Monday, October 6, 2014

Enjoying My Marriage...NOW! {Marriage and Relationship Goals Link Up}

When we were first married, Zach was still in school and he was working in a job that helped us barely meet our financial needs. I remember occasionally thinking, "When he is home more we will do __ and ____and _____!" (I hoped for us to spend more time outdoors, on trips (big and small), getting out in the community, and working on projects together.)

After Zach graduated. he was promoted at his job. Unfortunately this resulted in him working the night shift as part of "paying his dues." He took it because it was better pay and a step in the right direction for him career wise. I remember still thinking, "When he's off the night shift..."

Just before JaiseAnn was born, Zach was taken off the night shift. We had her, I decided I didn't want to return to work, and Zach took on extra hours (usually clocking in an extra 10 to 15 hours every week) just to help make ends meet. Sleep deprived, poor-ish, and short on time together, I still find myself thinking, "When he makes more money..." "When JaiseAnn is older..." "When he doesn't have to work so much..."

 It seems as though no time has ever been "perfect" in our marriage. We've never had what feels like enough time, money, the entire time we've been married. 

Here are a few things I've noticed about this way of thinking:

*Looking back, we really had a good thing going
When I look back at our first year of marriage, I rarely recall how often Zach was busy with school or homework. Instead I remember discovering new shows on Netflix and ordering pizza while watching it. I remember throwing cold water on Zach while he was in the shower and planning fun things to do. I remember hosting game nights and having people over for dinner at our house.

 Things were simple, but good--really good. We made a lot of great memories which I'm able to totally see in hind sight. I hate to think how much time I spent waiting for things to get "better" because I couldn't see that our marriage was already enough--just as it was.

*The little things
I will not deny that I hated Zach's night shift. I can, however, recall fond memories of him crawling into bed about an hour before I had to crawl out. I revelled in that one hour of cuddling time. I looked forward to it and I enjoyed every minute of it, every single time. No matter what the circumstances, I can usually look back (or in the present) and find those little things/moments that make a big difference.

*I don't feel inspired or hopeful, but discouraged and frustrated
 Zach is a pretty laid back guy and often doesn't feel unhappy in our circumstances. When I spend time thinking that things are not really enough just as they are I get frustrated and I feel alone in that frustration. I spend more time thinking about the things we aren't doing or aren't able to do rather than focusing on what we are doing and what we can do, right here and now within our current circumstances.

My goal is to stop waiting for something better around the corner to put the right amount of effort, thought, or energy into my marriage. My goal  is to make an effort to enjoy my marriage (and make my marriage something to enjoy) right now--as it is--poor-ish, sleep deprived, with little time together.

This month you'll find me:

*Enjoying life with a baby in tow--
The time goes too fast and I've let the fact that we have a little baby interfere with a lot of things I would like to do. JaiseAnn is still too small to appreciate things like movies or the zoo and so those things feel like a waste if we were to go. I want to get out and I want to get out as a family, so we'll take her anyway and she'll love being out and she'll love seeing things and we'll love enjoying her outside of our living room. I'm going to enjoy our bedtime cuddles as we all three share a bed and be grateful for the fact that I'm getting more rest and that I have a husband who is more than okay with her sharing our bed.

I'll plan an outing as a family once a week as well as a date night once a week. More than that, though, I'm going to communicate my desires to work on little goals or projects together with Zach. I'm going to talk with him and see if we can work on something together. We are currently working on getting out of debt, but that's a long road ahead, and I'd like to see if we could work on some little goals together. Those might be getting in shape, working on the house, or Christmas shopping, but I'd like us to start the habit of working on improving together and I'm not waiting for the "right time" anymore.

*Practicing Gratitude
Every night, at the end of the night, I stop and share all of the pictures from that day with Zach. We laugh and talk about our little girl. We are united in our love for her and in our pride--she's something else. I look so forward to that part of my day. How blessed I am to have someone to share the rigors of parenting with (even if they aren't "equal"), how blessed to have a comfortable couch and a safe home to sit with my husband, and how blessed am I to have this little family that I get to call mine?? I am beyond blessed and I need to stop periodically throughout the day and remember it more...especially on the hard days. Furthermore, I need to take a bit of time for myself every so often so that I have the energy to practice gratitude on the hard days.

Instead of adopting an attitude of making the most of less than ideal circumstances, I want to make the best of already blessed circumstances. I want to enjoy my days as a wife no matter my circumstances, present or future. Our circumstances are nowhere near bad or difficult, but I want to put these virtues into practice so that I can be prepared for trying or hard times. I want to be the wife and mother I know I can be and was made to be.

Marriage & Relationship Goals

New to the Marriage & Relationship Goals Link-up? Goals help our relationships grow stronger and get better with time as well as help us move forward and avoid the "ruts" of life. This link-up was created in hopes of inspiring your relationship with your significant other no matter your chapter in life and love. We would love for you to join us in making the things we do in our relationships intentional. 

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