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Marriage is Easy…Except When It Isn’t

I’ve read the opinion before that marriage shouldn’t be work.

That, my friends, is a statement that I call bullshit on. Complete and utter bullshit.

I’m not sure if the people saying that marriage shouldn’t be work are deluded, outright lying, or just have a different definition of work than I do. Whatever the reason, I just can’t agree with that opinion.

Yes, marriage is work. It’s the kind of work, though, that is deeply rewarding and absolutely worth it. Marriage is about being unselfish when sometimes you really just want to be a dick. It’s about sharing the last of the ice cream when you’d prefer to finish it off yourself. It’s about days when you put your spouse’s needs ahead of your own. All of those things, to me, are work — because they require effort. By nature I’m kind of a selfish, self-centered princess.

It’s not all work all the time, of course. There are days, weeks, months, and even years when life is good, and you and your spouse fall into the rhythm of life and everything is great.

The key to a long and happy marriage, I think (besides making sure you don’t marry a douchebag, of course) is having the strength and determination to push through those rough times, those man-this-really-sucks periods of marriage, knowing that things will improve again, given time and effort.

CBG and I are coming out of one of those “man-this-really-sucks” periods right now. We’re both feeling kind of battered and weary from the experience, but the good news is that we’re both also willing to put in the work to get to a sweet spot again. We can see it in the distance, a glowing beacon just out of reach. We just have to keep trudging through the sludge just a little while longer and we’ll get there.

But I gotta say…I’m tired, yo. Good thing I have a partner beside me holding my hand.

The Familiarity of Fear

fearIt’s no secret that fear and I are old buddies. Well…’buddies’ may be a bit of a stretch. Perhaps ‘frenemies’ is a better word.

This past week or so I’ve had fear sitting squarely on my back, whispering ugly things in my ear. I’ve heard whisperings, rumblings in the past several months, but at some point this week, it climbed up on my back — a big, overgrown, smelly monkey and started chattering — loudly. Too loudly for me to ignore.

And instead of thinking of all the reasons why this big stupid, stinky monkey was wrong (or at least misinformed), I allowed myself to think, “Well…he DOES have a point.” And it all spiraled downhill from there, to the point where yesterday I’d reached the point of near panic. That monkey had a firm, cold grip around my throat — my throat that I’d willingly exposed to him.

I woke up this morning determined to pry myself loose and shake that monkey off my back. I need to take control of things — of myself, my life, and my decisions. I have allowed fear to rule my life too many times in the past. Fear kept me in unhappy relationships, unhappy jobs. It held me back from directions that I truly wanted to go. It prevented me from growth. It stood in the way of happiness.

It’s been the boss for far too long.

I’ve mistaken comfort with overcoming fear, when the truth is, it’s just been me allowing fear to make the decisions for me, without resisting it. Because the problems don’t come when I feel the fear; the problems actually arise when I resist it. And that’s what’s been happening this week — an all out battle of me vs. fear. And it’s been terribly uncomfortable.

I went out for my run this morning and somewhere along the way, I managed to knock that monkey off my back. There’s no chattering there for now. I’m certain that it will return at some point — likely sooner than I’d like. But in the meantime, the plan is to build up an arsenal of weapons to keep fighting against it.

Because frankly, I’m tired of Fear calling the shots, of steering the direction of my life. Enough is enough.

Happy Birthday Kiddo

Thirteen.

It’s so amazing to me that thirteen years have flown by in the blink of an eye. It seems like such a short time ago, we were spending snuggling mornings in bed together — dozing, nursing, playing, me marveling in amazement that I made a human.

Here you are now, becoming a young woman. A lovely, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, funny young woman. I am proud not only of everything you’ve already accomplished in your short life, but of the person that you are.

I know you are destined for great things. And what a privilege it is to be your mom.

Happy birthday, Kiddo.

skating3

Laughter

There’s been a lot more laughter in my world lately. It’s not like it ever disappeared entirely, but I’ve noticed lately that it’s there more — the silliness, and the ease at which it comes. The quick witted humor flying back and forth, reminiscent of “the good old days”. Though we’ve grown and changed and life isn’t exactly the same as it was, we feel more and more like the Sunshine and CBG of happier times. The Sunshine and CBG who made up ridiculous (and dirty) lyrics to 80s tunes, who giggled in the middle of night at shared silliness, who made each other laugh just because we could. The couple who relished in giddy ridiculousness.

Laughter has been the cement in our relationship from the start, and it’s a relief for it to be there again…the kind that ends with belly cramps, lost breath, and tears running down my face.

It’s good to feel like us again.

Silliness

Good Things This Week

It’s been another week for good things in my world. No, things aren’t perfect…not by a long shot. But I am continuing to do my best to concentrate on the things that are good, rather than the things that are not so good. For now, it’s all about celebrating the little victories in my world.

So what good things happened this week?

– On Monday night, CBG, the girls and I had a bit of a Yahtzee tournament. We try to play board games of some kind on a regular basis. It’s always a great time — music, laughter, silliness. This was the perfect way to start off the week.

– I’ve gotten into a bit of a groove at work and things are going better there. I really like my boss, I love my work hours and I’m getting much more comfortable with the job itself. All very good things.

– Because of my awesome work hours, CBG was able to pick me up after work on Tuesday afternoon and we went for a walk in the park before supper. It was a gorgeous afternoon and great to get out there to enjoy the extra daylight.

– On Wednesday night, CBG, the girls and I had a movie night and then watched Survivor together. It’s one of our favourite shows to watch together as a family. So juicy! And still a great show after all these years.

– On Thursday CBG and I went for a nice walk together on my lunch break. Definitely one of the perks of living so close to my job.

– On Thursday evening we had “fancy dinner” night. Funny how just making a little extra effort for dinner and lighting a candle can make it feel a little more special than usual. This is one of those “small effort” things we’ve been doing lately, and it’s been really, really nice.

– Friday I took the day off for the last official day of March Break and surprised my girls! CBG picked them up in the morning at their dad’s place and brought them over. They thought I’d already gone to work and would be spending the day hanging with “Dad“; when they walked in, they were greeted with a fancy waffle breakfast and their smiling mama. We had a great day together. Breakfast, board games, and a movie afternoon. I love spending time with my girls and love that they still enjoy spending time with their mama.

– On another positive note, the time change did NOT kick my ass for once. Normally the week after the time change is pretty brutal for me, but for whatever reason, this time it’s been just great. Although the darkness in the mornings again kind of sucks, I do enjoy having some extra sunlight in the evenings. Besides, those morning sunrises will be back again soon. YAY!

Good Things This Week

So. It was another pretty okay week last week. Not that anything super-amazing-over-the-top thing happened to make it that way. No…it’s been my own continued determination to do better and focus on the good that has created this change lately. And you know what? I’m alright with that.

There were a few good things this week that stand out in my mind as bright spots.

Monday night the girls and I went out for a little retail therapy. Lil’ Mo had some birthday money she wanted to spend, and even I managed to find a couple of items for myself.

On Tuesday, CBG and I successfully adulted. After avoiding it for a long time, we finally went out and got life insurance. I know, I know…it’s something we both should have done a long time ago, but we’ve been avoiding it for a long time now. Well, on Tuesday night we took the plunge and I feel pretty good about that decision. Of course, after all that adulting, we stopped and picked up ice cream on the way home. Because balance.

Also on Tuesday night we had a great phone chat with Rugrat, who called freaking out a bit about a presentation she had to do the next day. We talked her down off the ledge a little bit and made her feel better about it. She called us again on Wednesday night to tell us that the presentation went GREAT! And she felt really fabulous about the whole thing. I’d definitely call that a long distance parenting win.

On Thursday night, CBG and I went out to a local coffee shop for Trivia night. And even though we got thoroughly creamed, we had lots of laughs and had a good time together, doing something new that we haven’t tried before.

Friday night we indulged in our usual ritual: CBC made us wings and we lounged on the couch together, watching a movie. It was great to unwind together after a busy work week.

Saturday morning we flew out of bed at the crack of dawn and headed down to The Farmer’s Market. We caught the sunrise and wandered around a bit, something we haven’t done in a long time. It was good to feel more like “old Sunshine and CBG” again. After the market we headed out for a greasy diner breakfast before we ran some errands together. Things are feeling relaxed, easy, and loving between us again. It’s not without some effort some days, that’s for sure. But it’s an effort that we’re both more than willing to make.

And one more good thing? We’re one week closer to spring. Spring!

Clarity

In the last two weeks or so, things have improved slightly. I’m not sure if it’s the change to more spring-like weather, or that things are going better at work, or because CBG has renewed his efforts at self-care, or because we’re both making efforts toward the betterment of our marriage.  Whatever the reason, it feels like there’s been a slight general shift toward more positive feelings for the both of us.

For the first time in at least a month, I feel myself breathing a little bit easier. It’s not like everything is magically all better, but in typical fashion for this time of year, I am much better able to see The Big Picture. No, things aren’t perfect. I’m still struggling with my job. CBG is still unemployed. Money continues to be a worry. Our marriage is far from perfect. A few weeks ago I felt weighed down and overwhelmed by all of these things, but right now I’m able to look at all of these things without feeling that same crushing weight.

Yes, it’s still a lot — as much as it ever was. But for right now, dealing with it all feels slightly more manageable. Getting up at a decent hour in the morning is less of a struggle, getting out for longer, happier runs is less of a struggle, and so as a result, I’m feeling a little more equipped to manage everything. I’m feeling up for the fight, whereas a few short weeks ago, I was more than prepared to throw in the towel on everything.

It’s amazing what some sunshine, longer runs, and determination can do.

And of course, it sure doesn’t hurt to have a husband who loves you more than anything.

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