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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Strong Marriages Beget Strong Families

Your Marriage Isn't About YOU: And other things I've learned the second time around....

Let's start at the beginning: I was married in 2005 to my high school sweetheart. We had been together by that time, going on 11 years.

We filed for divorce in 2006. 

I know, I know... Not much better than Britney Spears, right? 

So FAST FORWARD to 2009 when I marry my now husband, conveniently for purposes of the blog, called "hubby" ;) When we decided to get married, having both been divorced and both having children, we knew this had to be a calculated move. We decided to truly commit to one another, and to assist us in cementing this ideal, we wrote our own vows. 
Now, perhaps the words "truly commit" sound rather redundant when talking about marriage...

While I can only speak for myself (meaning I'm not sure Hubby would relate verbatim to what I'm going to express here): I am certain that the commitment is what was missing from my first marriage. And no fault of my ex husbands. We had been together so long that marriage was just the next step! I was 24 when we got engaged... dreaming about getting married... I couldn't wait to plan the wedding... and then just naively expected that everything else would be immediate and always happy. To break it down to its' simplest form: I was a selfish brat. I expected the hardest part of being married to be planning the wedding. Epic Fail.

I didn't know then what I know now: Marriage is work. Marriage is HARD work. MY marriage is NOT about ME. 

 It is work, just like parenting. But, just like parenting, it can be infinitely rewarding. In retrospect, I had spent too much time (even in the beginning of my current marriage) being a bit of a feminist. My emotional struggle with "giving in" and my holding onto own expectations were overwhelming my ability to be a good wife. 

Attempting to put all of this into words that make sense is proving harder than I thought! But sometime right before the birth of Baby B  ,I learned the term helpmeet and it changed my marriage;

It was learning the true meaning of this seemingly strange word that gave me the emotional permission to work for my marriage instead of expecting it to work for me. 

 I had spent so long working (emotionally) at not becoming someone's doormat, that I felt like if I had to work at my marriage, I was somehow "settling" or jeopardizing my womanhood. Enveloping the role of helpmeet has made me feel more like a wife than ever before! For someone who struggles with anxiety, feeling like a "good" wife in turn makes me feel like a better mom, I feel like I accomplish more during the day, I am more motivated, I am happier... it even makes me feel more, dare I say, sexy! Ok, ok, so I still have quite a few pounds to lose before I feel really sexy ;) But putting all the emotional energy that I was using toward "not being a doormat" and redirecting it toward showing unyielding appreciation, love, and affection to my husband has improved our marriage, and our family, dramatically.

Eve was not designed to be exactly like Adam. She was designed to be his mirror opposite, possessing the other half of the qualities, responsibilities, and attributes which he lacked. Just like Adam and Eve's sexual organs were physically mirror opposites (one being internal and the other external) so were their their divine stewardship designed to be opposite but fit together perfectly to create life. Eve was Adam's complete spiritual equal, endowed with a saving power that was opposite from his.

Opposite but still equal. In its simplest terms: He envelopes his role (in OUR family, at THIS time) as leader, husband, father and breadwinner; and I envelope my role (again, in OUR family at THIS time) as wife, mother, and caretaker. 

We are by no means suddenly time traveling back to the 1950's. We just make it a point daily to bring everything back to our commitment to each other. Whether we are blissful, tired, bickering, or barely speaking ;) we both are committed.  Since I know that we are both working towards the same goal as a team, I feel comfortable letting go. 

That's right. I relinquished the control ;) and my life hasn't been happier. He is our leader. Like the mature lion in a pride, we look to him for our next step, our daily affirmations, and of course, the money for our bills! <3 

I find ways to appreciate my husband daily regardless of the type of day we're having. I find the most inspiration from Unveiled Wife  and Happy Wives Club

And this is a two way street. I do not feel depleted in any way. All the energy I expend is returned. I am replenished daily by hubby's appreciation and commitment to me and our family.

Our Family Appreciation Night  has been a way for us to extend the same display of commitment and appreciation to each and every member of the family. We all share responsibility and we all share LOVE <3 

How have YOU shown your spouse/partner/kids that you appreciate them today?? 

Give a SHOUT OUT your favorite site for FAMILY or relationship inspiration below! 


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