On September 10 I will be celebrating five years of marriage with my husband. People often see us together, laughing at and with one another. They see the mushy ‘I love you’s”, they hear him bragging about how much he loves me, see me bragging about how amazing he is to me. Everyone thinks that we just have this perfect relationship and I have been asked how we do it. In all honesty we are far from perfect.
I remember when we first got married how we had been together for two years and had only had one real argument. We even thought we were the perfect couple because we were always open and honest with one another. We never hid things from each other, and we always told each other how the other felt about something. I remember thinking our honeymoon phase would last forever, and we’d never fight and always be madly in love and living the fairy tale.
Life doesn’t work that way. While Tim and I have an amazing relationship, its unnatural for a man and a woman to live in the same house for so long and remain this happily ever after picture perfect facade. I learned quickly the differences between the two of us in that first month of marriage. We both came from completely different worlds where the house got cleaned differently, the TV schedule was different, even the way we sat down to have a meal was different. Tim and I quickly found out that while we were dating and engaged and all that time we spent together, we had never found any common ground except for how crazy we were about each other. To this day the only things Tim and I have in common are we both listen to Linkin Park, our son, our dogs, and we are still crazy about each other. That’s it. Everything else we ever do is a compromise. I love to make home cooked meals, Tim would rather have microwave dinners. (Yes I can cook, he just doesn’t like home cooked meals.) I love to dance, Tim would rather just listen to music. I love the experience, Tim love the materials. I hate horror movies, Tim will only watch a movie if its scary or gory. I love to read and write, Tim would rather pick on me for being a nerd. I love to travel (when its not for work purposes.) Tim would rather sit at home. I like to cuddle, Tim likes his space. I like to save money, Tim likes to spend it. We have nothing in common.
In spite of all that, I can’t sleep at night unless he’s next to me. I will sit through an idiotic movie with him just to spend time with him, and then I’ll force him to watch a movie that I like to get back at him. We lay in bed at night and watch Fail Army videos on youtube just to have time at the end of the day to laugh together. We even have a quiet time at some point during the week where we do a devotional of some kind. We have our moments where we find that common ground where we both remember why it is we chose each other. I think without those moments we would fall apart.
Five years ago I remember thinking we would never fight, we would be that happy perfect couple forever. We were planning on adopting a little girl and were already in love with the idea of being parents to a baby that needed to be saved. A few weeks after we got married, we found out about Grace’s mother aborting her and I was broken. What I had seen as being this perfect happily ever after got shattered after only the first few weeks of newlywed bliss. You can ask anyone, the day that I got that phone call, “Are you ready to be a mom?” I was jumping up and down the street in front of my mother’s house in tears, balling like a baby because not only was that baby safe from a horrible fate, but in a few short months I was going to be rocking her to sleep and telling her that I was her mommy. And then a few weeks later I read a blog from the mother on myspace about the details of what she went through during her abortion. She didn’t’ call me, didn’t warn me, in fact I was blocked from reading the blog a family member had seen it and knew that I was still preparing to bring that little one home, she sent me a copy of it so that I knew. That was the first time during our marriage that Tim and I suffered a loss together. When we were first dating he helped me through the loss of my Papa, but this was the first time we’d lost someone together, because even though Tim was terrified of becoming a parent, he was heart broken when we read that blog and found out our little one was taken away in such a horrible way.
I got promoted at work a few months after that and my job became a lot more stressful. I’d come home in snappy moods. His work schedule had changed so he was sleeping while I was working and he was working while I was sleeping. We had lunch together every day, but that was about as much as we saw of each other. That November I was told that I couldn’t have children, and I thought we had lost our chance at being parents after Grace, which led me into another breakdown. I had grown up the big sister of two younger sisters. I had always seen myself as a mother and to find out that I not only would I not be able to have my own children, I’d already lost the child I was going to adopt. It was just a painful experience. That was when Tim said he didn’t care what the doctor’s said, we were still going to try and get pregnant. He had told me time and time again that he didn’t want to have a kid yet, that losing Grace had been God’s way of telling us to wait. But when he saw how bad I wanted to be a mother and then to see it taken away from me, he swallowed that fear. We prayed and prayed and every time the pregnancy test said negative I would have an hour to myself where I just prayed and cried while he was at work so that he wouldn’t see.
On valentine’s day I had gone to the tag office to renew my car tag and there were a lot of issues that came up. Things that would normally just annoy me to the point of giving up and trying again later, but I ended up crying and calling my mother. She heard how emotional I was over something so simple and told me to take a pregnancy test. I didn’t want to see that negative sign again, on such a rough day the last thing I needed was something else to cry about, but I drove to walmart anyway. In the parking lot I fixed my tear stained face and I prayed. In that moment God gave me these softly whispered words, “You have to prepare your field if you’re going to pray for rain.” I’d heard it before in a movie, but those words laid on my heart as I walked through the store. I grabbed a pregnancy test and then went over to the baby isle. That day I bought a pack of newborn diapers, a package of white onezies, a cheap diaper bag, and a teddy bear along with my pregnancy test. That day I got a positive sign and I cried more than I did any of the times that I saw a negative sign put together.
The next nine months were a struggle. I had a very complicated pregnancy, my job stressed me out so much that I was put on bed rest for the last three months of my pregnancy, and Tim’s income was all we had. Financial burdens are one of the most stressful strains put on a marriage in my opinion. The only time Tim and I ever fought during those days it was always about money. Something that matters so little and so much all at the same time nearly broke us.
When Braiden was born, we fought because neither of us were getting enough sleep. As he got older we fought about how to raise him; if we’d spank, if he’d believe in santa claus, would we do day care or would I stay at home, how would I go to school. All things we should’ve thought about before we’d got pregnant I know, but we’re different. We brought those problems on ourselves by not planning ahead, but we made it through every single one. We still fight but its never in front of Braiden. Even when we’re fuming and ready to scream and holler at one another, we always take it outside, to our room or wait until Braiden is asleep if we know there’s no way either of us are going to be calm. We don’t fight in front other people, we don’t even talk to other people about our problems. We agreed a long time ago that if we had an issue that it was our issue and no one else’s. Yes we each have someone that we can vent to when we don’t want to vent to each other, but we trust those people not to judge us or butt in, they’re just there for us like we’re there for them. That’s where that happy, perfect, just right for one another picture comes from, because I don’t like people to witness my failings or our failings as a couple.
When Tim’s grandparents passes away about a year apart from each other, I saw my husband broken for the first time. When we lost Gracie he’s been upset, and to this day he still has nights where he lets a few tears fall for the daughter we never knew. But when his grandpa passed away Tim barely spoke to me for a week. The day of Grandpa’s funeral I felt how Tim had felt when my Papa died. There was nothing in the world I could do to make it better for him. I knew that. I remember Tim holding me while I cried at Papa’s grave a month after he’d passed away. A few weeks after Grandpa passed Tim called me in tears because he couldn’t find Grandpa’s grave. He’d been walking through the cemetery for hours and hadn’t found Billy and he was devastated. I drove out there with Braiden and helped Tim find the gravesite where I watched my husband crumble in emotion, something I had only seen twice and that was that day and the day Braiden was born. The day Pat died Tim disappeared. He wouldn’t answer his phone. I was at home with Braiden and Tim had just left after we’d gotten the phone call. I heard the truck crank up and then he was gone. After a couple of hours I got even more worried and Braiden and I went riding around. We went to Pat’s house, Tim wasn’t there. Drove all over town and couldn’t find him or get him to answer his phone. He came home later that night, and the raw emotion on my husband’s face broke me. He said he’d gone out to Grandpa’s grave and then went for a walk along the river to clear his head. As stupid as it sounds we fought that day, because I felt so hurt that he would disappear like that and leave me at home to worry about if he were coming home or not. It was a petty reason to fight and I felt awful for it, but we did and for another week we knew nothing but silence and the ‘I love you’ before we went to sleep.
In the last seven years I’ve learned that I’m in love with one of the most aggravating men on the planet. A man who will make a joke about absolutely anything. A man who would rather me buy him a video game than give him a hug. A man who will teach my son to love frogs and bring them to mommy because she will run out of the house screaming like a lunatic. A man who will buy my son nerf guns and teach him to practice shoot foam darts at mommy because its fun. A man who will pick on my about the way I breathe just to get on my nerves because he likes the way my nose flares when I get mad. A man who won’t even read this blog that’s completely about him because its too long and he doesn’t like to read even when I’ve poured my heart into it. A man who won’t read the sweet things I post on Facebook about him because he hates Facebook. A man who calls me beautiful when I’m in boxers and a tank top with my hair pulled up in some weird looking bun and my glasses on my face. A man who will say ‘hey gorgeous’ and time he answers the phone for me. A man who will stand toe to toe with my mother (Who is the scariest person I know). A man who will go get my name, our wedding date, our wedding vows, and our ‘forever and a day’ phrase tattooed on his body just because he couldn’t think of anything he wanted with him more permanently than me.
So, five years of being married to someone who makes me shake my head more than I could ever imagine…its not perfect. Its not a fairy tale. Its not always fun or easy. There are tears. There is screaming. There is anger. There is sadness. There are bad days. So many imperfections, and yet I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I love my husband and all our many screw ups because while love and trust are the foundation of our relationship, those flaws and arguments….they are the cracks in the walls, the stains on the carpets, the broken shutters on the windows that give our story charm and appeal. Who wants perfection? Perfection is boring. Happily ever after is unexciting. Normal is stupid. What we have is so much better than the fairy tales, because its real and its going to last forever.