Some thoughts about Marriage after 10 years...
Paul and I are currently being loafs on the beach in Punta Cana, celebrating 10 years of being married (a few months early- our real anniversary date is in September). We've been here 3 days and have been doing a whole lot of nothing, which has been blissful. Our days have pretty much looked like this, we wake up around 8am, make coffee in bed, watch a bit of the news, I've managed to go to the gym...not once but TWICE... but who's bragging ;), we have a late breakfast, we lay on the beach until 5pm eating and drinking ourselves silly, then we head to our room to clean up for dinner.
This afternoon, we decided we'd spend half the day in our hotel room just enjoying CNN and ordering room service. This trip has been everything we needed. Time to enjoy and focus on each other, have conversations that don't involve a 3 year old tugging on our shirts to interrupt, or don't involve us (ok...me), spewing out things we need the other (him) to do, like take out the trash, give our dog his medicine or help me get the kids teeth brushed. It seems like we've gotten so caught up in our daily grind that our time to enjoy each other is rare these days. And we are the lucky ones actually because we have a lot of help at home from family who keep our kids often to give us time to ourselves.
Lately it seems we fill that time with other things. For me its working on this blog, or filming/editing videos for my YouTube Channel, or for him its staying later at the office. But so goes the life so many of us parents lead. Its busy, and tiring sometimes. But its also a life I am proud of and very very grateful for, so make no mistake, this is not me complaining.
Parenthood is my purpose in this life. Being a mother is my greatest joy. I once read a blog post a mother had written about how her children come second to her husband. At the time I was a brand new mom, and my daughter was only a few months old. I was consumed with being the perfect mom. I had this fresh clean slate to start on and I didn't want to taint it. I put so much pressure on myself. There was nothing and NO ONE else that mattered as much to me as this precious little infant I had given birth to. That meant, I put myself and yes my husband second. I remember reading this article and thinking, how can she say her kids come second to her husband?!?
Today I have a new perspective on that article and what that woman meant. At the time I had not yet fully understood how having children changes your life and your marriage. Yes, I was experiencing the sleepless nights, and exhaustion, but my husband and I were still so enthralled by becoming new parents that we had no clue how our relationship would change, grow and be effected over the years ahead.
A few weeks ago we took a little family trip to San Antonio to spend a night at the Hill Country Hyatt Resort with our kids. On our drive back to Austin, we drove by the first house Paul and I ever owned. It was 11 years ago, before we had kids, before we were even married! We parked in front of that house for a few minutes and our 5 year old started asking questions like most curious kiddos do. "Do you miss this house? What did you do in this house?" My husband's answer to her was, "Mommy and I use to watch movies every night together, and we use to cook dinner together. Mommy use to make me tuck her into bed every night." His answer made me laugh because, I had forgotten about how there was a period of time where I would need him to tuck me into bed like a child, before I could fall asleep. It also made me realize how different our relationship is today.
Our days are filled with packing lunches, dressing kids who battle with me on what to wear, taking care of 2 senior and highly medicated dogs (one requires daily nebulizer treatments), grocery store trips, play dates, doctor appointments, a list of never ending errands, laundry, vacuuming, bath and bedtime routines, and that's just scratching the surface. We've become true partners in life, tag teaming responsibilities to keep our house and our family needs met every day.
When we get the kids to bed around 8pm every night, we usually retreat to separate work. For me, I have been spending nearly every available minute on filming or blogging and Paul usually picks back up with work or watches a favorite Netflix series. Even though we don't spend all our time together at home, I'm ok with that. I'm grateful I have his support and encouragement in allowing me time to work so hard at this passion of mine. And I have always supported his work schedule and allowing him to spend the time he needs without getting pressures from home. I think we are a great team.
With that all being said, I can see now where this mom was coming from. It is so easy to get lost in the daily grind, to get lost in all the to dos, and all the demands of parenthood. It is so easy to lose touch with yourself and with your spouse.
Writing this reminds me of a marriage retreat workshop we were invited to. A pastor and his wife lead this 1 day retreat every year and couples from all stages of life attend to hear a days worth of sessions on serving your marriage. The kind of workshop that opens your mind to be a better communicator, and partner to your spouse. There were newlyweds, couple like us, and couples who had been married for over 30 years at the workshop.
The Pastor said he works with a lot of couples from his church who are in crisis and on the verge of divorce. I didn't understand how couples who have made it to 20, 30+ years one day decide to divorce. I didn't understand. He said what he sees a lot are couples who lose touch with each other, their only connection becomes raising the kids. Once the kids are gone, they look up and realize they have no connection, or interest in the other any longer. He spoke about how putting your spouse first, is actually one of the best things you can do for your family and for your kids. Now I understood.
Our children will learn so much not from what we tell them, but from what we show them. I want to show my girls what they deserve in a relationship. I want to show them what love, respect and commitment looks like. I want them to not only settle for nothing less, but I want them to give nothing less to their future spouse.
So as I sit here a little wiser, I now realize the meaning of that blog post I read 5 years ago. While I am no expert on marriage or parenthood, I think its pretty darn awesome that we've been married for 10 years and I feel even luckier to be Mrs. Jauregui today than I did on my wedding day.