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Friday will mark my 5 year wedding anniversary. 5 years. 5 years seems like both a considerable amount of time and nothing at all.
In 5 years we went from 2 people to a family of 5. In 5 years we’ve learned to love each other and, maybe more challenging, tolerate each other.
It’s been the most remarkable 5 years of my life.
But, I’m still learning to be a wife. Still falling short of the woman I want to be for my husband and for my family. How long will I be learning to be a wife? Forever? I spend loads of time here talking about mothering because that is the loud, demanding part of my life. But, being a wife–serving my husband and allowing him to serve me–that is the real vocation of my heart.
I love being married, but marriage has been one death after another for me. A death to selfishness. A death to pride. A death to vindictive justice and fairness.
Currently I am struggling to die to control in my marriage.
I’m home with the kids full time. The decision for me to stay home was easy for us–I used to be a teacher and where we live daycare is super expensive. With 3 little ones now, my paycheck wouldn’t cover someone else watching them. So I’m home and I’m glad to be home. I’m glad to have this time with my kids and to be spared the madness of working while raising children.
But, the moment I walked away from my job the dynamics of our marriage changed. In a world where people change careers/companies/locations, I am suddenly just along for the ride. My husband assures me I have veto power over where his career will take us, but other than that, I have no control.
And I hate having no control.
A few months from now my husband will be transitioning to a new role within his company. His current role has sent him on long business trips around the world, so I’m ready to be done with that, but neither of us really knows what his next role will require of us. We might move across the city, the country, the world or not at all. He might have to continue to travel, or spend all day in a local plant. We might live in a large international city or on an acreage in the country. We don’t know.
And there is nothing (nothing!) I can do to figure our future out. And that is so frustrating!
It’s a death.
The only thing stronger than my desire to control things is my desire to love my husband (although some days it’s a tie) and in this case loving him means trusting him. Trusting that he will lead us well, take care of us and put us first. And the only way I can trust him like this is if my love of control dies.
I don’t mean to make marriage sound bleak or miserable (with all of the death talk). Over the past 5 years our marriage has been bursting with life and joy. Together we have brought 3 children into this world, each one a tremendous gift. Parenthood has been such an overwhelming journey that I fear our marriage gets lost in it sometimes. I sometimes get so caught up in the miracle of our babies that I overlook the gift I have in my husband, the gift of a hero.
My husband is a man willing to sacrifice everything for me and our family. He is our hero.
I still wrestle with the idea of someone else being my hero. Aren’t I hero material? After all, I’m the one here day in and out washing clothes, rocking babies, changing diapers, breaking up fights. I’m the one getting up at night, trudging to the park and scrubbing the floors.
And although the things I sometimes do (and survive) are surely heroic, allowing my husband to be the leader and hero of our family means that I am something even more special–the prize he fights for and defends.
And I like thinking of myself as a prize.
I’m worth fighting for and cherishing. Knowing that is all I ever wanted. It’s all I need.
Things like being in control or getting my way seem pretty silly and stupid compared to having a man that would do anything for me. And, praise God, that is what I have.
So, on our 5 year anniversary, if only for that day, I am going to remember all of this. He is my hero and I am his prize. All the things I have had to die to have allowed me to love him more and (more importantly) receive all of the love he has for me.
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