When I stood at the altar and said my vows I said that I knew marriage was going to be hard, I claimed to know I would never want to take the easy way out. When I kissed Steve and traveled back down the aisle, I saw our life, two kids, a dog, smiling and happy. I never pictured a roommate. Steve and I have been married for seven years and together for twelve, so we have a few under our belt.
The thing about marriage “problems” is that sometimes they don’t really seem like problems until you wake up and think, “how did we get here?” These stem from every day things, like not wanting to watch movies together and getting mad because you have to pick up after each other (sorry Steve). Those little things kind of spiraled and one day I woke up feeling like I had a roommate and not a romantic partner. It really started with just not wanting to do the same things. I think a fair share of alone time, or time apart is healthy, but the majority of our time had become apart. This was life pre-kids, so the only complication was me and him. I started feeling like he didn’t want to be around me and so eventually I just stopped asking and started doing whatever I wanted to do. In all honesty, I took a very selfish route. Yes, there are two factors in every story, two people that make a marriage work but I stopped being one of the people trying.
This led to resentment. Steve was mad because I was never home, I was mad because he was always home and that left two of us, just mad and too stubborn to do anything about it. I remember at one point thinking that if I had enough guts I would just leave because this wasn’t how marriage was supposed to be. Thankfully those thoughts were fleeting because this is exactly what marriage is. It is ups, it is downs, and sometimes, just like in Nottingham, the downs outnumber the ups. Is this normal? Totally. Did I look at my marriage and feel like it had failed? Absolutely. The worst part for me was that these problems didn’t happen five years into our marriage, they happened a mere six months after the fateful “I Do.” I had come to the conclusion, I had failed my marriage. I was actually in a pretty dark place in my life. I was ignoring Jesus (always a bad idea), I couldn’t find a job doing what I wanted, I felt my job was beneath me, we were living with Steve’s parents and I had big head full of what I “deserved.” Eventually we bought a house, which didn’t help my inner sanctimoniousness, it just meant I lived in a house with a roommate husband I was just as unhappy it was just in some new scenery. I forgot who I married and thought only about me and what I was supposed to have. Selfishness does not make for a good partnership. I started always expecting to get and never expecting to have to give. This went over like a horror movie on Christmas morning.
One day it hit a breaking point. It was like, Becca, you have to S*#t or get off the pot here. The pot was what I knew, and truthfully I didn’t want a marriage that had turned to S*#t. I was going to try once again. In steps season tickets to the Predators. Yes, folks, hockey saved my marriage. (Ok, Joyce Meyer Battlefield of the Mind helped.) Steve and I found some common ground, something we could do together and have fun doing. Something that brought us together at least once a week for some Steve, Becca and glove-throwing, hard-hitting, hockey action! Also, from reading Joyce Meyer’s book I realized it was me who had to make a change. I couldn’t make Steve do anything but I could change the way I looked at it. By doing this, I was trying and it was easier for him to try too. I don’t mean to say that you should gloss over every little thing, “He beats me but I just must be taking it the wrong way” is not ok. But, knowing that I could look at him in a positive light and change the way I reacted to thing things that annoyed me gave me a renewed sense of contentment withing my marriage and within myself. I thought my husband was fun again, he had worth to me and so did our marriage. It wasn’t something I was willing to give up on. We can’t go to Preds games as much as we used to, but we can watch them together on TV and we have semi-regular dance parties in our living room.
I could not live in the euphoric state of an early relationships, quite frankly, that exhausts me. It was great then wanting to spend every minute together, when you get up early or stay up late just so you can take each other in, hanging on every word. You can not live a lifetime like that. At some point, you know each others stories, you can finish the punchlines and you wouldn’t have it any other way. Let’s face it, there is something to be said for having a full time pimple popper in the house. There is a great sense in looking back and seeing how far you have come and looking forward to see how far you have to go. Life gets messy and stressful and it can be easy to fall into a negative state of woe is me, but when I stop and really look around I love what I see. A small house, our first house, two babies who teach us so much about ourselves, three dogs, who spend way too much time outside, and one husband who is my balance in the force. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Please join us on February 16th for Vowentines and a chance to renew your marriage. Think of it as a nice refreshing Co-cola for your marriage after a long hot day in the sun.