Last year, a friend “challenged” me to post some pictures of my marriage for 7 days on Facebook. Instead of just posting pictures though, I wrote about the struggles and stories I had during the 10 years of my marriage. I didn’t just share about the good things in our marriage, I shared about the dark days we had too. I knew that people would be able to relate, and I wanted them to know that they were not alone but also that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. This is one of the posts I wrote and wanted to share it with you because sometimes we get so sucked into our careers and supporting our families financially that we forgot to also work on strengthening the most important relationships in our lives. It’s not the ones with your clients. It’s the one with your life partner.
When Things Started to Go Downhill
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but boy they made it known that they arrived and were here to stay! I remember when I had 2 kids under 3 years old and date nights and sleeping in were non-existent. I remember lying in bed hoping the kids would cry out for Daddy so that he had to get up in the middle of the night instead of me. I remember Xander would squirm around so much that it was like a wrestling match to try to change his diaper that I broke down and cried (Postpartum blues). I remember resenting my husband because he couldn’t breastfeed, and I had to wake up every 2 hours to feed the hungry little parasite. Everything was depressing – motherhood, marriage, life – the lack of a sex life. I mean who has the freaking energy to have sex when you are sleep deprived? He was lucky if I even changed my underwear or took a shower. I don’t know what I expected – it just wasn’t this. It was a balancing act that I successfully failed at. Our marriage was different from what it was — before kids. I just wanted to feel connected again.
One of Our Worst Fights
I clearly remember a huge fight I had with my husband on one of those depressing nights. I remember leaving the house through the garage door, taking my kids and driving off. He was still yelling as I was backing out my car. I had to hold in all my cries because the kids were in the backseat and I didn’t want them to hear me. I remember feeling like the world was on top of my chest – so much heaviness, and it hurt to breathe or even catch my breath. And then the thoughts…oh, those nasty thoughts. I wanted to punish him so badly and make him sorry he ever said those hurtful things to me. And then somehow within those crazy thoughts, there was a voice of reason. I heard “Accept responsibility.” I was like – what the heck did I just hear? And that thought came back. “Accept responsibility.”
It took a few days for us to start talking again and work through what had happened, but I knew that this fight would have happened sooner or later. It was an accumulation of things in our lives and I know that this marriage was not a one-way street. We both did this to ourselves. We both did this to our marriage and I too had to take responsibility for my part in it. I remember turning to him the night after and saying “I’m sorry.” Eddie is as stubborn as an ox, and I know he would not apologize first, not this time. It was either wait for him to say something or swallow my pride and just apologize. And once I did, the floodgates of communication opened up for us. For him, he felt like everyone took priority over him – ESPECIALLY my business.
What I Did Wrong
I would come home from work with my eyes fixed on my laptop, furiously messaging my clients and business partners, planning my monthly strategy calls with my team and never even sitting down to eat dinner with the family. I was obsessed with making my business work and meanwhile my marriage was falling apart.
We were roommates – just two bodies passing by each other in the house.
From his perspective, I did not respect him as my husband. He needed me to show through my actions that he was the most important man in my life. He needed my time, he needed my touch, he needed his wife. But from my perspective, everything I did, I did for our family. All the sacrifices I made was so that we could have it all and not worry about never having enough. I am so grateful he was brave enough to share with me about how he felt and the feelings behind this anger. Had he not, we would not be where we are today.
The Big Lessons
Looking back, we let our new routine of being new parents and being a solo entrepreneur become the norm. I know it happens to the best of us. But despite the busyness of life, it is easy to prioritize our obligation to work and business as well as duties as parents to our children instead of our relationship as lovers to each other.
So, what did we do and how did we find balance? Schedule the important things in. Literally – like on the calendar. Even intimacy.
I suppose you can take a few things away from this:
1)Work and businesses will come and go. A life partner and marriage will last a lifetime if you focus your efforts on your relationship.
2) Be the first to say I’m sorry. I know this can’t be applied to all circumstances, but you know when you need to use it.
2) It takes two to tango. Accept responsibility for your part in this and acknowledge it with your sincere apology.
3) MAKE THE TIME for each other and put it on your calendar. Now.
I love that my husband will serenade me in front of our kids. I love that he’ll nuzzle the nape of my neck. I love that he tells everyone I am his favorite cook – even more than his mom. I love that we always say “I love you” and give each other a kiss before bed every night – even when we are upset at each other. Try that, it’s really hard. love that we go to church as a family. I love that we pray together every night – something I did as a child with my family. I love that my kids see how much we love each other and they, in turn, know how to show love to other people. I love this new chapter in my life where I can have my family and my business.
It has been a long road trying to re-prioritize and put my marriage and family first. I did it because I want this love to last a lifetime. I could make all the money in the world but if I don’t have my family, nothing really matters, not even my business. Love your family and love them hard. You will never get that time back with them again, so make the most of your time with them and be present, without distractions so that you can focus on these people who fill your life with endless love and light.
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