The Wholehearted Marriage-
Fully engaging your most important relationship.
I remember when my husband and I could finally see each other again.
Our son was over a year old. The first twelve months of parenthood had been an arduous journey through sleepless nights, postpartum depression, heavy work schedules and did I mention, sleepless nights? My husband and I lived in survival mode during that long season. We were aware of—and very thankful for—each other’s presence but we were losing sight of true intimacy. During that first year, we barely had the mental energy to get through each week, much less have romantic date nights and long talks by the fireplace. And, believe it or not, we don’t consider it all bad. Hard, yes. But not something we would completely remove from the story of our life. We learned how to work separately, yet together. We learned the art of tag-teaming. We learned to truly cherish stolen moments with one another.
So, when our son finally, finally, finally began sleeping through the night, we had a few hours at the end of every day to remember how to breathe together again. One night I suddenly realized that we had this set time for ‘just us’ I cried. Relieving tears of happiness lined my eyes as I told my husband how thankful I was to get back my time with him. I could see him again.
I think in the 18+ months that we grappled with our new roles as mom and dad we lost sight of that ‘oneness’ we had as newlyweds. It had been almost three years of marriage before we added a baby to our lives and, needless to say, it was a big adjustment. We’re still fighting our way towards that deep relationship God intends for a husband and wife. It’s not that our son ruined our marriage (quite the contrary!), it’s that we’d never been tested like that before. We’d never been pushed to the brink of insanity because of sleep deprivation. We’d never seen me under the heavy weight of wild postpartum hormones. We’d never held a 8lb 3oz human that rightfully demanded our all.
Let me be clear, we’re not so ignorant as to think that being new, exhausted parents is the hardest test our marriage will experience. Who knows what the future will hold…more babies? Losing a job? An incurable sickness? I can’t say. All I know is that, after my relationship with Jesus Christ, Jonathan is my most important relationship. God, in His lovingly crafted plans, has woven the finite threads of our lives together. Some days, we unravel. Some days we’re a knotted up, frayed-edged mess. But, in my soul, I know we’re bound so close that I can’t tell where he ends and I begin. Our hearts bow in thankfulness at this gift. Two lives blending in this way; a firm and binding tether to grasp when our footing slips.
Yes, some days he shuts down or I lash out. I could write pages about the many causes for it, but really it’s us allowing the everyday stress of life to cloud our immediate vision. That’s when we lose sight of one another. That’s when we feel alone and afraid. But that’s also when the fight to find one anther becomes vitally important.
So, our world has changed. We’ve found ourselves trekking up the long trail of parenthood together and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever known. We’ve learned to adjust our footing. We may stumble in fear. We may cling to each other one moment and push each other away the next. But we’re learning—through the grace of God— how strong we are together. We’re learning to hold hands in the dark and breathe in the view when the sun rises. And my oh my, the glory-view from here. It causes our souls to reverberate in this golden harmony of intimacy. I can hear the song now.
I see you, my love.