The Marriage Diaries: Little Things that Pull People Apart

by Erica Layne on November 26, 2013

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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.

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Colleen November 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I absolutely love this story and adore Julie! I think we all get caught up in those little details of how our spouse could be better, and it’s a slippery slope. Thank you for the reminder to “put blinders on” more often than not :)
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Erica - Let Why Lead November 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Thanks, Colleen! It really is a slippery slope, and so easy to get on! I have plenty of room for improvement, but I’m glad that I’ve gotten better at rolling with things over the years. Plenty of practice, I suppose! :) Enjoy your Thanksgiving, cute girl!

erin November 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm

yes yes and yes! i’m right there with the everything neat and folded and in its place otherwise i’m a huge grump! but heck yes- having a toddler teaches you patience for the mess, patience for the husband, and more importantly to cherish what little alone time you get together! love you smilie!
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Erica - Let Why Lead November 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Hi Erin! Me too! I’ve relaxed over the years (having kids kinda gives you no choice!), and I’m grateful for that. Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’ll come again!

julie November 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Thank you so much for having me! I LOVE this series and am so glad I got to share! xoxo
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michelle November 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for this post, just found your blog, it’s lovely!

Erica - Let Why Lead November 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Hi Michelle – thank you! At first glance, your looks lovely too! I’m excited to explore it more during quiet time today! :)

Tiffany November 26, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Love this advice! I definitely had a rough time when my husband and I moved in together about some of those same things since I loved having things clean and in order and my husband just does not see things in the same way! Over time, I’ve relaxed on this as well. Having a child definitely does make you focus on what’s important and only what’s important as there really isn’t time for all of the rest!

Erica - Let Why Lead November 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Thanks, Tiffany! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Ariane November 26, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Glad to read that I’m not the only one married to a grown man who always leaves his dirty clothes on the floor!

Brandi November 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Loved this! Thank you for the reminder its about the good things and those little things are so important.

Whitney November 26, 2013 at 4:56 pm

My secret to happiness at home is this: I was raised in the South, we take care of our men (and our home, ourselves and our children). I do not ask my partner to do domestic things. That is my domain. He appreciates all that I do and shows it to me. I take great pride in the fact that I work full-time, workout at least once every day, cook a meal every night for my family,attend all of my daughter’s activities, have weekly date nights and keep a tidy house. Life is too short to nag our husbands/partners. I let him take care of the $$ and I take care of the rest. It makes me happy. That’s the thing about marriage, everyone has to find what works for them.

Erica - Let Why Lead November 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Wow, Whitney. I don’t know many women who could do that much without experiencing some serious burnout at some point – I know I would! I prefer to share the load more with my husband, but there have been times in our marriage when I needed to pick up a lot more (like the years when he worked 60-90 hours a week) and other times when he has picked up more because I’ve had a lot going on. I appreciate the give and take.

As you said, it’s all about finding what works for you! Best wishes!

Eileen (Lobster Meets Peach) November 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm

What a great series Michelle! Marriage is work and like Julie says you have to “put up blinders”. I am sure there is a long list of things that I do that drive my husband nuts, too! Over 12 years of marriage and three children, we choose daily to work on our marriage. It might be work but to me it is so worth it!!!

Christina November 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Yes, yes, and yes. I made a similar move that you did Julie- from Florida, to bitterly cold Michigan for four years! My husband was accepted to medical school in Ann Arbor and we took the leap. It was hard, but now that we’ve moved again (to somewhere warmer) I can see now that it grew us closer, and made us stronger. I fight the same daily battles with my husband, some days he remembers to pick up his clothes, load the dishwasher, etc, and some days he doesn’t. But there are worse things to fight about, right? And thankfully those are the things we usually fight about! ;) Great post, and great series, can’t wait to read more!
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Erica - Let Why Lead November 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Hi Christina! I LOVE that perspective – being grateful that what you’re fighting about is small compared to the much bigger, foundational issues you *could* be fighting about instead. Thank you!

Jenny November 30, 2013 at 12:49 am

what a great series! glad I found it through Julie’s blog! such an important topic to discuss because marriage is hard work for sure! Julie you are so right about how important it is to trust each other!

Katie E December 1, 2013 at 12:43 am

Oh I love this post! And this awesome series! This is stirring ideas for Wonderfully Made…I may be conferring with you soon, my friend :)
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