Ok, so far my blogging has all been about the "better" and not the "worse." I have to admit since we have been making these major changes in our life, there hasn't been much "for worse" in our marriage, but I know that can change in a heartbeat because it has many times in the last 15 years. There were lots of "for worse" times in our marriage, but we made a promise to each other before God, and we have honored that promise through thick and thin with a lot of help from above.
When we first got married, I was the perfect little wife. (I was! He approved this statement!) I got up and saw him off to work, fixed him lunch when he came home at noon, and had supper on the table when he got home in the evenings. The apartment was always neat and tidy. His clothes were always clean and pressed. We were young and so in love. We lived that blissful life for about two months! Then I started back at college and got a part-time job.
Slowly, things began to change. I began to change little by little. I stayed in bed when he got up because I had been at class the night before and was tired. We didn't have lunch together because I had a part-time job and our lunches rarely overlapped. I didn't cook supper because I went to school in the evenings. We rarely saw each other during the week, and the weekends we spent traveling the three hours back home because I was homesick, or it was spent entertaining family or friends that had traveled to see us (and the beach). We starting arguing often about silly stuff, so the little bit of time we did see each other was not so blissful. We blamed it on the lack of time spent together, the pressures of school, and the worries of things going on back home that we weren't there for. "It will be better when we moved back to Louisiana," we told each other.
Two years later, I graduated from college, and he was out of the Air Force. We were finally going to move back home and start our family and be blissfully happy once again! But in the following years, we had trial after trial in our life. We had
trouble conceiving, followed by miscarriages, followed by high-risk pregnancies, followed by two sickly babies, followed by a special
needs baby, followed by all 3 babies needing multiple surgeries, and were flat out exhausted---financially, physically, and
emotionally. We had no time for each other, no time for our marriage. But through it all we kept praying together, kept going
to Mass, and stuck by each other because we had promised, "For better or
worse, in good times and in bad, for richer and for poorer, in sickness
and in health, until death do us part."And we kept telling ourselves and each other, "One day it will get better!"
During all those years, I had begun to let my guard down and had let the world lead me astray as a mother and wife. I put being a mother before being his wife because that's what the world
says---children first, right? The children needed me. He was big
enough to tend to himself. I had allowed the world to fill my head with "women's lib"
stuff. I had forgotten all about that bible passage we chose to be in
our wedding ceremony. You know it....the one that says I should be
submissive to my husband. This was not in MY plans anymore.
This was partly caused by his work schedule. He first worked 5 on and 2
off making him only home on the weekend when life was more relaxed. He was rarely home, so I had to
do everything myself when he was gone. Later, his schedule became 7 on and 7 off. When he was home for a whole week, he seemed to
just get in the way. He didn't know our routines and schedules. I longed
to have a "break" like he got every week. So, I began to count down the days until my "relief" got home not the days until my husband came home. Then I would get so stressed out because he "would do it wrong" and get everything out of whack when he tried to "relieve" me! He
didn't understand how hard it was on me to be a "single" mom, and I
didn't understand how hard it was for him to be away from us so much. And so we continued on, praying for things to get better---to be blissfully happy with each other again. And we told each other, "It will be better when he finds a new job that allows him to be home more."
So, hearing our prayers, God answered with a job offer that allowed him to be home everyday. The catch---HUGE cut in pay. Was it worth it? Could we make it? Well, we had lived on less before and God always provided for our needs, so he took the job. Everything was wonderful for about a few weeks. Then the kids began to ask, "When's he leaving again?" And I answered, "Never!" We had grown so accustomed to our lifestyle without him that we didn't know what to do with him here full-time. And I didn't know how to give up all the control I had "earned" all these years over everything in our lives. And so the stress continued on, and we continued to pray for help and guidance.
And as we prayed, we grew in our faith. As our faith grew, so did our relationship with each other. It still wasn't "blissful", but things were beginning to change. I was beginning to change. I was sitting in a Holy Cross class one day listening to my teacher explain the differences between male and female. Yes, I knew we were different, but listening to her explain those differences and how God made us to be different, so that we could compliment each other, set off a whole warehouse of light bulbs in my head! It was at that moment that I understood that my husband will never be able to do all of the things I do, the way I do them, because he wasn't created to do them like me. We were not "equal" as in "same." Why wasn't I taught this before? Why weren't we teaching this to our young girls? This started a whole new journey for me.
From that point on, I began to look at my husband through different eyes. I didn't change over night, but started to look at each day, each event/happening, each moment with a new perspective. I began reading and studying this more and really praying about my role as wife and mother. The more I learned and prayed, the more I saw how "worldly" my views had become over the years. I started to change little things in my daily life such as how I greeted him when he came home in the evenings. Instead, of bombarding him with all the woes of the day or a list of things that we needed to accomplish that night, I greeted him with a smile and a kiss and asked about his day. It was amazing how one little change could create a huge ripple effect. So, I decided to make more small changes over the next few weeks and months. The ripple effect started turning into beautiful waves in our life. But it still wasn't enough to get that "blissful" marriage back like I wanted. I needed to do one last thing.
This was the hardest part of this change for me. I had to give him total control of his household. After 10 years of making most of the decisions, it was hard for me to change my ways and let him lead the family. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a "swoop in and take charge" kind of gal. It was hard for him too. He is an easy-going kind of guy that usually just went with the flow trying to take the path that made the least amount of ripples. It took him some time to adjust to all of the changes that had been happening and to accept the charge of his family again. We really didn't see all of this happening at the time and didn't really take stock of what had happened until much later when one day we realized how blissfully happy we had been!
Looking back we saw that God had been slowly working to answer our prayers by helping us get back to the foundation of our marriage---Him first, each other second, and children third. After that the rest of our lives have steadily been falling into place. God is good!