I’ve known my husband since I was 9. He is my best friend. We married when we were 21. We had our first child at age 24. And we had our fourth son last April at age 32. He is getting his MBA while working full-time. And I write for a blog while trying to stay sane raising four little boys.
To put it lightly, our work is cut out for us in keeping our relationship strong because it is much easier to push away from each other than to cling to one another more days than not at this crazy phase of life that we are in where it often feels we are burning the candle at both ends. Or in our case, trying to keep our sons from playing with fire.
Yet. I adore my husband. And here’s why.
Last month, he came home from work late at the hour of night I like to call hell. Oh, I mean he came home at bedtime. This meant, when he walked into our bathroom, I had four little boys bathing and/or showering and there was enough water on our bathroom floor to feed an elephant for a month.
As he worked to keep himself from slipping and falling, I may or may not have barked some type of order at him along the lines of, “Welcome home from work, Sweetie. Now grab a towel, and dry off one of the naked beings in this bathroom.”
Five minutes later, after he was thoroughly soaked with water and I was soaked with a combination of spitup and baby poop (a winning combo), he looked at me with towel in hand and said,
“Well, whatever this is. We’re in it together.”
And we both started laughing. But while I was laughing, I think I fell in love with him again. And I mean it. His words felt utterly romantic in the most non-traditional sense of the word. (Yes, folks. This is what romance looks like after 11 years of marriage.)
Because before he got home, I was bathing our boys alone, tired and worn down from the day, and thinking, “Oh, this life I live. I love it. But man, it is so hard. Could anyone ever get the level of crazy it is?”
But his simple words reminded me that he does.
Because what he was saying with his words is that even though we were essentially in a war zone of avoiding the bomb that is setting off an overtired toddler at bedtime and a war zone that involved grenades being thrown over our heads that were disguised as bath toys from our overly ornery sons (No Mom, I don’t know why the boat flew across the bathroom?) we were in that war zone TOGETHER.
What he was saying was that we are in a partnership. Every day. And while our roles may be different. We are a team. It’s our thing. And only ours. And we get to choose what type of partners we want to be.
Do we want to tear each other down? Or build we other up?
Do we want to abuse the one we chose to love because life gives us every reason and excuse to be rude to one another. Or do we want to honor and respect the one we have the privilege to share in the joy and misery that work together to be OUR story and OUR life? ❤️
It all comes down to choice.
Because the reality is, marriage with kids will either make you stronger or destroy you. It will either make you realize the beauty of love or loathe the duty of loving when you feel all loved out. Because children will give you every excuse and valid reason to treat each other terribly. I mean truly. If sleep deprivation doesn’t do it. Surely trying to reason with a toddler will. If work stress doesn’t do it, then financial stress will.
But at the end of our ropes, we are the ones that will share the memories. And we are the ones that shared our genes to create four amazing little boys. This is us. This is it. This is our marriage.
One of my husband’s pet peeves is when I put the sheets in the washer then forget to get them out so that at bedtime, our bed is bare. I always tell him that he should just be thankful I make the effort. ;)
So last night, I coyly and guiltily whispered to him as we were tucking our children to sleep, “Hey, sweetie, you might want to switch the sheets from the washer to the dryer.” He just smirked at me. Then he went and switched the sheets over.
A few hours later, after finishing watching something on Netflix, he grabbed the sheets and we went in our room to put them on the bed. I saw him sniffing them over and over. I couldn’t help but sniff them myself because I was curious what was causing the need to smell them.
When I took a big whiff in, I almost gagged. They smelled like puke. But I dare not say a thing. Instead, I just smiled. A minute later, he sweetly said, “By chance did these sheets get washed with something that one of our boys puked on?”
I literally lost it. And not in a mad way. But in a “can’t breathe, going to pee my pants, laughing so hard” way. So did he.
May I never take him for granted. May I always see him as the gift God has given me for life. Not just for the alter. Or the honeymoon phase. But for the grocery store trips. And nights of illness. And the moments where the sheets smell like puke and where everything goes wrong.
Let me always remember that what the Lord chose for me will always be right. And may I choose to live like it every day.
This Christmas season, if your marriage is in need of a little TLC, give yourself the gift of taking time to get your marriage where it needs to be.