When Chris and I were dating, we talked a lot about having kids in the future and what that would look like. We talked about how many we could picture us having, what kind of parents we thought we would be, and even silly things like what names we liked. It was fun to daydream about little ones who would be a mixture of us both and raising them up to love the Lord.
It wasn't all silly talk. We would discuss how important we knew our marriage would have to be in the midst of little ones, and that we didn't want to ever put our kids before our marriage. We were in covenant with each other, not our children. We didn't want to grow old and our kids be out living lives of their own, and us be complete strangers to each other. We both had witnessed broken marriages in our own families and prayed we would not make those same mistakes.
So when three short years later, Chris and I (who were now married) were sitting on our bed and the words, "I just don't really like being around you anymore." came out of his mouth, all of those conversations, all of those good intentions, all of the promises we had made came flooding back into my mind.
Now granted, I know he could have said something much worse. But we were best friends and were literally inseparable since we had gotten married. We enjoyed being together more than with anyone else. So his words not only hurt, they also scared me.
Chris and I have been married for three years and in those three years we have had three children (and one angel baby in heaven). My pregnancy with Eli was more traumatic than words can express, and we have lived through one hardship after another (from outside sources) since the day we were married.
The honeymoon phase lasted for about 9 months and our days went from cuddling on the couch watching movies, to working ourselves to the bone from sun up to sun down caring for our little people.
He walks through the door from a long day at work and I hand him a baby, while I have another one on my hip, attempting to cook dinner while the toddler is screaming at my feet.
We are wiping noses and bottoms, brushing teeth and kissing little faces until about 8:30 at night. We both fall into bed absolutely exhausted and high five because we survived another day. We then both roll over and try to get as much sleep until it all starts over again in the morning.
In all honesty, most days I watch for my husband's car to pull into the driveway, not because I greet him at the door with a smooch and tell him to take a load off until supper's ready. It's because I can't wait to have some HELP in the midst of this chaos. He brings a touch of sanity and it gives me the strength to finish the day out strong.
This is not at all how I imagined my marriage with kids. I never thought at the end of the day I would not want to be touched because I have literally had 3 tiny people hanging all over me all day long. I've tripped over, walked around, and stepped over people my whole day, and all I want to do is be still and not have anyone need anything from me.
I never imagined that on our long awaited date nights, that many times we would be too tired to talk. And while we shoveled food into our mouths we would both be in a daze and trying to stay awake. What happened to the fun couple who laughed and were adventurous? We used to be game for anything, and now just walking around Wal-Mart feels like a marathon.
The man who drove 4 hours to my house every weekend just to see me when we were dating now no longer finds me fun or pleasant to be around.
I think we forgot about each other. In the midst of so many needy children, we forgot that we have needs too.
He needs to hear that I am thankful for him. Not because he's great at changing diapers and doing the dishes. But because he is a unique and special person to me. Because of who he is. I fell in love with him for a reason. And it's because he has a beautiful heart, a handsome face, and a laugh that melts me.
I need to hear I am beautiful -- nursing tank top, messy bun and all. I need to feel taken care of, when all I do is care for the needs of others during my day. I need to know that he is still glad that he chose me to be his.
We both need to be seen.
I am so glad Chris told me how he was feeling that day. It didn't feel good, and yes it made me cry, but it was a wake up call to me.
I am not just a mother. I am Chris Mitchell's wife. And I LOVE being his wife.
We have both been way more intentional about each other. We are putting effort into our marriage, because during this season, if we don't work for it...it ain't happening.
Saying we are putting work into our marriage may not sound romantic, and it isn't. But intentionally loving each other and looking for ways to serve each other has brought back the late night laughs when we are loony out of our minds. Not feeling like we have lost each other in the midst of family life has brought back the kisses and hugs when we are doing dishes or folding laundry. We hold hands in the car and sing to our favorite song on the radio and talk about our days and our dreams.
Having kids has made our marriage a lot different, yes. Most days we do feel like we are a team trying to get things done and hold the fort down. But we are also best friends, lovers, dreamers, and trouble makers. And fighting to remember and appreciate those things is worth the effort.
I want to encourage you, if your marriage feels more like you are co-workers than lovers, maybe you've both just gotten lost in the hustle of life. Don't forget about each other. Remember why you got married. Fight for each other. You will never EVER regret pouring into your spouse.