Get Real is a 6 week series collaborated by a handful of bloggers, inspired by Tonya (Plain and Joyful Living) and Adrie (Fields & Fire), to open up the wide abyss of realness. The realness that lies behind the pretty pictures and face value of each and every one of us. The realness that we all struggle with at times. Get Real is a little peek behind the scenes; talking about what different areas *really* look like in our life, while juggling our families, work, and personal needs. We would love to have you share in the comments. This week’s topic:
I have been attempting to write this post in my mind for the past six weeks, knowing that it was going to be the hardest one for me to write about. I am going to be quite honest, when I read through the list of “get real” topics, when I got to week six: marriage, my heart skipped a beat and dropped like a rock into my stomach. Marriage is one thing that I never find myself writing about, ever. And for the past six weeks I have really had that very thought on my mind. What could I share about marriage?
All of the other topics: dinnertime, household chores, homesteading, work and creativity, homeschooling…well, I get those topics and feel comfortable with them. They are parts of my life that just come intuitively to me. If my life were a book, those parts would be short essays, but marriage? Marriage would be more like a novel…with considerable length and complexity to it.
Marriage is about learning to work together with someone who has their own ideas, incentives, and agendas for not just a day, but a lifetime. It is when two people come together, yet within the process are forced to learn a whole heck of a lot about themselves. Some of the lessons are easy; most of them are very hard. Marriage is about respecting each other as individuals on our own personal paths toward self discovery. Once we know ourselves as individuals better; once we can really love who we are as individuals, then we can be more fully present in our relationship/marriage. Marriage is all about letting go of our expectations…and more letting go, and more letting go, and I don’t know if there’s an end to the letting go part.
Currently, in my life, I feel as if my husband and I are two ships sailing in the night, crossing paths occasionally at bedtime, each going separate ways, while tending to the needs of our children. I know that this is a bittersweet place that we are in together as a family with young children. Since we both know and understand this, we share that connection. We both know (although sometimes it is hard to remember) that all too soon, little ones will not need a mama or papa to stay so close, and gradually we will find more time to claim as our own. The other challenge we face is that we moved away from family and friends last year. We used to be able to leave the kids with my husband’s mom at least once a month to go out on a dinner date, but it has been a long long time since we have gotten to spend any time alone. So, we stay put and do our best. We also used to stay up and watch episodes of The Office, but since we moved we really haven’t found much time for that either. I think maintaining a relationship during the years of having young children can be tricky. It is easy to forget the importance of nurturing that connection, when there are little people demanding and truly needing our attention for survival, and finding/creating the time for it is hard when there is a baby in the mix.
With a lot of things, I feel like the real challenge lies within my self. So, recently I have been really focusing on creating space and time for myself. Even if it is just ten minutes in the morning to sit down and write, or ten minutes in the afternoon to go for a walk, or ten minutes at some point to do a couple of sun salutations…that is my desires/hopes/vision for my self. For my husband, he has been focusing on himself through a project he got involved with a few years ago, regular bi weekly meetings and mentoring at the retreats, help him to be the very best he wants to be in his life. I feel like the more centered we can be within ourselves, the more centered we can be in our relationship with each other. So right now, when we are so busy with a young family, I feel is a great time to be creating that space for ourselves as individuals.
There’s nothing that makes me happier and feel more nurtured in my marriage though, then seeing my husband loving and involved and nurturing our children. They are a huge extension of myself; of us, so by loving them, I feel loved; by nurturing them, I feel nurtured. I hope he sees it in a similar way. Marriage is a lot of work. A lot of us grow up thinking marriage is some sort of fairy tale, where you always get along and are madly in love. While it can feel that way at times, the majority of it involves a lot of self work and digging deep and learning to see someone else, who is entirely different then you…as an extension of who you are, and learning to love all of it, even the parts that we do not like.
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you
don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not
doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or
less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have
problems with our friends or family, we blame the other
person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will
grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive
effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason
and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no
reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you
understand, and you show that you understand, you can
love, and the situation will change”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
A special thank you to Adrie and Tonya for initiating the Get Real series. It has really helped me to dig a bit deeper in some areas that I have had a bit of a struggle in writing about. I have enjoyed every bit of it and hope you have too.