This coming Sunday, Freddy and I will be marking our 6th month of marriage by teaching small group at our church, catching our Sunday service after, and meeting up with friends at a Whitecaps baseball game. Freddy thinks celebrating “month-marker anniversaries” is foolish, so I’ve arranged the game as the perfect “unassuming” way to make the day a little special for us.
Truth is? 6 months is a big deal to me. It is not a big deal in the sense that I didn’t think we would make it this long or I can’t believe how quickly time has gone. A) We’ve made a life commitment that we intent to keep until death do us part and B) we are painfully aware of how much faster life becomes the older we get. That being said, 6 months is significant to me because… (don’t judge here)… I think it’s taken us this long to find our groove.
When Freddy first added his words to this blog, I felt a little slighted. Although he did take the time to explain that he didn’t really feel like he was floating belly up during the first 6 weeks of our marriage, he implied that married life was comparatively as jolting as the Meijer fish plunged into new and frigid waters. Ouch!
Yet despite my best efforts to be as honest as I can be about the ups and downs of newlywed life, my husband was the one to cut right to the punchline while I found myself dancing around it. The first six weeks were hard. And when the first six weeks turned into the first three months and then the first five months, I kept thinking to myself: “This is amazing, but when does it stop being so hard?”
Please keep this in mind: Living together is a challenge. It’s a brilliant, exciting challenge but it’s a challenge all the same.
I had a friend tell me that when she and her man moved in together, it took them 5 months to stop the petty arguments and find a peace with their new living situation. When 5 months came and went, I cried. I nearly sobbed. I broke down in a grandiose and childish way, citing everything that wasn’t going according to my perfect plan for my marriage to my bewildered and frustrated husband. He wasn’t thrilled about our current state either but you wouldn’t find him crying about it.
You see, we couldn’t have guessed that transitioning in work would put such a strain on this perfect image we were trying to create. We couldn’t have guessed that the very image we deemed perfect was actually flawed from the start because it required a plan, our plan, and the world’s willingness to play by our rules. (Okay, so we probably could have figured out that last one, but there was a lot going on to distract us and aren’t we entitled to that? Ha. So much to learn…)
In the many conversations that followed my dramatic fallout, we talked about things like: expectations for us as individuals and expectations for us as a couple, scheduling time for each other – the necessity of intimate time, the benefits of “sharing space” together while working on our individual tasks, and the need for alone time. We talked about career goals, work demands, and healthy hours to spend at our jobs. We admitted to one another that some days we needed to fake it until we made it (ex. when bringing the stresses of our days home with us and suddenly being asked to give each other our best, we needed to slap on that smile and deliver). We talked about the malleability of husband/wife roles with regard to different periods of life. We covered A LOT of ground.
Here is a cliff notes version of one those discussion that led to my biggest “light bulb” moments:
Work demands started taking up more and more of our schedules on both sides, making me desperate for Freddy’s attention every minute that I had him in front of me. I not only wanted him to be focused when I had my time with him but I wanted every free minute of his time. Yipes! Okay, I can see how that looks when I write it out now, but I promise you that when you are in the midst of feeling disconnected and alone, you think that it’s the only solution!
During one of our conversations, I offered up that I knew he needed more personal time and more friend time. In that same breath, I was also explaining that I felt I couldn’t afford giving it to him. I felt hurt if he asked to go golfing on our one free day and I thought that it was my job to fight for our time together.
Are you ready? Queue the light bulb:
My role as Freddy’s partner might involve putting my own needs on the back burner – essentially volunteering for last place when things get hectic.
I agreed to step back. And I asked for a lot of help and consideration from him when I got needy. Time passed and Freddy started to find more time outside of work. He started having more time with friends. And I started feeling less neglected. In fact, the more I let go – the closer I felt to my husband. And the more time we actually had with each other. Or maybe it was just more quality time of the time we had. Whatever. The point is, I had to change the way I was looking at it all. I cited “our relationship” as the reason for my neediness but what I was really saying was “Me! Me! Me!.”
When I started to view our time apart as a way to honor my husband, it became so much easier! And now we’re a week away from our 6 month-marker and we have this new level of peace, understanding, and tolerance. We also have a new level of intimacy. And instead of focusing my thoughts on “Does this get easier?,” I’m enjoying my time with Freddy. He’s fun. And funny. And incredibly sexy. And caring and attentive. I just needed to stop pulling him so close to me so I could see the bigger picture for our marriage.
Happy 6 months! 🙂