I wake up, put the kettle on,
and meet the first wave of steeping coffee-
as it prances about my nose.
He stands in the background, searching for use,
touching my shoulder.
We dance the morning routine-
missing each others toes.
When the music is loud-
we often miss each others glances.
A warm embrace
can become as cold as the kitchen floor-
in the winter.
She shrieks, releasing pent up disgust and agitation.
Coddling her warm body, she finds rest in him.
I search for that warmth, hidden among flailing arms.
Baby deer stomps at my toes-
panic-fear of the unknown
you make me jealous, young man.
Finding peace, he is presented with-
say your words through
the outcry of your brood.
I do not want a happy family.
I do not want a happy marriage.
That is not my ideal.
Husband/wife bashing is all too commonplace, even the subtle passing comments of discontent. You will never find me speaking poorly of my husband or marriage. Ever. Even to my closest friend. It is the most sacred relationship I have been given on this earth.
I cherish it. I treasure it. I respect him, implicitly.
When Noah was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, our marriage was not of my greatest concern. And I think Matt followed my lead, to focus on our son. Now, that sounds terrible, and it is, quite honestly. I wouldn’t suggest to anyone in that situation to put your marriage on the back burner. Thankfully, we had a strong foundation to work from. Looking back, I am eternally thankful for that. Not because it is the only thing that “got us through”, but it made our situation easier to stomach and digest.
Parents of children with special needs have a higher divorce rate. Much higher, with an overall longer time frame as compared to their “typical child family” counterparts. As a parent to a child with special needs, I will not disagree with the research (this time). Noah requires more attention, time, creative thinking, and planning. It would be easy to become resentful about the diagnosis and let it manifest within my marriage. Because who is it easiest to take our stress out on? Our partners, those closest to us.
When bitterness finds a home, it fights to keep itself warm… deep in a persons spirit.
While we were living in Rochester, we were graced with therapists, doctors, and professionals who spoon fed us. Our challenge, as far as finding the right treatments for Noah, was lessened, immensely. The day to day struggle was and is real, but we made it through the toughest transitions so far. I fully believe that Matt and I are stronger because of Noah’s diagnosis and his precious little life. God has used it to unite us, and in the process helped us develop more respect and gratitude for one another.
Now… having a special needs child and a newborn, life… marriage… parenting is a wholly different story. When you have been busy giving one child 100% of yourself and another plops onto your chest, you are now responsible for giving 200%. Right?! Oh, wait… where did my spouse go?
The strain is real. The tiredness is real. The crying (both baby and mom) is even more real. The expectations we have for each other. Heck, even the expectations we have of others… burnt. The silly arguments over spilled breast milk.
From my personal experience and observation of other people’s marriages, I believe it all, (yes all) comes down to communication or lack thereof. Even a “comfortably content” marriage is not what a marriage is supposed to be. I’d almost go so far as to say a couple who fights, loves.
When I find myself in a moment or minutes (which are actually very long if you’re diaphragmatically breathing to “center yourself”) where I feel like I can not go on, I am reminded that my husband, is right there with me, even if he is actually at work (snacking on pez). He understands the strain, he understands the exhaustion. We often have to remind each other when we sense we are “alone” in the fight, that we are a team. We are in this marriage, family, and life together. No matter how hard we fight or argue, no matter how selfish we (hrm.. I) become with wanting our (my) needs met, we are reminded we have one another and we as a unit are not going anywhere. Divorce is never on the table, period.
Now that is comfort. Not the “settle” comfort mentioned above, but the calm after the storm kind of comfort.
Taking the time to ask Matt what HE needs from me places my heart where it was supposed to be all along. Humility is hard, but oh, so tender and sweet. It is not that I am simply giving up on my needs, but offering myself to him. Submitting to my husband, like I would to God. Trusting that God will lead him, and will by His perfect design, fulfill both our needs as He draws us nearer to His heart and each others. (I am a work in progress)
Gentle, like a kiss.
An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Proverbs 24:26
Beautiful people make beautiful marriages. Jesus is the most beautiful person to ever walk the earth. Your best shot at having a beautiful marriage is if both of you make it your goal to become like Jesus.
His humility is the key to a healthy marriage. If two people make it their goal to imitate the humility of Christ, everything else will take care of itself. Arguments escalate when we want to be right more than we want to be like Christ. It is easy to get blinded in the heat of disagreements. Soon, all we want is to win, even if victory requires sin. The one who wins is usually the one who acts less like Christ.
What matters most? -winning arguments or resembling Christ?
This is why I want more than a happy marriage and family. I want what the creator designed, not a faulty replica.
-You & Me Forever
Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our natural lives.
-C.S. Lewis The Four Loves