Marriage is hard work.
Honestly, I think anyone who DOESN’T think marriage is hard work either (A) hasn’t been married, or (B) hasn’t been married long.
After all, how can two people, raised by completely different sets of parents come together to cohabitate and parent together and NOT have to work hard to have a marriage that excels?
I just don’t think that’s possible.
My husband and I lived “down the road” from one another from 3rd grade until we graduated from high school. Our families were friends, but we never really spoke to one another.
Fast forward to 23 years old and we ended up reconnecting through Myspace.com (I’m fully aware that I just aged myself).
Looking back, it wasn’t that we had a ton of stuff in common with each other at 23 years old. We actually had more differences than similarities. I guess there is some truth to opposites attracting.
What first attracted me to my husband was his grounded personality.
He was just a normal guy.
He wasn’t outspoken, but rather quiet.
He was funny, but didn’t have to be the center of attention (in fact, he prefers the opposite).
He worked hard, treated me well, and opened the truck door for me when we went places.
I had known him for almost 15 years.
He was safe. He was like home.
Three years after we reconnected, we were married. Two years after we were married, we had our daughter, Mila. Our relationship changed, but with only one child, it didn’t change drastically.
It wasn’t until we had our son that our relationship really took a turn for the worse.
I NEEDED David and often times, he wasn’t available.
Emotionally and sometimes physically, there was a void.
I suffered from an undiagnosed case of post-partum depression and life was downright miserable for several months. Our fights became more and more frequent and the “D” word was thrown around in a tearful argument one Halloween night.
Thankfully, we didn’t print the divorce papers that were pulled up on the computer that night. Our bottom line was that we would stay together for our children, no matter what.
‘Til death do us part.
I can’t say that we haven’t fought since that night. We have. It hasn’t been rainbows and sunshine, but we have grown stronger and closer as husband and wife.
Our relationship finally started to make improvements when I started to love David through the eyes of our children.
When I really stopped and watched their love for David, I realized that I could learn something from them.
Our children love their daddy.
They are obsessed.
And the feeling is mutual.
David loves our kids and is the best dad I have ever seen. Literally. No cliche there.
The amount of respect, caring and PATIENCE that he brings to his relationships with them is truly admirable.
Our kids LOVE to spend time with David. Actually, I’ve been asked if I can go to work so Daddy can stay home to play with them. Ouch! 🙂
So, how do I love my husband through my children’s eyes?
It’s simple: I watch their relationships and I look at all of the reasons they love David and how they interact.
As parents, we make mistakes.
We raise our voices, we forget to fill a request, we work too much and play too little.
No matter any of these “offenses”, our children have always QUICKLY forgiven David for mistakes he has made.
Can I say the same for myself? No, not always. I still hold on to things that happened early in our relationship. Time to let go? I think yes. Thank you, kids, for showing me forgiveness at its finest.
They love him for his fun nature.
Our kids can’t get enough of their daddy.
They want him to lay on the bed so he can “be a playground.” Then, they proceed to jump on him, jump off of him and go crazy. They want him to play vet, read books and just interact with them in general.
Just the other day I heard my daughter yell down the hall “Don’t stand on your head until I get back, Daddy!”
They see him for his fun side and enjoy it to the fullest extent.
In marriage, we get business-y. We share finances, we listen to each other’s work day, we do household chores together, we.get.tired.
We get to the point where it’s more of a partnership than a relationship.
We lose the “fun” part that we fell in love with at the very beginning.
I am as guilty as anyone when I say that I often write-off my husband’s fun nature. I find it as a nuisance sometimes, when honestly, I should see it as a blessing.
Sometimes you have to let your hair down to let the fun in.
They guard their time with him.
When David is playing with the kids, there is nowhere else they would rather be.
They are focused on the headstands, car ramps and weird games they make up together.
They are 100% present and in the moment because they adore their dad. Nothing gets in the way of their time with him, because they don’t take their focus off of him.
This is a huge one for me. From my phone to all the thoughts racing through my head, it’s hard to give David my undivided attention and time. It’s hard to turn everything off and just.be.
While watching my kids, I’ve noticed this amazing focus that they have on him and while it’s not always possible, it’s definitely worth the effort to improve.
They unconditionally love him.
There are no strings attached in our children’s love for their dad.
It’s unconditional and pure.
There are no excuses, no resentment and no magnifying character flaws or nit-picking bad habits.
They let him be himself and don’t question or try to change him.
After being together for 10 years, there are things that bother me about David, and vice versa. But, no one is perfect and everyone has their downfalls.
It comes down to our ability to get beyond the surface annoyances and to a deeper and more pure love.
Only a child (and Jesus) can teach such an amazing love.
Thank you Mila and Weston for refreshing my perspective on love.
How have your children changed your outlook on marriage? Comment below to share!