This is not what I intended; for us to turn into two overtasked and ungrateful strangers who live like roommates in their untidy, cluttered, and kid-packed home. Yes, producing love nuggets was absolutely a part of the master plan (mine at least), but what I did not foresee was just how messy they would make our home, our hearts, and our relationship.
Gone are the days of getting ready for work together and surprising one another with an extravagant home-cooked breakfast.
No longer do we shower together and brush our teeth at the same time.
It’s been quite a while since we have sent flirty messages via email or text and I can’t remember the last the time we spontaneously complimented one another.
These days it’s much easier and practically required of us to go to bed at different hours and wake up at separate times.
In feeling submerged by the weight of parenting (and parenting well) three brilliant, rambunctious children, and almost in a knee-jerk-like manner, we regularly rush around the house barking at one another, the dogs, and sadly sometimes the children.
There’s you, who doesn’t fully love what you do for work and then there’s me who absolutely does.
There’s you whose work makes the money that is required for us to keep living how we desire and then there’s me who, despite working really hard, isn’t bringing in enough (or any) cash.
There’s you who is mentally exhausted from your demanding office job, and then there’s me who is physically, mentally, and emotionally depleted from the ‘mental load‘ of motherhood.
There’s you who wants to get healthy, but at 40 is finding that your body doesn’t always comply and then there’s me whose appearance is benefiting from regular gym visits, but has increased anxiety because an hour working on fitness is an hour I am not cleaning, doing laundry, or caring for our home in some necessary way.
There’s you, the fun-loving, easygoing, relaxed man of the house known as “Fun Daddy” and then there’s me, “Mean Mommy,” who has earned that title thanks to my consistent routine-following, strict way of operating.
There’s you, the forever rule-breaker and then there’s me, a die-hard rule-follower.
There’s you who accepts life as it comes and is comfortable “winging it,” and then there’s me who refuses to fly by the seat of my pants because I, with my voiced lack of time, has yet to overanalyze the flight plan at least seven times.
There’s you, and then there’s me, and we are personality opposites.
When we were dating, and early in our marriage, our dissimilarities made our relationship thrilling and even intoxicating.
Now, well, they baffle us. They cause disappointment and impede romantic connection. But here’s the thing, because there’s always a “thing,” right?
There’s always that reason you are still together and haven’t given up on one another, and in our case, there are four reasons; three we birthed and the other we also curated as a team.
It’s the absolute, unequivocal and imperishable friendship that’s the shatterproof foundation of our partnership.
When we set out on this love journey many years ago, I had no idea how transformative it would be for both of us.
You see, this wasn’t what I intended, because I had no idea of the depths of the strength and faith that reside within both us.
In my early-20s naiveté, I had very little clue of just how much the two of us were capable of, together and as individuals. I was unaware of how much struggle we could handle, how much effort we were able to give on any given day, how much grace, patience, and compassion we could pull from an unknown source inside of us and deliver to one another and our children day after day.
In feeling submerged by the weight of trying to grow as individual people, while trying to improve as partners, while trying to ensure our children develop into respectful, contributing and happy adults, we have unknowingly and unexpectedly become one another’s lifeboat.
And while, we may complain, under our breath or aloud, we are always sure not to let each other drown.
I may save you from being engulfed by the weight that is all of your duties as a husband, father, and breadwinner with a grumbling attitude and you may keep me from crumbling under the pressure of tackling all the things and being everything to everyone with a sarcastic comment either preceding or post your rescue of me, but guess what?
We both survive.
There’s you, and then there’s me, and though some days we are more like strangers or roommates than husband and wife or best friends, we will always come to one another’s aid, and that means something.
So, no; the marriage we have is not what I intended.
But, as it turns out, it’s way better.
And, in truth, the goal for myself for the remainder of our relationship (aka eternity) is that I faithfully remember that a challenging day-to-day life isn’t one which I need to be rescued from.
It’s one I should be thanking God and you for each day.
Here’s today’s ‘thank you.’
I love you.
This story originally appeared on @jthreeNMe on Facebook