Grace’s Side of the Story
I was just married and ready to live it up as a newly-wed! You know, things like: go to all the parties single people go to, but always have your best friend to go home with; rush home after work to do nothing but just be with the love of your life; always have the excuse of “I’ll have to check with my husband” if you didn’t really want to go somewhere. (There are probably a lot more that could be added to that list, but I wouldn’t really know… But I’ll get to that part later…) My new hubby and I moved into our nice little condo and were both so excited about our first real jobs after college! It was one of my dreams to sing professionally since I was a little girl so when I landed a gig performing in a broadway style musical at Walt Disney World it was the perfect addition to my life as a newly wed. Soon I started getting call backs for more roles including a South American show tour. I had it all- I had arrived… Living the dream…
I also started feeling VERY sick. All of the time! Then, what I never would’ve seen coming, happened. I found out I was pregnant! We had conceived ONE MONTH after being married!
Who knew ONE TINY miscalculation of days could lead to me getting knocked up so fast?!?!
Ok, maybe most of you reading this know that. But not me! Not at that time! I knew it was an amazing thing to be able to have a child so I was soooo excited… and also SCARED OUT OF MY MIND! On top of learning how to live with someone who was the complete opposite of me, I had a wave of hormones-gone-wild charged emotions, fatigue, and nausea to deal with. Having a baby ten months after we said “I do” threw us into the deep end of SERIOUS MARRIAGE STUFF; not just the fun lovey dovey honeymoon stage. The time that most newly weds spend still dating their spouse, decorating their house, and getting established in their jobs became survival of the fittest in a dangerous, unknown terrain (we watched a lot of Bear Grills back then). Long romantic talks and walks turned into long heated discussions about health insurance, saving money, living situations, and me losing my job. Our sexy condo of a love nest turned into the spare bedroom at my parents house as we had to get creative about saving money. Turns out having a 50lb steel harness strapped around your waist which then sends you flying and flipping through the air is not exactly conducive to being pregnant. That was my role in the Disney show. That was done.
I also found out there isn’t a high demand for pregnant woman playing the part of a singing high school girl and that no one wants to hear a pregnant-bellied seashell-wearing mermaid singing about flipping her fins and her collection of thingamabobs.
I know from talking to a lot of other young married women that there is a time most of us go through when we don’t feel like the brand new exciting thing in our husbands lives anymore, we can feel kind of common. And that relentless pursuit to try to win us over that we had grown accustomed to can seem like its taken a back seat to the pursuit of other dreams and goals that our men want to accomplish in their lives. While understandable, it didn’t make it any easier to go through that with a giant belly and 25 extra pounds. Yes, my wedding dress body had vanished in a mere 4 months. Not. Fun. And all of those fights, I mean, discussions… we weren’t very good at them yet. Everything in my life was changing. My physical appearance, my emotional and mental state, the time line of accomplishing my goals, my dreams… I didn’t want to hear it from him about something else that wasn’t good enough, something else that I had to work even harder at. “I married the wrong person.” “He doesn’t understand me.” “Who is this guy and where is the person I thought I married?” These are things that would run through my head as we fought.
Want to know what I wasn’t thinking?
Things like, oh I don’t know… “What did HE dream marriage would be like? What did he think his perfect bride would act like? How would she speak to him? How would she care for him? How was he dealing with the pressure to provide for a family, make it in a new work place, and save for a house? What was it like for HIM learning to live with a pregnant wife and her parents? What can I do to make this easier and better for HIM? I know I can handle being more uncomfortable and change so that I can serve and love him better. It’s time to grow up, Grace.” Doesn’t that sound beautiful! And maybe I would have those noble thoughts at first because I knew in theory that’s what you do in a good marriage. But 5 seconds later, when emotions were in full gear (and he’d rattle off something that, to me, sounded more like a football coach yelling at his losing team for being lazy and then giving them the game plan of how to win the next time)… then I’d go back to thinking, “He doesn’t appreciate me! He doesn’t understand me! Is it going to be like this forever?” You see, I would prefer he talked to me with a soft spoken, sensitive, non judgmental, child psychologist type of a tone.
I just didn’t understand why he would get so easily annoyed with one of my cute little flaws that make me an individual! It was so easy to think that my faults were more like endearing, innocent quirks that should be handled with care in light of everything I was going through and everything I was sacrificing for our family. But my husbands faults… they should be dealt with! He should show remorse when he hurts me! My stress and self-centeredness had made it nearly impossible to hear any disagreement from my husband as anything other than rejection and unbearable pressure. When I was consumed with how I felt in the marriage, what I was receiving from it, and how much I was giving; I was stuck and I was the biggest block to our relationship getting better. I have definitely found the old proverb, “you must lose your life to find it“, to be true in marriage. When I revert to self preservation mode in hard times; things get worse and I am not satisfied in my marriage. But when we are going through a difficult time and I put his needs and emotions above mine and make it my goal to serve, I start living the dream!
The truth is he never was my perfect match and I was never his. Because there are no perfect people.
The amazing thing is that imperfect people can have beautiful, long lasting, fulfilling, exciting, hot, steamy…(ok I’ll stop, sorry family that may read this) marriages! We just need to stop being selfish! My son is now 4 and is the most undeserved, amazing, better than I could’ve ever imagined, dream come true, surprise of my life! He looks just like his daddy and acts just like me and I wouldn’t trade him for the best job or “honeymoon” stage in the world. And as for my husband? Newlyweds got nothing on us!
Five years later, 3rd child on the way and we are swimming in an ocean of love compared to the shore we thought was fun to splash around in, when we were first married.
(Check back tomorrow for RYAN’s side of the story)