Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: On Marriage


Remember that a successful marriage depends on two things: (1) finding the right person and (2) being the right person”- unknown

I've been thinking a lot lately about marriage. Our one year anniversary is swiftly approaching. Over the years, I've heard a lot of people say that the first year is the hardest. I never thought that would apply to us. I mean, really... we had been together almost seven years by the time we got married. We had two kids together, a house, merged friends-- how much could being "married" really change things? I must admit that for the first 6 months or so, I didn't feel like it did. I did get that little butterfly flutter in my belly the first few months that Jr. referred to me as his wife. (Even during all our years together, he had never really called me that). I stared at my ring for probably the first three months, thinking how bright and shiny it looked, and how much I needed my nails done. I liked looking at the wedding photos and seeing the joy on the kids' faces as they participated in the ceremony.

And then reality hit. I've always known marriage would be hard. I've never gone into it with preconceived notions that things would always be rainbows and sunshine. I've always giggled when people say that their man is going to change once they get married (do they really believe that??). I've known from the get-go that that is not a realistic expectation. But I've been surprised by how much I feel like I need to change.

Maybe "need" is too harsh of a word. I've always believed that no one controls my emotions but myself. No one has the power to control how I feel unless I let them. How I react and respond to someone is fully my choice. In this instance, I think the use of "want" would probably be more accurate. I want to change. I want to be a supportive wife. I want to be my husband's best friend. I want to be able to look at him and giggle over an inside joke. And I often feel like I'm failing miserably in this role. My parents raised me to be very independent, and I'm having trouble relinquishing some of that. My husband thinks I am a very selfish person. The first few times he said this to me, I was so so hurt. But after a few times of hearing it, I began to get defensive. I have always refused to lose myself in the role of motherhood & wife-hood (is that a word??). That is not to say in the least that I don't love my children and my husband more than life itself. It simply means that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am a better mother (and ultimately wife) if I take some time for myself.
So I read. A lot. I blog. I try to go out with my girlfriends every couple of weeks. I take a hot bubble bath every now and then. I try to nap on the weekends. Does this make me a selfish person?
I guess what it boils down to is that I'm having trouble finding the balance. The balance between who I want to be and I who I am. The balance between giving all of myself and not losing myself. The balance between Jessica K. and Jessica H. *sigh* Anyone have any words of advice? Nuggets of wisdom??


Kaye said...

It's ok to be "selfish" sometimes. Otherwise you will lose Jessica K. AND Jessica H. And if you lose that- resentment takes it's place. And your hubby would'nt want that! Take it from someone who has been with her guy from 16 years old. I am now 33 and we all change inside and out through time. Tom and I both have- a lot. No matter what we go through we try to keep the same "goals for the future" updated and in common. I am Kaye B. and Kaye S. and a whole different Kaye from 2 years ago and the same Kaye from 25 years ago and the same Kaye that feels 15 years old, sometimes younger, sometimes older....

shortmama said...

I think there is a big difference between being selfish and taking some time out for yourself. Actually I think it is essential for wives/moms to do this and most of us dont. We struggle so much with feeling guilty that we are not doing our "jobs" if we are not always taking care of others. But you are absolutely correct about being a better mom and wife if you can take that time for yourself.

Cyndi said...

I think you know what I think about this topic, but just in case...

I agree 100%, we are better moms, wives and people in general when we take time out for ourselves. NO, that is not selfish!

I was also with my hubby for many years before we married and our 1st year was the most difficult.

Clearly your hubby is feeling neglected for some reason. Maybe he has some preconceived notions about how wives and mothers are "supposed" to behave. Maybe you two need to come up with a compromise. What exactly is he objecting to and what does he want instead? What are you willing to concede without feeling controlled?

BTW....him calling you selfish isn't playing nice. Name calling doesn't solve anything. He needs to be crystal clear about what he is unhappy about so that you can discuss it rationally. Once the name calling starts, you are automatically going to go on the defensive and instead of a discussion, it's a fight.

I sometimes wish I had an apartment I could escape to every once in a while. Dealing with another adult's needs that conflict with our own can be a real pain in the ass can't it?! :)

Mommy of Three said...

sorry girl, i am the woman who lost herself in motherhood.i am just now trying to get that part of me back. i wish i had some wise advise for you but knowing Jr you have a road ahead of you. i believe the person above me is right on him having a preconcieved notion on what a mother and wife is supposed to be and you know who they got that from. I cant vouch for how you are as a wife but your a great mother so just keep remembering that and stay true to yourself. Things will either click into place as the years go by or they wont but i think if you were to change you wouldnt be any happier with the outcome no matter which direction it went in. Love you girl and i am always here if you need to talk. I do keep secrets from Darren. lol

Sam said...

Just hang in there. I think it's more like the first few years are the roughest, and as long as you can get through that, you'll realize it's all worth it and it's sometimes the rough patches that make a marriage stonger.

chelle said...

hmm I think it is really important to be healthy and have time on our own. I have tons of hobbies, I go out twice a week to swim with a friend, I read and I take time for ME. In part because I never really leave the home but mostly 'cause I would be INSANE without that time.

It makes me a better partner and mom.

That said I know I should be spending more time working on my relationship with my husband. Sometimes I get a little miffed because I am the one working at it ALL the time. Bad attitude.

You will find you balance. My husband and I are reaching 8 years this year and we still work on it constantly.

Jessica said...

Thanks to all of you ladies for your kind words & advice. We plan on just plugging thru day by day. As one of my fave songs says "Nothing makes me happier than working towards forever with you." :)