Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Quarter of a Century

I just turned a quarter of a century, can you believe it? And although no other Birthday has ever had me really feeling differently about my life, this one seems to have created a huge impact.

I just turned a quarter of a keeps repeating itself inside my head, as does the long list of things that I want to do, and of who I want to be when I "grow up."

Well, here I sit, in my pj's, pondering my life, my 3 little men running, and crawling all around me. I'm not sure if it's the fact that it feels like 2 seconds ago I was 20, and in a blink 5 years have passed, and - okay, what happened to ME?

The dawn of my Birthday, I made a few decisions.

After a night full of tears, barely no sleep, and having spend it alone for the first time in my entire marriage in a different bed, in a different room, crying. I got up, and I felt different.

My husband has been making work his first priority since mid summer, and after months of fighting, and what I thought had been the worst of it behind us, I went to bed the night before my 25th Birthday with my husband calling me a "bossy," "nagging" wife who should have dinner at least in the microwave ready for him when he gets home late, again, and strive to please not only his stomach, but his insatiable desire to have sex daily, all without having my 1 true need answered - his presence.

I suppose he simply cannot understand why after he works so hard to provide for his family, why I should have any complaints.

Everything for me came crashing down.

Looking in the mirror at who I had become, and what I had allowed my life to be, I was silently making grave, near catastrophic decisions.

Would I stay married to the man of my dreams for as long as we both shall live? Would I allow my husband to make me feel guilty for not being the bread winner of the family, and yet not being a door mat, and making demands for myself and my family? Would I continue to be the cause of his misery because his hopes have sourly been disappointed at the lack of sex in our marriage, in his opinion? Should I continue to feel alone, with no support, miserable, that I had been deceived in having a partner in marriage, in raising kids only to find out that I'm on my own?

Would I continue to life a lonely existence, without the support of a husband, and father that was promised to me?

I thought about my dreams too.

Of being a writer, an illustrator, an artist. I wasn't going to go another day in this life without working towards these goals, never again. I've always put what I want last.

Before I was married my mother said this to me: "Don't get married. Not now. It's not the right time. You're young, you have to finish school. You'll wind up barefoot and pregnant, and he'll want to be the boss - because he'll be the one supporting you. Get your life straightened out first, get finished with school, make something of yourself, and you be his equal. He grew up with old-fashioned parents, he won't ever be able to see you as an equal unless you put yourself first."

With these words haunting me as I look in the mirror, crying because I feel like my mom had been exactly right. With her no longer here to help console me, to listen to me, or to guide me, I feel terrible alone, and for once I feel silenced.

I think my husband knew it on the day of my Birthday, he saw it in my eyes that it was as though I had died a little - or given up.

I believe that all marriages have their reasons for discord. Ours was sex, and money. While we both have different needs, and expectations, I feel like we have come to a point whether we need to decide whether we go one unhappily, happily, or not at all.

But, I also believe that a person can only go on so long while being ignored.

For my Birthday he had agreed not to buy me anything upon my request, all that I asked for was a little of his time - specifically to help finish a room in our some what neglected house.

He was about to leave for work, and asked if he should go ahead and get the required materials on his way home for the job, and I said that I didn't care.

He could have just let it be, and went about his way. But he didn't, he came home with the supplies anyway, and finished the room completely.

Afterward, he turned to me, and held me, and it was as though I had my old husband back. He asked what was wrong, and for once he really listened.

I told him how I felt, that I didn't want to go another 5 years with him being miserable that he doesn't get enough sex, me being the cause of his misery. I didn't want to be miserable because my kids, and myself don't get to spend enough time with him. I wanted to choose happiness. I asked - what he wanted to choose. Again, I told him my one and only request - that he just be home a little earlier, for dinner, and to help put the kids to bed, every day. That's it.

He choose happiness, too, albeit it's imperfection.

We went out that evening, it had been the first time we'd gone out in a month or so. It was much needed.

I spent a lot of time talking to an older neighbor that had been there as well, and this is what she had to say about marriage:

"Marriage is never perfect. Couples always have their differences, their problems. It's when one person believes that the grass might be greener on the other side, that they aren't satisfied that they are sorely mistaken, because the grass on the other side has it's pitfalls too. It's important to play together, the family that plays together, stays together. Make time for just the two of you, and make your expectations clear."

I repeated all of this to him, and I think we both needed the night out together, and to hear these words. Marriage certainly has it's ups, and downs, and they all certainly make us stronger.


Mama of Romance

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ImitationAngel said...

Happy Birthday!

You have definitely written some true words here. Relationships are hard but both people have to be willing to work at them to make them work. It is good that you can actually sit down with your husband and tell him the things going on in your mind. Without that communication a relationship will surely head in the wrong direction.

It's also good that you do have someone to talk to. Although you married young don't let past advice make you regret your decision.

Keep that line of communication open. It's the best way for fixing anything that's wrong.

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

First, Happy Birthday.
I am very glad to hear that you had the candid conversation that clearly was necessary for the sake of your marriage and happiness in your marriage. I think that you have both taken steps in the right direction and personally can't think of a better birthday gift.

It is wonderful that you have wise women around you.

Bec said...

Happy Birthday!!!
There are so many times that I sit here and read your posts and say oh my god, she was watching through our window again last night. lol. I can realate to your situation immediatly. I am a 26 yr old mum of 2, aged 2 and 1 and my hubby is away working for 4 weeks out of 5. I was just saying to a girl friend yesterday that when I had children to this man I didn't realise I would essentially be going at it alone. Don't get me wrong I will not begin to say I have it as hard as a single mum, but somedays that is how I feel. Your on the right track, communication is the key. As my hubby is only home for a week at a time I write a roster for his week off. He gets alone time in the shed, or to go fishing, I get alone time to shop or see friends, then we have family time. It works for us, a great compramise. Goodluck and thanks for the great reading.

P.S Stop looking through our window. LOL :-)

sandi said...

Have you read "The five love languages"? It is a must read for both of you. Had I read it five years ago, I think I would still be married to my first husband. Don't wait another minute. GO GET IT! It is an easy read and fun to learn things about yourself you may not have known before.

I am praying for you and hope that there are more happy times ahead. It is never easy all the time!!!!

Love to you and Happy Birthday young thing!!

MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

Wow, I so didn't expect this. Baby, it's going to get better--I promise you. Please know that you have a supportive community in your corner, but that the one person that you HAVE to turn to when you're feeling like this is the one person who's in it with you: Your man. I'm so glad you two talked. But know that that was the FIRST conversation of MANY that still NEED to be had. And if the two of you can listen--REALLY LISTEN to one another--then you can both work toward giving each other what you want.

My mother-in-law, who's been married for 50 years to the love of her life--gave me some sage advice when I had my first daughter: Know that love CHANGES. It's not going to be all gooey and sweet and sexy all the time. It will change from minute to minute, circumstance to circumstance... but it's still love, though. And you need to recognize it when you see it. (Go to my blog and read the post "Pure Gold"--it's a celebration of their 50 years together, with sage advice for young couples like us about how to stay together).

I'm praying for you and your husband and your babies--that you come through this with a clearer understanding of how to make your marriage work. It's going to be okay, sweetie. Claim it.

April said...

I love my Hubby and he is working a lot. Right now, he comes home, eats, and goes to bed. I don't look at it as putting work ahead of us because if he could change it, he would. But, if he was miserable because we didn't have sex every night, well, he'd just have to find a new wife cause I ain't doing it. Glad yall had a chance to talk and listen. With 3 kids, thats hard sometimes. We do are best talking when we go driving around. Not driving somewhere but just driving no where.

Dee said...

First off..happy birthday!!!!!!

And second..I'm glad that you talked to him..and he listened! That makes all the difference in the world! You're neighbor is right..I dont think there is one marriage out there that doesnt have its hard times! I hope hubby is home early tonight for you!

Allison said...

I know it passed but Happy Belated Birthday!

Your neighbor hit the nail on the head! I can speak from experience... I have had times where I wanted to just run but we stuck it out and our relationship is stronger than the day we got married! Eight years later and I couldn't imagine anyone else being my husband other than him!

Mama's Losin' It said...

Good for you for choosing to talk it out. You speak and feel on behalf of so many of us. This was great to read.

FREIDA said...

I just stumbled on to your blog for the first time... fantasic... real... such a great read! It's a neat thing when you can touch/relate to so many just by being honest and sharing... so for that... kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Sandi and was going to suggest the same thing. The Five Languages of Love should be required reading for all married people. I wish I had read it. I don't know if I'd still be married, but I am far better prepared for understanding and participating in my current relationship. I am a MUCH better partner now.

Also, Happy, Happy Birthday. I'm glad you got a night with your man!

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

First of all, Happy Birthday. And second of all, your words rang so true with me because I have been there a few times. I have wondered whether I would stay with my husband and suffered through some tough times. But our love keeps getting stronger and we are in the best phase of our relationship right now and I am so glad I never gave up. I am glad you didn't give up either.


Kristy said...

Happy B-day! I hear you...I've totally been there a few times with my hubby. In fact just recently...everything has changed between us since having a baby and the sex isssue is such a biggie! I wish you both the very best...I hope you work it out!

Chrissy said...

Happy Birthday.

I can so related to the things you wrote. For a moment I teared up. We've gone through similar things. When we have problems, it's always 1 of 2 things. Sex and money. We don't have enough of either. And especially now that we have a 6 month old. He told me that his job is the most important thing. W/o it we have nothing, not our house or cars anything. So I get that, but it hurts. I tell him all the time I get what you're saying, it's just the way you say things. This happened last week. I thought he was going to leave me. He said he was so upset he wanted to get in his car and go. He didn't. But I was a mess! When I finally spoke to him, I asked him flat out- are you leaving me? He got how upset I was. He said that he never wants me to think that. I told him not to tell me he wants to leave.
We've only been married for 3 years, but have been together almost 9 years. But I've learned that it's not easy, it's not always wonderful. But how wonderful can be, that's it's worth trying.
I'm glad that you 2 talked. Keep doing that. And keep writing about it. It's nice to know that other couples are going through similar things.

Gayle said...

Happy Birthday!

Man, I remember this stage of my marriage. (I got married at 22, popped out 4 kids fast, and we've been married for 14 years now with lots of bumps but a stronger love and commitment every year.) I know you're not asking for advice, especially from some random stranger out of nowhereville but not only is the 5 Love Languages book and must read but I also recommend For Women Only buy Shaunti Feldhahn. If you do nothing else for your marriage (whether you have problems or not...and let's face it everyone does or they are lying) then read these two books. Totally saved my marriage from a really bad path of misunderstanding.

Rhonda said...

You are me at 25. It sucked. It really did. I had a very absent husband. Only my hubby wasn't "getting it" daily. I'm not his prostitute. If he couldn't contribute to the home and to a happy marriage, and it was all on my shoulders, well, he could just deal with it if I was too tired for sex.

You husband has no idea how lucky he is, nor how easy it is to go to work and then come home and do nothing. You are working 24/7. It is MUCH harder!

I'm really sorry, but I don't even know your husband, and I want to smack him upside the head and tell him to grow up. He's not 12 anymore.

I'm sorry for all you are dealing with and i hope you take my comment above as support and a delayed reaction to my own husband ten years ago, and don't hold it against me.

Good luck to you.

Ann said...

You certainly did prove that you are worthy of your years on your birthday. (Happy Birthday!)
The best thing that you can do for the two of you is to be honest. Not screaming, yelling confessions. Just quiet, real conversations.
As long as you two keep listening to each other, and remind each other that you're in it for the long haul, you will make it.
And this time in your life will be part of your life story.
Stay true to who you are.