April 16, 2011

No Easy Marriage with Life Not Finished

Sky and I are at the Army Strong Bonds marriage retreat this weekend. That mean mama gets a couple days off. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Amber from Life Not Finished- one of the only bloggers I was privileged to know in 'real life'. But many things have changed since our grade school days- including, and maybe most importantly, getting married. That's what she'll be sharing with you today. If you would like to visit Amber at her blog, you'll be treated to stories of her 3 children (including twin girls-awww!) and her weekly posts on taking time out for her. Read on for her honest look at marriage...

My love story started almost two decades ago, on a playground behind my church.  I was friends with a boy named Jon.  Our moms were in choir together and during choir practice we would run around the big red wooden playground, laughing and just being kids.

I fell in love with Jon at the ripe old age of 9.  I don’t remember the exact moment, but I remember telling everyone I knew that he was the man I would marry.  He was funny, smart, and wanted to be a doctor when he grew up.  I just knew he was the one.

I married Jon at 21.  There was a lot that happened in the middle.  We were not friends for a while.  He dated people, I dated people.  I moved to Chicago, he went to school in Michigan.  Somehow, we reconnected and started talking again.  One thing led to another and we started dating back in 2004.   It took me by surprise, but I was so glad that we were finally together.  I remember thinking the same thing a million times “I can’t believe he likes me.  I just can’t believe it.”  We dated for exactly a year, got engaged and tied the knot in 2006.

One of the things I love about Jon is that I have known him forever.  We grew up friends, we went to the same church, we hung out together, and our families were friends.  I was sure that this commonality would make so many things in our marriage easier than it is for other couples. Since we came from the same background, since we believe the same things, since we have the same priorities, then we would have very few things to disagree about.  Unfortunately for me that line of thinking was very wrong.

I was first made aware of this error in my thinking shortly after we got engaged.  We were registering for our wedding shower when we got into a fight over which bedding set we should get.  He wanted something neutral and I wanted something unique.  We argued about it off and on for over a week.  I couldn’t believe it!  It was such a small thing, why were we fighting about it?

Then there were the wedding plans.  I had my heart set on an outdoor wedding, but Jon was adamantly against sweating outside in a tux.  After a month or so of fighting about it, I finally caved and we got married in a church.  It turns out his way was better, because we got married on a record-setting day in July. He was right all along, but that wasn’t the point.

I was excited about raising children with someone who was raised similarly to me.  I was sure that we would have the same thoughts and views on parenting, but I was wrong about that too.   When it comes to our children, we disagree about so many things!  I can’t tell you how many heated conversations, how many arguments have been had over things concerning our children that I expected us to agree on.

It’s not like we fight all the time.  Our arguments are never about “deal breaking” things.  It’s the little things, the tiny details that trip us up on a regular basis.

Sometimes I look at couples who get married after knowing each other for a short time and I worry for them.  I think it must be hard to be eternally tied to someone you haven’t known forever, someone who still has things they haven’t told you, things you couldn’t possibly know.

But then my husband will come home and share something with me that I didn’t know.  He will tell me something I haven’t heard before, something from his past or something about his personality.  In those moments I realize we are the same as every other couple, still learning, still growing.  I am constantly blown away by how much I don’t know.  I’m surprised when our opinions are so opposite, I’m surprised when we fight.

Truthfully, I feel like my marriage should be easy.  I feel because Jon and I have such a long history together we are owed an easy path, an easy marriage.  I feel like we shouldn’t have to work at this, it should come naturally.  Often times, it doesn’t, and that frustrates me more than I care to admit.

The truth is it will take a lifetime of arguments and frustration and conversation before I can begin to understand him.  Marriage takes work, tons of it.  While having things in common might help, it’s not everything.  Jon and I have a beautiful loves story, but it’s full of bumps and bruises and fights and pain and heartache, just like everyone else’s.  That’s just the way love is, and I’m pretty sure it’s that way for everyone.

-Life Not Finished for

7 kind comments from you:

Dolli-Mama said...

Thank you Erika for all the kind words. I'm so honored to be featured on your blog today. Thank you for having me!

annoyed army wife said...

This post is so right on, Amber. So right on. I think my husband and I have a great marriage. We knew each other for 5 years before getting engaged, but we still surprise each other every day. Marriage takes work, but I don't think that work pays off in the beginning. I mean I think the first few years can go by without work then all of a sudden you wake up and say, 'Hey, what happened to my marriage.' Just my two cents, not worth much. :)

charla beth said...

i thought this post was so interesting. thank you for sharing this, amber!

Anonymous said...

I think that no matter how long you've known each other, in the day-to-day life that is marriage, you are always learning new things - about each other, about yourself, about marriage and love and everything else.

I loved this post Amber.. And now will have to skulk around this page to get to know your friend a little better too!

Holly Ann said...

I love your openness about this issue Amber. It is all very true. My husband and I have been together for a total of nearly 10 years now, but it's the same story. We do agree on the big issues, but there are lots of little bumps, as you said. Our marriage grows with us, not ahead of us.

Holly Ann said...

And so nice to virtually meet you Chambanachik! I hope that you'll stop by sometime to visit my little blog too. :)

Beka said...

hmmm wow.
i'm learning more of this in a dear friend's life--she's in quite a serious relationship, and even though they mesh well and agree on a lot of things, they are having bumps along the road--quite a few of them. it's interesting to learn this stuff.
thanks for posting!

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