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Reunited after Commuter marriage! It’s over. It’s finally over! It’s the first Sunday in over a year where no one had to leave anyone behind and no one had to stand at the stoop waving bye, feeling deflated and left behind. Tonight’s bedtime was monumental. The girls didn’t have to cry that they wanted their Daddy because the Big Guy didn’t have to leave. It is such a simple thing but it makes my heart so happy for all of us to be together. I’m so excited that I’m not even that annoyed that I had to miss BlogHer to make it happen.

Reunited after Commuter Marriage and it Feels so Good

For over a year now, our lives have been upside down and inside out. This is not an exaggeration, this is a commuter marriage with kids. I’ve tried my damnest to hold it together, to get to this very place…our finish line. I’ve spend every third month having a terrible frantic breakdown. Watched Sundays evolve into the no good terrible day of the week for our family. Sunday’s have been spent waking up angry because we knew it meant goodbyes. None of us were happy. It was miserable. Life was about surviving and getting by until the next opportunity to be together. It was harder than anything I have ever experienced. I can’t even explain because commuter marriage is a lot like labor in the sense that the pain is indescribable and so unbelievable that no one could understand. Not really.Not ever.It can only be understood, if survived.

Reunited from Commuter Marriage at last

This morning, we awoke and it was like a storm cloud had lifted from our lives. We all got dressed and went to mass together, stopped by the store to pick up ingredients for dinner and headed home to have brunch at the same table with no one having to run off. We lounged around the house while the girls played with their toy kitchen and made us all “dinner”. I worked on the computer, the Big Guy watched television and the sound of the girls laughter could be heard throughout the house. Then we made dinner together and after a early evening ,outdoor tea party with the girls , “we” put them to bed. No shrill, desperate crying for Daddy because he was there to kiss them goodnight. It was children slipping off to slumber on a warm August evening. It probably sounds mundane to most of you reading this because it is your norm. For us, it was bliss. It was one of the most perfect days that we’ve had in a really long time.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in these past two years, mostly that absence does not make the heart grow fonder. It makes the heart grow sad, the soul grow weary and the mind grow weak. Life is about more than just having the life that you want, it is about appreciating the life that you have and NOT taking a single moment together for granted. I’d like to say that surviving this commuter marriage ordeal has made me a better person, made me grow in some profound way but mostly it’s made me wiser. It’s also shown me how strong I can be, how resilient my daughters are and how profoundly amazing my husband is. I’ve spent this time apart, feeling somewhat sorry for myself being left alone with our girls to raise them but I didn’t even think, until now, that every time I felt left behind and deflated on that stoop and the girls felt sad that they couldn’t reach out their arms and grab their daddy’s neck…he had to drive away alone and watch as we disappeared out of his mirror and out of his life for 5 days of the week. I am so happy to say Goodbye to Goodbyes and hello to being reunited with the Big Guy. Reunited with normal. Reunited as a 7 day a week family and no more commuter marriage.

Reunited together;Survived Our Commuter Marriage

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what is commuter marriage, commuter marriage, living apart, the toll of work travel on a marriage, married and single, single parenting

You’ve all seen me write about it but maybe you’re wondering what is Commuter Marriage?  As I stand on the front stoop watching my husband pull away for the 17th Sunday, bound for his hole he calls an apartment in Iowa, my throat closes up and I feel like I will be swallowed completely by the huge lump in my esophagus and my eyes burn and sting as they get a little watery.

I watch my girls run down the sidewalk waving and screaming , “Bye Daddy, I love you!” and my heart is breaking into a thousand pieces inside. Every week it stings my very core; every single time. Sometimes worse than others, but always. I really loathe all this single mothering that I’ve been doing lately but more than that I hate that we are all getting used to it, comfortable even.

What is commuter marriage? It’s hard on the family.

The girls are getting used to not having Daddy around, and I am getting used to handling things on my own, and sometimes when he’s here, I think he feel’s like he is out of place in his own home. That is what really bothers me. Isn’t this how people drift apart? Isn’t this how families fall apart? I love my husband, and he loves me but if you get used to not having someone around, pretty soon won’t you stop missing one another?

When your husband travels for work, it’s not consistent and it’s random and you learn to deal with it by looking forward to the next time he returns. But when your husband has a residence in a whole other state for a job because his office is there and you KNOW he will be gone for at least 4 of the days of the week, it’s a little harder to swallow.

There is no room for superfluous personal days or no chance of no travel because every week you know, come Sunday afternoon..he’s pulling away and you are left behind on that damn stoop and he’s left watching you grow smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.

I thought being married meant someone to share my life with. Recently, I feel more like I am a kept woman; a lonely one at that. I have someone to pay the bills. We’re getting to the point where we are forgetting to tell each other the little things that happen in our day to day and that scares me. Pretty soon we won’t know each other. I can deal with geographic distance but not emotional distance. I mean, I never thought I’d be married and alone.

What is Commuter Marriage? It’s being married but alone.

What do I do? Do I tell him to quit and come home because I need my friend, my partner, my husband? Or do I just keep going on ignoring the fact that this is really hard and slowly becoming impossible? Some days, I am okay with it. Other days, I can hardly bear it.I am lonely and I miss our relationship. The day to day, seeing each other, talking about nothing, sharing laughs and feelings, stolen glances and touches. Now, everything is forced into a weekends time and it’s not enough.

I feel like such an ungrateful asshole. I know I should be filled with gratitude that he has a job at all in this economy but it’s extremely hard when you’ve spent every day of the past 13 years with this man and suddenly you are living separate lives. I know he is just as lonely there but some days I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibility of holding it all together. Some days, it is just too much.But what do you do when you have bills to pay and kids to feed, mortgages, groceries, and school loans? You suck it up, you be a grown-up, you get out of the fetal position, stop crying and stand on that damn stoop and wave goodbye and hope its not for the last time. Commuter marriage is not for the weak.

What is commuter marriage?

It’s survival and groceries and mortgages. It’s not being homeless. It’s saying goodbye more often than you ever dreamed. Have you or would you ever be in a commuter marriage and make it work?

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Love and Marriage

Marriage, I have been thinking about it a lot lately. My marriage has been pretty easy. I know, you are thinking, what the hell is she talking about she is constantly bitching and moaning about this “commuter marriage” situation. This is true. But I mean, overall, its been seamless. Even with all the stress of the space between us, there has never been a moment when I have thought to myself..”This marriage isn’t working” (Excuse me while I..Pssst Psst ( That was me spitting , you know to alleviate any potential for the evil eye or some marriage curse to come raining down on my head like a flood of boulders).

No matter the space or time between us, the finances, the stress, babies, dirty socks on the floor, two complete opposites sharing a life; it has always come down to this, we love one another.I know they say that you can’t live on love alone but one thing that the Big Guy and I share is that we both firmly know, without a doubt, that it is what sustains us.My faith in him and his love for me is unwavering, like my faith in God. And he knows that no matter what situation life throws at us, I am for him, forever. My love for him is unquestionable.Its so beyond reproach that I don’t have any reservations ever about being completely myself with him.Its been like that since our beginning and I think that is what makes us work.

He is my soft place to land when I get all worked up, stressed out and go flying off the handle…because I have a tendency of doing that. I am his catalyst. I push him forward and lift him up. We are the yin to the others yang.But above it all, we knew going in that marriage is work. I say it’s “easy” not because we don’t work at it but because the foundation is strong. Don’t get me wrong, we have our bad days. We fight ( well, mostly we bicker) and get on each others nerves.It’s not all perfect all the time. In fact, I personally believe ( and I say it all the time) I fight because I care. I think this marriage is worth fighting for, tooth and nail;scratching eye balls out ghetto style fighting if need be. If I didn’t get passionate about things, heated over debates, loud at disagreements..then there would be a problem. He knows this, so he lets me rage and is there when I need his shoulder. He is actually the complete opposite. He is calm, laid back, and lets things roll off his back. I admire that about him. I wish I could be like that, at least some of the times:)

I know several people who have divorced or separated and I can’t imagine how hard that must be.Not so much the starting over ( though I am sure that is not easy) or being alone but the letting go and giving up on your best friend. The part where you have to relinquish your forever. Suddenly, you are cast back out into the water to forge a new life for yourself. It’s not fair and it sucks. I can’t imagine and I hope I never have to know.

So, what do you think is the number 1 quality in a marriage? Transparency? Trust? Love? Passion? Friendship? All of thee above? None of thee above? Tell me what sustains your marriage?

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marriage, separate beds, sleeping apart, MAD Life, CafeMom

Do you and your spouse sleep in the same bed every night or do you enjoy sleeping apart? We don’t. In fact, most nights we don’t. Is getting sleep that important? Hell yeah, says the insomniac who works late nights and has two young children. Sleep is the best thing ever, except for Ambien sex. Ambien sex trumps everything. Especially Ambien sex with your husband. But I digress…

The Big Guy gets up for work every day at 4:30 a.m. I am a night owl, a constant insomniac if we are being truthful, so bedtime for me is normally between midnight and 2 a.m. Add to that the fact that I snore during allergy season and our littlest one always seems to end up in our bed and we’ve just conceded to the fact that Monday thru Thursday night, the Big Guy sleeps in the guest room.

At first, I kind of loved it. I’m sure he did too. I had the king-sized bed all to myself. I could stay up as late as I wanted, watching television and working. It was awesome. Then, when it was all said and done, I could sprawl out (until my little one found her way to my room) all across the bed. It was awesome. Well, for a little while anyways.

Have we become complacent? Some times, I feel like we are some old married couple like Ethel and Fred Mertz. You know the cantankerous old couple from the building that slept in separate beds and could barely stand one another? But hey, Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds too and they were madly in love. So what does sleeping in separate beds really mean? We love one another but we’re so comfortable sleeping in our own beds and actually SLEEPING that we just do. Problem is… I miss my husband. I do. I miss turning over in the middle of the night, reaching out and just knowing he is there.

marriage, separate beds, sleeping apart, MAD Life, CafeMom

 

Do you think sleeping apart is indicative of depleting intimacy?

Sure, we’re still intimate (maybe not as often as we might be if we actually slept in the same bed but maybe more so) and our marriage is still rock solid BUT are we on borrowed time? I mean is it all going to go south one day? Are we growing apart and don’t even realize it? Is sleeping in separate beds leaving just enough room between us for someone else to insert themselves? These are all valid concerns, right? Is a good night’s sleep really worth risking your marriage?

Am I fooling myself by thinking that our marriage is strong enough to survive long distance intimacy? We survived 2 years of commuter marriage and that is probably where this all started but am I insane to think that a couple can sleep in separate beds but still be connected intimately?

I think just because you sleep in separate beds doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost that “loving feeling” at all.  The Big Guy works from home 2 days a week and those are our “afternoon delight days” and we do sleep in our bed together on weekends, so I’d say our sex life is pretty healthy. In fact, him being in the other room adds a little sauce to the mix. It keeps me on my toes to receive random snapchat pics and sexts from across the hall. Believe me, I will gladly turn off any television show for a romp with the Big Guy any day of the week.

The only thing that suffers is that some times, I  just want to be able to reach over and cuddle ( I sound like such a girl right now) not often because I am not really a cuddler during night time hours. I prefer to cuddle on the couch while watching a movie. I enjoy the spontaneity and flirtation that not knowing if we will be sleeping in the same bed has afforded us. It’s taken the restrictions off of sex. Sex is no longer confined to our bedroom and intimacy is not just sex. It’s talking, texting, emailing. It’s a brush of his hand on mine. It’s like dating after 15 years of marriage. So, maybe this sleeping apart is good for a marriage….or maybe we’re considering buying a queen sized bed to replace our king sized one?

I’m not sure what we will do but I do know that when I want him in my bed, all I need to do is tell him and vice versa.

For topics like this and many more on parenting, relationships and just about anything else under the sun facing today’s parents, check out Mad Life at CafeMom.

What do you think of sleeping apart from your partner?

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Love and Marriage ~ Apparently last week was National Marriage week. I, myself, was so deep in the throes of actually being in a Marriage that it completely escaped me. Well, to be honest, I never knew there was such a thing. But to be fair, I think it is a wonderful idea. I mean if we can celebrate Veterans Day and President’s Day, we can surely give some credit for those of us who have maintained a long and happy marriage, or maybe I should say those of us who make the decision daily to stick with it and be there and grow together through the thick and thin.Yes, that is marriage. It is choosing your best friend and planning a life together.

Marriage is more than Bells and Whistles

It’s not always like it was in the beginning, with all that new car smell and the fancy bells and whistles but it is definitely a worthwhile investment, if you choose wisely. It has come to my attention lately that most of my single friends have a similar response for why they are not yet married ( not that everyone needs to be married but these people I speak of have been close but never closed the deal) it seems that they expect it to always be in the “I can’t keep my hands off you, you’re the most awesome thing in the world, every moment I see you is like a Fijian sunset” phase. I know, my married friends reading this are chuckling and my single friends are saying , “yeah, so what?” The fact of the matter is this, that phase of marriage does not last (not at that intensity level) but something deeper evolves.

It may not appear like my husband and I can’t live without one another every second of every day these days but let me tell you..once you’ve been through several years of marriage, children being born, several moves, births, deaths, the entire world changing around you..you become one another’s beacon of love and hope. You are one another’s home. You are the place where the other can go and let down their guard and be the self they are when they are alone but they get to share it..with you.That is marriage.

Love+Hope+Happiness=Marriage

I wouldn’t trade the look in his eyes that I get now for the look that I got when we were two college hotties living to jump one anothers bones. No way! Now, he looks at me in awe…like I am amazing. He knows the fortitude and strength it takes to do what I do. To be the mother of his children, to love him no matter what, to get the things done that need to be done but he also knows that when I get dressed up and do my hair, nails, make up and we are alone, I can still be that girl in college. Its just that now, I keep him fed,clothed, make our house our home, and I am his. I still see him and want to jump his bones and he does mine, as well…just now its not the only thing that we feel and see when we look at one another.I’m not knocking my single friends, I just feel like if they are expecting the new car smell in a relationship to last forever..or worse yet, passing up happiness in search of that metaphoric “new car smell”, they may be missing out on something wonderful.

I have a theory about marriage, it relates to the housing market ( I have houses on the brain, since I’ve been searching for the past 6 months). Getting married is like buying a house, you find that house that you want to make your home and want to live forever. In reality, you may not live there forever but while you are there, it is a good investment. You make it your home, you create memories, you live and grow there. Someday, you may have to sell or want to upgrade but that home was a positive, wonderful thing in your life. It may have been where you had your children, or where you grew up yourself. It is where you lived the seasons of your life in love and security. Now, perpetual dating is like renting an apartment. You have a small commitment, no equity invested, and you can leave and upgrade or change apartments at anytime on a whim. There is no reason to stick out the rough times when the pipes are leaking, or the apartment no longer suits your furniture or lighting tastes. You simply walk away.

I personally hate apartment living, because I have lived in a house. Maybe I was meant to live in a house, but I need to be somewhere that is mine and I can invest my life , my time, my heart, and my sweat and tears into.Plus, as a sidebar, just a reminder, my single friends, its easier to break a lease than to sale a house.

Marriage is having your best friend at your side forever

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marriage, sex, couples, marriage, commuter marriage, love, relationships,sex

Maybe you can’t relate to my particular circumstances, maybe you can. Marriage is hard, especially when you love your spouse and worse, if you like him. You can imagine what shit mine has been since my husband is, quite literally, my best friend.

For the past 5 years (almost 6), we have been “not normal.” Well, definitely not traditional. We went from a young family with a preschooler and barely a toddler living in a nice suburban college town to a family separated by time and distance via a commuter marriage. The Big Guy worked in one state; we lived in another and only saw him on weekends. In case you were wondering what that was or how it goes, it sucks by the way. It sucks BIG TIME!

To be honest, this was the time I started this blog. Maybe I should have named it “This is why Marriage Sucks” blog. But it didn’t suck. The situation did but I loved my husband, and more than that, I liked him…a lot. I still do most days.

Then, after 2 years of that utter hell and mess of commuter marriage and the loss and gain of 3 separate jobs, we finally got to live together with my in-laws for a year, that was the year that I had a miscarriage and turned 40. It pretty much blew.

Then we bought a house; a fixer upper that we are still fixing up, but a place of our own. The Big Guy was still driving 2 hours each way to and from work. Do the math. He left for work at 5 a.m. He got home from work at 5:15 p.m. Our girls go to bed at 7:00. He went to bed at 9 p.m. The girls and I see him for about 1 hour and 45 minutes a day, Monday thru Friday. Oh yes, it did f*cking suck.

I haven’t complained for a long time. After all, what was the point? We had no control over that situation. It was a down economy and being middle class, we had no handouts or hands up to be given. We had to figure it out and we did. I’ve just been grateful for the little wins but I will be honest with you now, it was hard.

He missed most of our children’s childhood up until this point. That was rough on all of us, most of all him. He went from the all in father who did everything with his girls to being essentially a part time dad, against his will which made me, ahem, an almost single mother. It was lonely and overwhelming.

Don’t get your panties in a twist. Yes, I had him on weekends but weekends are not enough when you are expecting forever. Try it, and then you will see how terrible it really is. They lie when they say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all because when you’ve loved, you know what you’re missing and it goes the same for marriage.

Today, for the first time in 5 years (most of our children’s lives) we live together, sleep together, in the same house, in the same state, 7 nights a week. This morning the Big Guy started a new job in our town, 20 minutes away. This morning our family finally became normal again.

This morning he kissed me goodbye. This morning our girls got to say, “Good Morning, Daddy” and wrap their little arms around his big neck. This morning I didn’t have to worry about my husband driving 2 hours on icy roads each way, holding my breath until he was home. This morning, for the first time in a long time, I felt like things were going to work themselves out…finally.

Tonight, he will be home in time for dinner and not be exhausted from getting up at 4:30 a.m. After the girls go to bed, we will be able to snuggle on the couch and watch television and talk to one another, instead of just a short catch up on what happened with the kids before he went to bed in another room as I stayed up until the wee hours of the night doing work.

Today, we are “normal” again.

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marraige equality, same-sex marraige, homosexuality, love, marraige, parenting

Marriage Equality, Same sex marriage, love, marriage, human rights

Marriage equality is not an honor it is a right, like the right to breathe. They say that love is blind. The heart wants what the heart wants. God makes no mistakes. We teach our children all of these lessons on love and equality. We pound these ideas into their heads before they can even walk. We brainwash them to equate happiness with marriage and children and a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence.

Where does marriage equality fall in all of this?

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marriage sexy, marriage, married sex, relationships, parenting

Or as I like to say, the truest marriage story ever told.

Marriage is different for every single couple. We all have these preconceived notions of what a marriage should look like based on what we experienced within in our own family.

For me, my parents’ marriage looked like two people who loved each other, except for when they didn’t. There was a lot of physical attraction and affection but there were definite gender roles. There was no shortage of PDA in our house but they were not equals.

My dad was in charge and my mom was slightly above the children in her social standing within the family. He took care of her and she liked that but the price of being taken care of was being treated like a dependent instead of a partner. I knew then that was not what I wanted out of a marriage. I wanted a strong man who could handle a strong woman. I wanted us to be in life together.

My dad took care of the outside things like going to a job and providing for us, barbecuing, taking care of the cars and the lawn. My mom took care of everything inside the house, including the six children and all the household chores, grocery shopping, kissing booboos and cooking. Never did the two roles meet. That’s not how my marriage is.at.all.

My marriage is sexy.

Our marriage is one of partners. I know everybody says it, but my husband really has been my best friend since college. We do what we are good at. Sometimes we do fall into those traditional roles. My dad taught me how to change the oil and my tires but I haven’t since I met my husband. I used to mow the lawn but my husband does to so mostly, I let him do it. Of course, I don’t see anyone fist fighting the cleaning fairy to do the dishes up in this mother but if I ask, the Big Guy always jumps in and loads the dishwasher. And the man is a clothes washing beast on the weekends. Folding? No, that’s another story.

But overall we both do whatever needs to be done. But I do work from home so it’s always just been assumed, by both of us, that I will do the drop offs, pick-ups and volunteering. I pack the lunches and make most of the meals. Though he is always willing to make dinner on the weekends and any night the girls and I are stuck late at ballet. To be honest, he is a much better cook than me.

My husband is pretty freaking awesome. I mean he’s married to me and he’s never asked me to be anything less than who I am and believe me, I am a handful. He’s my biggest cheerleader and my partner in this crime we call parenting. But he did something the other morning that took him to a next level.  Yes, the man just leveled up on his husband game. I didn’t even think it was possible. I mean, if you ever talk to my mom she will tell you, he is a damn good man.

In one small chore for husbands, one giant leap for husband-kind he became the sexiest man alive over breakfast on Tuesday. He did something so small but so huge that I can’t believe every husband hasn’t offered to do it. If they only knew the benefits they would reap, there would be an epidemic of feminist men.

Firstly, let me preface this by saying that last week, out of the blue for the first time in 7 years of having children in school, he offered to start dropping the girls at school on the regular. He does it when I need him to but he offered to do it daily. For no reason.

This instantly made marriage sexy beyond belief.

First, I was shocked. Then I assumed that he must be having an affair and then I was so giddy to know that he was going to get them to school that I convinced myself I could forgive the affair. ( Babe, if you are reading this….I’m just kidding, you know the rules.) That means I no longer have to argue with them about being late (they don’t pull that shit with him), I don’t stress out for the first hour of my day AND I gained an extra hour to my day. It’s brilliant and I’m not going to lie, he got my juices flowing with this out of the blue act of kindness.

I mean, he’s thoughtful and sweet and caring and all those other things but he’s human. Both of us always consider the other one but no one is going out of their way to eliminate the normal day-to-day minutia.

marriage sexy, marriage, married sex, relationships, parentingThen, on Tuesday, he blew my mind. He got up, already going to give them a ride to school, and he made them breakfast. BOOM! What? I almost fell over dead because I didn’t even ask him to do it. There he was, like a freaking sexy angel, making the girls scrambled eggs. That eliminated the, “What do you want for breakfast” headache, leaving me with only the, “What do you want for lunch,” struggle. I didn’t think it was possible to fall deeper in love with this man but I did. Not going to lie, it took everything in my body, not to throw him on the counter and take him right there. Anyways, apparently, scrambling eggs for kids gets my motor running these days. Remember when it was a nice ass and abs?

Anyways, that ignited something in me and my husband has gone from regular, old “I love you” sexy to hottest mother effer on the planet. I’ve spent all day the last two days trying to figure out how to kick things up to carnival ride status in the bedroom because him making scrambled eggs, more importantly alleviating the need for me to do so, has just made me want to rock his world.

Now, if I could just get the girls to stay out of our bed maybe I could thank him properly for those scrambled eggs.

That’s how scrambled eggs made my marriage sexy, what little thing does your partner do that makes them the sexiest partner alive?

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love in marriage, Love, marriage, Valentine's Day, Big Guy

Do you think love in a marriage can be as passionate as love before marriage? Like head over heels, “I would live forever just to be by you” love? “I love you so damn much that I want to be ghosts with you” love? The kind of love in a marriage that you never want to let go of?

The kind of love in a marriage that makes you brave.

I’m not usually a sappy person here, well, not too often anyway, but this Valentine’s Day something happened. I’ve been changing a lot of things in my life lately but one thing hasn’t changed. The Big Guy has always been my rock; my constant.

The Big Guy is what I affectionately call my husband here on this blog. If you’ve been a long-time reader, you know it’s because he is 6’5” not because I think he’s God, though many of you have asked me that before. He really is a big guy and we have big kids but with him, its not just his stature. He laughs big, he smiles big, he loves big, he’s just a big personality and anyone who has met him can attest to that.

Even living with all this bigness all the time, it truly is the little things that count with us and he gets that. He’s always gotten that and that’s one of the reasons I adore him so completely.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I know many of you think it’s just a Hallmark holiday and in many ways, it is. I was never big on the holiday because, in previous relationships, it just felt like an inevitable trap to be let down. I’d get my hopes up and things would never measure up. Then I met my husband and ever since that first Valentine’s Day, he’s always made it more than special.

The kind of love in a marriage that makes you forget reason.

You see, we got engaged on January 23, 1998. Random weird time to get engaged right? Especially since we had only been dating for 4 months at the time. I was completely speechless when he asked me in the middle of a club. There was no ring, there was no drop to your knee It was him screaming over the music and me shocked. It felt impetuous. I wasn’t so sure if it was him or all the alcohol he had been drinking that was asking me to spend the rest of my life with him so it took me a couple weeks to give him an answer. Sounds terrible, right? Wrong.

When I called my sister to tell her what this crazy guy at university has just done, she said, “Oh yeah. Weird, I thought he was waiting until Valentine’s day. He told us at Thanksgiving that he was going to ask.” Wait! What? November????

Apparently, the proposal was not impetuous, only the delivery. He had been planning for months, though he still didn’t have a ring. He told them he knew from the moment we met that I was his soulmate. To be honest, after being burned by the previous few guys I had dated, I was kind of jaded on the whole “soulmate” thing. Not, him. Not my Big Guy.

Apparently, he was a little nervous and it just popped out of his mouth on the dance floor, a couple weeks early. That’s why there was no ring.  Maybe I was accidentally doing some sort of fertility/marry me dance that I didn’t even realize I was doing and my female wiles overtook him. All I know is the sweetest man I had ever met (and barely knew) asked me to marry him. My answer? I love you and then I casually walked away as if he’s just asked me if I wanted a beer.

We both pretended it didn’t happen. Then a week or so later while sitting across the computer lab he emailed me a note that read, “so are you ever going to answer me?”

Yikes, he hadn’t been that drunk. I told him I didn’t think he was serious and I needed to think about it because it was a serious question. It wasn’t like, do you want fries with your burger. It was the biggest question of my life.

Do you love me enough to spend the rest of your life with me?

Finally, I answered. It was really simple, I asked myself, can you live the rest of your life without this man in it? My answer was quick and all consuming, no. After knowing him, I couldn’t see my life playing out with anyone else. It depressed me to think of not seeing him every day or hearing that big crazy laugh or seeing that big beautiful smile so I said, “Hell, yes!”

I got an engagement ring for Valentine’s Day that year. That’s why Valentine’s Day is special to me. Not because of the holiday per se but because it was supposed to be the day the Big Guy asked me to be his wife but he was just so damn eager that he couldn’t wait. Awwww, right?

He’s always done Valentine’s Day big. He pulls out all the stops. But this year I didn’t want a big elaborate gift. I wanted something more personal. I wanted him. I wanted his love in a tangible form. Sometimes love in a marriage becomes quieter and more of a hum than a roar. I wanted a roar.

I wanted a playlist (modern day mixtape), a hand-written note from him (which ended up being the sweetest Facebook status ever) and I didn’t want to cook dinner. Other than that, I just wanted to be together. That’s exactly what I got.

love in a marriage, Love, relationships, marriage, Valentine's Day, Big Guy

Needless to say, I spent most of yesterday crying happy tears because he kept sucker punching me with all the feels. It was glorious. Proof that love in a marriage can sweep you off your feet just as much as any new, shiny relationship.

The kind of love in a marriage that makes you want to have babies just so there are more people like him in the world.

Every word was like salve to my soul. He is not a big talker. He’s more of a do-er. He shows me he loves me in his actions every single day. He’s the kind of guy who makes the scrambled eggs on school mornings so you can have a break. He’s the kind of guy who gives you the last bite of his sandwich because you’re still hungry, even if so is he. But I’m a writer and sometimes I want words and wow, his words were everything.

The playlist spoke to me in another way. It spoke to my heart with every lyric. Each song was more perfect than the last. It said everything I needed to hear.

You know how when you are young and dating you’re always wondering, just a little bit, where you stand in the relationship? How he really feels? Well, the Big Guy laid it all on the table and damn.

Love, relationships, marriage, Valentine's Day, Big Guy

The kind of love that leaves you speechless.

I don’t know how you spent Valentine’s Day but I hope it was amazing. I don’t mean fireworks, symphonies and diamonds (those things are nice) but amazing in that at the end of the day, you knew you were loved by someone for just being you. Unconditional, all-accepting love is something I never knew in my life until the Big Guy and nothing compares. No gift can compare 100% reciprocated, unconditional and equal love.

I don’t know if there are any words that can convey to him how much his words meant to me but I hope he knows that I couldn’t imagine spending my life loving anyone else. I was scared when he asked me to marry him because it was so soon in our relationship but every day, I thank God the universe that he chose me.

What is the one thing your partner did to show you that love in marriage could be just as passionate as when you were single?

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how to save your marriage, marriage, communicating in marriage, marriage counseling

Marriage is not always easy. Most of the time it’s hard. But where there is true and deep love, I think it’s worth fighting for with everything you’ve got. This is how to save your marriage by having the hard conversations, the uncomfortable ones that might leave you yelling, in tears or second-guessing your entire relationship but its better than the cold silence of not caring at all.

There is no guidebook that they hand out as a wedding gift called How to save your marriage. That would be a little dismal to say the least. But maybe there should be. Maybe they should just change the title and give that book to every single person even considering getting married.

What do you do when you’re in love with your spouse and they are crazy about you but you disagree on one thing? Sounds simple, right? You get over it or you compromise. You work through it. But sometimes the “thing” is so huge that getting over it is impossible. Parenthood is that topic.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Made my Marriage Sexy

Full disclosure, I had been ready to get pregnant since our first wedding anniversary but the Big Guy was really enjoying our time as a married couple. I come from a big family so wanting to be a mom was a given for me. He comes from a small family and, to tell the truth, I think he was lukewarm to the idea of little people. By about year three, I could feel my biological clock ticking. My brother had kids and I wanted babies too. Still, the Big Guy was slightly above lukewarm.

I was starting to panic. Not about having babies at that moment but whether or not he wanted to have them ever. That was a real problem for me because some hard decisions were going to have to be made. I knew I wanted children. Full stop. I also knew that if he didn’t, that’s not something that you can force someone into. What if I couldn’t live without being a mother and he couldn’t live with being a father? Was I going to have to divorce the man I was completely in love with and who loved me more than anyone else ever had? I was hiding from my own reality because I didn’t want to face it.

One day during year four, I just broke down and had the hard discussion, laid it all out on the table. Never have I been so afraid to tell anyone anything in my entire life because it really was a life-changing conversation. I didn’t make any threats. It wasn’t an ultimatum. But we had to face the obvious and have the conversation, I wanted to be the mother of his children. That wasn’t negotiable and I wasn’t going to change my mind. I knew I would feel like something was missing if I just gave up on that dream. I also told him that there was no way that I would ever ask him to be a father if he didn’t want it 100% because then he’d be miserable and we’d all suffer.

My brain knew that the only option if we couldn’t come to an agreement that we were both comfortable with, was divorce. Divorcing someone who you love and loves you back in a world where it is so hard to find that sounds ridiculous, I know, but what are your options when you can’t agree on something so huge? We had the talk and got it all out in the open. We both cried because it was hard and afterward, we laid in each other’s arms emotionally exhausted 20 somethings wishing it would all just not be an issue. But we both knew the problem wasn’t going anywhere.

READ ALSO: How to Train a Husband

It wasn’t that he adamantly didn’t want children. It was that he had never had an opinion one way or the other and his partner in the previous long-term relationship prior to me was adamant that she did not want children…ever. So he had reconciled himself to the fact that he would never be a father. Then he fell in love and married a Catholic, Mexican from a family of 8.

After a couple weeks, we don’t take the heavy questions lightly, he told me that after thinking about it for a while, he was prepared to plan to plan to have a baby. He wasn’t ready right that moment at 27 to become a father but babies were definitely on the table. We were both relieved and finally, on the same page. Then, a New Orleans long weekend away to celebrate our anniversary changed everything.

I won’t lie, I still wasn’t sure that he was 100% onboard but I could see him warming up to the idea. He started spending more time with our nieces and nephews and I could see a shift from holding a baby like it was a tiny bomb to cuddling the baby and smiling, feeling the joy that all newborns in your arm bring. We had time. But it had to be discussed.

So if you want to know how to save your marriage, this is my advice.

My point is that hard discussions have to be had for there to be honesty and trust in a marriage. You can’t avoid the hard things. They have to be faced head-on, together. These are the moments that make or break a marriage.

You’re probably wondering, why didn’t these 2 discuss their position on babies before getting married? Fair question. The only answer I have for you; we were in college when we got engaged after 4 months of dating. Our heads were not in charge of the situation. It was all heart. We were young and very much in love. I think we were both just taking it for granted that the other person wanted what we wanted. We hadn’t known each other long enough to know how different our experiences growing up were.

I’ve learned from my mistakes though. I’ll make sure that my girls have these conversations before they are married to their best friend and 4 years deep into building a life together. We were lucky it worked out. More than lucky, we are blessed that we were willing to face it together and talk it out and figure out together what we wanted out of our marriage.

What’s the biggest marriage challenge that you’ve faced as a couple?

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