) was the inspiration for The Marriage Diaries, so naturally, I recruited her to contribute! A big welcome to Julie and any new visitors today! I love talking about relationships, and if you do too, you’ll feel right at home.
Five years of marriage may not seem like a lot to some, but it is to me. That’s five years of making beds, cooking meals, giving back rubs, snuggling on the couch, inside jokes, fighting over emptying the dishwasher, and choosing to love someone more than you love yourself. Five years of putting someone else’s needs above your own. And let’s face it….it’s hard work. Five years together has taught me a lot about myself and what it means to be a wife first and a mother second.
My husband and I met each other while I was in graduate school. I made a seemingly daring (and some could argue foolish) decision to move from my home state of sunny California to bitterly cold Michigan for school. After meeting my husband and falling head over heals for a Michigan boy (just like my mom warned me not to do!) I moved my entire life across the country to be with him. I was 25 when we were married and thought everything would be picture perfect. What can I say? I was young and naive!
In our 5 years of marriage we’ve both learned that staying married doesn’t just happen. It takes work. LOTS of work. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. I like my alone time and my space. I like order and a clean home. I like beds made each morning and towels folded and put away. I like bathroom sinks that are wiped down daily and shoes stored away in their proper place. I think I spent the first few years of our marriage stressing out about those things. Why couldn’t my husband understand that my happiness depended on him putting away his own laundry and hanging up his coat? Why did I have to nag him every time he forgot to put his dirty clothes in the hamper or put his dishes in the dish washer? It seems silly, but I’ve found that it’s the little things that can pull two people apart.
Now that we have a child, the window of time with my husband gets smaller every day. It’s all too easy for our marriage to get lost in the demands of a cranky toddler, or in dinner dumped on all over the floor, or spit-up in my hair, on the couch…basically everywhere. While we wouldn’t trade our life together for anything, sometimes when it’s time for bed and we haven’t had time for one conversation with each other it can make for a pretty unhappy couple. An over tired wife and burned out husband don’t make for a happy marriage.
It took having a baby for me to realize that all those silly little things that used to really upset me really do not matter. What matters is that I have a partner I can trust. Someone who will love me even when I roll my eyes at him or boss him around. Someone who will stay up late with me while I nurse a newborn to sleep or who will call the doctor in the middle of the night the first time our son has a cold. A husband who will run out to get my favorite ice cream when a craving hits or will let the cat sit on his shoulders while I laugh and snap a photo so I can document it for all of Instagram. Those are the things that matter. Putting my husband first matters. Letting him love me like no one else can matters.
It’s sometimes hard, but I’m learning to put blinders on when it comes to my husband. To only see the good in him instead of the piles of clothes on the floor or dirty dishes. I may stumble, but at least I’m trying. After all, I vowed to love this man in sickness and in health, until death due us part. And God-willing, that is a long, long, time. The laundry can wait.
Julie is a lifestyle and mommy blogger over at The Girl in the Red Shoes. She loves finding beauty in everyday things and spends her free time blogging and creating a network of support for mothers through a weekly breastfeeding series on her blog. When she’s not obsessing over her Instagram feed, she can be found snuggling on the couch with her husband, chasing her son around the living room, and eating girl scout cookies.