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More thoughts on marriage from someone who has been married for a whopping 4 years

Thought #4: People Have Different Values

People have different values.  I don’t mean “I value honesty”.  I mean “I value having a comfortable home that reflects my style”.   Or “I value taking my kids on road trips”.  What one person values isn’t necessarily important to the other.

The above are good examples.  I value the home that reflects my style (once I figure out what that is!).  Jeff values taking road trips (when the kids are older, of course). The problem is that I’m not so excited about road trips.  Now I can handle road trips as long as he means “drive 3 hours to Kansas City where we’ll spend the long weekend watching baseball games and visiting amusement parks”.  But if it means “drive 24 hours over the course of 2 days visiting different destinations along the way”, then I’m not excited.  At all.

Same goes with Jeff.  He’s okay with remodeling the house as long as it means “we hire other people to do things and we spend a little bit of money.”  But if it means “we do everything ourselves and everything is a mess for a long time and we spend lots of money”, then he’s no longer excited.  At all.

So, we compromise as best we can. I’ll get on board with road trips, little by little because it’s important to him.  He’ll get on board with remodeling if I can put a real plan together, we can pay for it in cash and it doesn’t impact too much of our other financial goals.

But some things don’t have an easy or obvious compromise.  And that makes things tough.  But if you’re in this for the long haul, you keep working on it.  You mess up.  You pick yourself up and you keep at it.

More thoughts on marriage from someone who has been married for a whopping 4 years

Thought #3: People just don’t know

This is kind of like the previous point where people change over their lives, but this one is more that you just don’t know things when you get marry.  You might think you have an idea of how you want to parent, what kind of house you want to live in, how you want to spend your money, but then these decisions come up and now you realize that it isn’t as simple as you thought. 

Example for us is that before we got married, Jeff had the idea that we’d eventually move to a house and stay there for as long as possible.  That our kids would always have just 1 house that they’d know as ‘home’.  In his mind, we might move when we became empty nesters, but for the most part, we’d stay there.  That seemed great to me.

In reality, that doesn’t seem so good to me anymore.  We moved last fall and although I absolutely adore the location, I’m not sure this is the house for us for the next 20-30 years.  It just doesn’t seem like the place where I’d want to have teenagers.  When we were just engaged, I had no idea what our life would look like and so his plan seemed good to me.

Now that our life together is starting to be more clear, I’m not as certain.  This seems like a good house for having young kids, but I can easily see us moving in 10 years to a bigger house – or at least a house with a different floor plan.  We’ll just have see what life brings, but my point is that what you think you want before you’re married isn’t always what you’ll really want when you get there.

More thoughts on marriage from someone who has been married for a whopping 4 years

Thought #2: People can change

People change over their lives.  They have experiences that shape them.  They read books that change their opinions on things.  They talk to people who introduce new ideas to them.  So people change.  Sometimes, for the better.  Sometimes, for the worse.

The complicating factor that impacts marriage is that often one person will move towards a different direction and the other doesn’t.  It might be a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be a major thing to create conflict.  He starts veering right and she wants to stay on the left and there’s a struggle there.

In our marriage, this is mostly my doing.  I read something and start changing my mind on different things and Jeff doesn’t necessarily agree.  With the rate at which I read, there’s no way he can keep up with me and still keep his sanity.  So, the struggle in our marriage can be on my shoulders to be slow to change my mind, communicate with him well and give him space and time to think about the things that I’m now thinking of.

 

It’s our 4 year anniversary today!  I’d post a recent picture of us, but well….there isn’t one.  There’s plenty of: me with Phinehas.  And me with Stephen.  And me with both the boys.  And Jeff with Phinehas.  And Jeff with Stephen.  And Jeff with both boys.  But I can’t find any with solely Jeff & I.  I guess having kids will do that to you — someone has to be holding the camera!  I better make sure we get one!

In honor of this 4th year, I thought I’d do some journaling blogging about marriage.  I looked back on my first year thoughts and realized that I was pretty darn smart back then. And also kind of dumb.  I really need to remember that Jayme is happier when her kitchen is clean (but I need to add ‘toy room’ to that list!)

People will still tell you that marriage is hard.  Really hard.  But I’m not sure we’ve seen that yet.  Not in a “this is really hard, I want to hit the eject button” kind of hard.  We’ve had the normal ups-and-downs that 4 years of marriage and 2 kids have brought, but we’ve really been very blessed.  No health crises.  No major financial challenges.

That said…I have more thoughts on what makes marriage difficult at times.

Thought #1: People can be annoying

Jeff can be annoying at times.  I can be annoying at times.  We’re humans like that.  Sometimes, our annoying is intentional – because we’re sinners like that.  Sometimes, it’s just bad timing: he did something that he thought was funny, but funny is not what I thought it was.  Sometimes I find myself singing the same song over and over again and apparently, that’s annoying.

And it’s annoying that is REALLY annoying because it’s hard to escape.  With a co-worker, you’d just leave their office.  With a child, you’d tell them to stop.  With a neighbor, you’d just limit your interactions. But with a spouse, you live with them and you have to deal with them being annoying.  And they have to deal with YOU being annoying.

It’s all good though.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.  That’s one of the ways that marriage helps us mature and become more holy.  We realize that our actions impact others.  We learn what’s annoying to the other person and stop doing it.  We learn how to tell someone (kindly!) that they are being annoying!

9 months old!

Stephen’s 9 months old!  (As of yesterday!)

What fun he is!  He and Phinehas are starting to “play together” more and more.  If “play together” means:

  • Being within 5 feet of each other
  • Hugging your little brother, possibly sitting on him
  • Laughing at silly things
  • Handing your brother spoons so he can chew on them
  • Pointing at your little brother saying “baby cry”, but looking confused if mom asks if you had anything to do with it.

 

Generally, they do pretty well together.  Finn’s great at keeping things away from Stephen that he shouldn’t have…but he can also be a little forceful in his tickling.  They’ll learn!

He’s also really close to walking — not like “any day now”, but I bet in the next month, he’ll be walking.  He walks along furniture and can even stand for a few seconds.  It won’t be long!

His scrapbook page:

month9_web

Recent photos:

StephenJuly2014

I Want To Remember

It seems that Stephen (8 months old) is learning new skills every day.  And his personality is starting to reveal itself more and more.  And there are times that I think “Did Phinehas do that?” because I can’t remember.  And they’re only 18 months apart!  And I still can’t remember unless I’m prompted by something or someone mentions it.  I don’t want to forget:

  • What Phinehas’ belly button looked like.  For at least the first year of his life, it was a cute little cinnamon roll shaped.
  • How he used to point to the lamp and whisper “Hot”, either like he knew a secret or that he was afraid that you didn’t know it.  I’m not even convinced he knew what “hot” meant at that point.
  • When we called Uncle Kyle for his birthday last weekend and he just knocked out a great rendition of “Happy Birthday” song.  Wasn’t perfect, but I don’t know how he even knew what he did!
  • How he ‘chases’ up after Stephen on the steps, “pretending” to catch him, just like we do with him.
  • How he (kindly intentioned, but not so kindly in action) pulled Stephen down the stairs trying to help him learn how to go down.
  • How lately he wants one last hug and kiss from me when I drop them off at Aunt T’s…that’s a new thing and I love it!
  • The way he says “tickle” when he wants Jeff to chase him around and tickle him.
  • And the way he says “No!” when you ask if he wants you to tickle his tummy, but then he lifts up his shirt so that you have easy access to tickle him.
  • How he asks for “some”.  It used to be that everything is “some”.  Some watermelon.  Some M&Ms.  Some cheese.  Doesn’t matter – he wants “some”.
  • Him playing with my hair dryer in the morning as I get ready.  His love for the vacuum is being replaced by that new toy.
  • How we have to read “Dog” (Go Dog Go) at least 5 times/day even though he rarely seems to be paying attention.
  • Playing in the bathtub asking me to “shoot” which means fill up this little syringe with water and shoot it at the wall.

 

What saddens me is how much I’ve already forgotten and that he won’t remember most of this…but that’s okay.  I’m creating good bonds between us that I hope to strengthen the rest of his life.

June2014

I’ve recently realized how small my world is.  Wake up.  Spend time with the boys.  Drop them off at my sister’s.  Go to work.  Go get the boys.  Play, put down for naps, play.  Jeff comes home.  Do dinner, play, put to bed.  Relax.  Go to bed.

Most days are like that.  I was taking a personality test for work and it asked questions like “Do you have many friends?” and “Do you seek out social situations?”  Umm…no.  Not many friends.  (I didn’t think facebook friends counted.)  And I definitely don’t seek out social situations.

I can blame it on my stage of life.  And it’s true.  It’s just much easier to stay home when there’s 2 young ones involved.

I can blame it on going to a big church.  And it’s true.  Our church is big and it is difficult to meet people, much less make friends.

I can blame it on moving away from friends.  And it’s true. For the first year of marriage, many of my friend lived really physically close to us.  When we moved across town, it wasn’t as easy to just stop in and see them.

But I think it’s mostly my introverted-ness.  I just don’t yearn for lots of interaction like other people do. Every once in a while I do, but really, most often I just want to read and stay in a cocoon.  (By the way, I recently read a great book on being an Introvert – checked it out from the library — Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking.)

But I’m starting to notice its affect on me.

  • When I want parenting advice, I don’t have many people that I can ask “Is this normal?” or “How would you handle this?”.
  • When different discussions come up about financial troubles or hardships, I can’t contribute much to the conversation – I haven’t personally been exposed to many reasons about why life is difficult financially.  Nor talked to many people about what they’ve gone through.
  • When the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision was announced, I didn’t think it was any big deal.  But apparently lots of other people did – judging from facebook anyway.

It’s odd because this is not Work Jayme.  Work Jayme has a big personality.  And is personable. And is (usually) funny and (I think) witty.  And asks about others.  And is informed.  And is usually in the middle of most of the stuff going on, project-wise.  But Outside-of-Work-And-Home Jayme just clams up.  And panics.  And feels awkward.  (Which that introvert book talks about why that is.  Good book.)

So I stay in my bubble.  Which I prefer.  It’s safe here.

I read another book recently about the Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn, which I really liked.  It challenged me to think of ways that I can get out of my comfort zone.  Not big ways like move to Zambia.  But in “not related to work” ways that I can do.  Things that I have skills for.  Things that don’t have to take big efforts, but ways in which I could change.  So I’m starting to mull those ideas over.

Because as good as bubbles are, they can sometimes burst!

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