Tag Archives: marriage

In Like a Lion…

1 Mar

Well last month didn’t go at all as I had planned. I was so excited to join Priya over at My Reflections for the month of February blogging about love and, well, things happened that caused all that to come unravelled. My father in law had a heart attack early on in the month which threw us for a loop, and other family issues arose mid-month that just made blogging difficult. I’d rather not discuss them in detail, but I will sum up last month’s love posts in this one, the first post of a new month that – hopefully – will lead me and my family into a much less stressful atmosphere.

Love is a beautiful thing, truly. It has many faces and is as varied and changing as the seasons. The love I feel for my husband is different from the love I feel for my children, which is again different from the love I feel for my parents. The love I feel for my various friends is as unique as the friends themselves.

Love may be unbreakable, but it can be rocked to it’s very core. And in the past two months, the love my husband and I share has been tested to it’s very limits. It has been shaken, beaten, and devastated – and at some points I was sure it would be battered beyond repair. I usually keep a light heart here at Raising an Army, but this is something I feel the need to write about. Perhaps in order to understand how things could get to this point, you need to understand my background – where I came from and what makes me who I am.

I am the youngest of four children, with thirteen years between myself and my next sister – Linda. We are the children of a Pentecostal pastor, and though my siblings were tweens when my parents began their ministry, I was born into it. I grew up with two families; my core family and my church family…and it was great. I was constantly surrounded by people who loved me and were there to help me when I needed them.

The problem with this scenarios is that while the church people are indeed your family, they are still essentially your family’s bread and butter. While in a real family if people upset you, hurt your feelings or downright annoy the crap out of you, you have every right to tell them so and argue it out…in the church family we had to put on a happy face and pretend everything was all right.

This was my job, from the time I was an infant. I was a master of painting on a smile and playing the church darling. No one ever knew the loner that hid inside the little girl that sang solos and played the piano. I wasn’t a people person…I’m not outgoing or really all that bubbly. I’m actually a little shy and serious – but no one ever knew. As far as they knew, I hadn’t a care in the world.

The skills learned as a PK – Pastor’s Kid – would serve me well later in life. I held many jobs where I was thrown into dealings with large groups of people or had to use my charm to persuade difficult customers to buy a product or service or to see eye to eye with company policy. I was well liked and could always manage to secure myself a comfortable clientele. But the skills weren’t always a good thing…because I also carried them over into my marriage.

The night after our wedding, Johnny and I lay together in bed and promised each other to always be open and honest with each other. That we would never try to hide things that hurt or upset us in order to spare the other’s feelings because we both knew that bottling things up inside often led to an explosion of disastrous proportions. Even little things like leaving the cap off the toothpaste, we vowed, because little things can lead to big things.

Easier said than done.

For a while we both kept true to that promise. Every little thing was laid bare for us both to examine and work through…but then I started to ‘backslide’ back into my PK persona.

It started with the little things – like how he throws his socks into the laundry piles in crunched up little balls when they’re damp, causing them to stink even more than usual and making me pull them apart when I have to wash them. Gross…but not worth telling him about and causing a fuss. Even though every time I had to pull apart a crusty pair of socks I gagged and wanted to throw them at him. No…I could keep that to myself.

Then things that were a little bigger and annoyed me a little more – but that I felt childish for being bothered about. Like how we’d put the kids down for the night and finally have a couple of hours together with just the two of us…and he’d pass out right away on the sofa and I’d be alone for the rest of the night. I felt like a spoiled toddler for complaining about it. He works hard and he must be tired – but darn it I was looking forward to having some adult time with him after all day of wiping noses and changing diapers. If it happened once in a while, I wouldn’t have minded so much but every night? I could have spoken up…but I felt ridiculous. He couldn’t help being tired. I stuffed that in the bottle with the sock rage.

Then it was how he would get so absorbed in his computer game that when I was talking to him he wouldn’t even notice I had said anything and I’d have to repeat it so often that I finally got frustrated and wouldn’t say it anymore. The bottle was starting to get a little crowded.

And the whole while that I was bottling things up, so was he. One little thing after another, stuffed into the back of our minds, never wanting to bring them up because that would cause an argument…and neither of us wanted the confrontation.

Until last month. When the bottles exploded.

I won’t pretend to be blameless in the nuclear implosion that finally rocked our marriage and shook the foundation until I was sure it was all going to collapse underneath us. In fact, I freely confess that I bear the brunt of the responsibility. I not only bottled up frustrations and anger, refusing to share them with my husband – I shared them with someone else, which was something that we had agreed early on was a huge no-no for us.

When both of us finally bared our souls, we were left feeling exposed and ashamed. How had we let things slip so far? How could we have done the thing we despised the most – covering up our feelings and painting on a smile to pretend everything was okay. We had, in essence, lied to each other about our feelings for months because the ugly truth was more than we wanted to admit. We weren’t happy.

The house of cards we had built scattered around us and the illusion that we had clung to turned to dust in our hands. It was then that I learned the most important lesson about love of all.

When all else is stripped away, love remains.

When faced with losing everything we had worked so hard to build, losing the hopes and dreams we had gathered about us, the love that is the basis of our marriage and who we are stood firm. Rock solid in the center of the devastation, providing a solid base for us to begin to build it up all over again. A process that I hope to share with you, my readers, as I strive to better myself and change.

And so March came in with a lion, roaring and raging and threatening everything that we hold dear…but our love sheltered us and kept us safe and secure. Now the rebuilding process begins and we once again make plans and share dreams – and this time build it stronger and better as we learn from our mistakes.

And hope that for all it’s bluster and noise that March goes out like a lamb.

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Meet the Hubs

17 Feb

Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less.
And he was right.
But power isn’t happiness. And I think that maybe happiness comes from caring more about people, rather than less.

Ghost of Girlfriends Past – Connor Mead’s  best man speech to his brother Paul.

 

First off, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Johnny, Joanie’s husband, as you probably assumed by the title of “Meet the Hubs”. In the trend of Whine & Roses bring you the above quote. Having the power in a relationship, in the end means little to nothing. All the power in the world doesn’t matter if you’re not happy. Happiness is the fuel for long lasting, great relationship.

My suggestion for everyone who reads this is to take a moment. Go ahead, I will wait. Think about what do you and your partner do together that makes you both really happy. Do it. Go to dinner, see a movie, take a walk. Personally, I plan to take my Queen out to dinner again soon. A new restaurant has opened here we both have wanted to try.

 

Whine and Roses #2 – What Love is NOT

2 Feb

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.
– Oscar Wilde

In my 29 years (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) of life, I have learned many things about what love is. My parents taught me love, with cool hands soothing fevered brows and excited faces in the audience of yet another boring school play. My siblings taught me love with teasing and prodding and a fierce protectiveness that only siblings can muster. My friends taught me love with secrets kept and vows to stick together until the end. My boyfriends taught me love with stolen kisses and fervent promises – that most of them never kept. Then…oh then I met Johnny. He taught me love too, but over the course of my marriage (7 years and counting!) I have not only learned a great deal about what love is, but also about what love isn’t.

Love isn’t selfish. It doesn’t make decisions without the input of your spouse or make them feel like they don’t matter.

Love isn’t greedy. It doesn’t insist on having all the “me” time and leaving your spouse with all the responsibilities of the family with never a break.

Love isn’t easily frustrated. It rolls with the punches and allows the other person to make mistakes. After all, you and your spouse are human and mistakes will be made.

Love isn’t rigid. It will bend and grow as your marriage progresses. That sappy “honeymoon love” will change and develop into a much more mature love as time goes on.

Love isn’t showy. The public displays of affection tend to get toned way down after the kids come along, but the stolen moments while the children are asleep or while you’re cooking dinner and they’re otherwise occupied are twice as sweet.

These are just a few things that I’ve learned that love isn’t. As the years go by, I’m sure I’ll keep learning, because one thing that I’ve learned about love is that it changes every day.

Picture Update Tomorrow, I SWEAR

* Okay, just realized that the last picture we have of us together is desperately old. Will update it with a new one tomorrow!

 

My (Other) Best Friend

11 Oct

Most of us have heard that phrase, “I want to marry my best friend.” It’s a popular one because everyone wants to marry someone who they can confide in and have fun with. Someone who knows them inside out.

Well I never wanted to marry my best friend.

The thought of being married to someone who knew me that well kind of freaked me out. What’s to love about being married to someone who knows the ugly truth about all of your bad habits and has watched you cry into your beer (or in my case, anything but beer) about how your co-workers are all snobs or how you feel fat. Someone who has watched you devour half a chocolate cake in one sitting. Somehow, that kind of kills the some of the mystery of romance to me.

So I swore up and down that I would never marry my best friend, and I didn’t. I married Johnny. We’d been friends before we started dating, but I definitely wouldn’t have called him my best friend. I wouldn’t fart in front of the guy, for pete’s sake, and that’s a huge indicator of friendship right there. If you’re still shy about bodily functions, you aren’t best friends!

We were married in January of 2004 and by December of 2006 had three children. That’s when we started to realize that everything had changed. Our relationships with our friends were different. They were mostly single and childless and we were drifting farther and farther apart from them. We didn’t get out much, so making new friends was hard. We were forced to cling to each other in order to maintain some sanity. Besides, the children outnumbered us now. We couldn’t afford to let them divide and conquer.

October of 2007

Without even realizing it, he’d become my confidante. That one person I could count on to make me laugh. The one I turned to when something was upsetting me. Heck, I even got over the farting issue! (And oh boy so did he.)

That was when I realized that no…I never wanted to marry my best friend – and I didn’t. Instead I married a man who became my best friend, and that made all the difference.

Today’s assignment was to share yet another picture of me with my friend(s) and what better friend to share with you than the one with whom I share my life.

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends…today I am thankful for my husband – my (other) best friend.

Wedding – Part 4

29 Sep

The Mr. and Mrs.

And so it was that Beckie and Jason began their life together. And this post is going to be entirely devoted to the pictures. Enjoy!

The beautiful Beckie

The Wedding Party: (L-R) Tiffany, Myself, Linda, Beckie, Jason, Keith, Matt and Kenny

Those strings were just irresistable for Jason!

Where's Matt? He seems to have disappeared!

The Girls

My Dad wearing Lola's hat

And my mom in the background with the most awesome smile I’ve ever seen. That, my bloggy friends, is true laughter right there.

A well-deserved swat with the bouquet

I'm honestly not sure what's going on here...

The Rings

Well what do we do with THESE?!

and finally…

The Dance

Oh and one more…because I can’t finish this wedding series without a picture of the bride and her goddaughter!

Auntie Beckie and Lola

Husband of the Year

2 Dec
Last night, my wonderful hubs walked 2 miles in the rain because his pregnant wife expressed a desire for peaches.

Back off ladies, he's MINE!

That, my friends, is love. Love and sheer husbandly perfection.