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marriage

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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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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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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relationship advice, married sex, children and marriage, sex, marriage

I’m not usually one to give relationship advice but when marital relations with children in the house is the topic, I feel it’s my duty to warn you about the dangers, especially the Lee Harvey Oswald. No, I didn’t just get shot in the head in Texas and there’s been no grass on the knoll since 1997. But, yes, to my horror I did just get shot in the eye unexpectedly. It was funny but not really because I’m pretty sure a mom can lose her left eye in such shenanigans.

Look, I’m not trying to go all TMI on you so early in the morning but most of you have kids, so you will totally get this and if you don’t have kids, you were a teenager at one point and had parents (more than likely) so you will totally understand what I am about to tell you.  It’s a tale as old as time, people trying to have sex while not trying to get caught by other people (in our case, little people.) I love the Big Guy more today than I did when we first got together almost 20 years ago and I still think he’s the hottest man in the room, but as our girls have gotten older “couple time” has gotten tricky.

This is the one bit of relationship advice about sex that you will want to take.

See, the kids are getting a little older and that means they are staying up a little later and getting up a little earlier. The point being after a couple episodes of Big Bang Theory or Last Week Tonight our “alone time” is spent which means that leaves very little time for “adult time”. That stinks. We’re humans, not just parents, we have needs. Needs and desires that require us to feel and be adults; entities that exist outside the realm of Mommy and Daddy.

A couple weeks ago the Big Guy was home for a week with a raging case of pink eye and believe me you; we used up every single moment of free time. It was like we were back in college just he had pink eye, I was jet lagged and we were in a bed and not in a rickety loft. Either way, it reminded us of how important “us time” really is. It’s not about just sex, it’s about intimacy and all it takes is some sneaky squirrel antics on our part, at least 15 minutes of distracted kids and a locked door is nice too. Damn open door policy in our house.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve spent the last decade playing the worst game of sex hide and seek ever. That game is stressful and not romantic. When they were small it was easy, we could take it to the living room floor, the conjugalorium, the half bath or even the laundry room or a closet if we were really in dire straights. Sure we got busted a couple times but we played it off. They thought they dreamt mommy and daddy were wrestling.

But now, if we’re caught someone’s going to be traumatized. The girls are ballerinas and I swear they must float on air because they need to wear bells because they are the best sidlers I’ve ever known, especially the little one so the risk of getting busted is dangerously high.

This morning the girls requested an early wake up call so that they could shower. We saw our opportunity. We had to take it. So the minute we heard the shower start, the clock was ticking. We locked the door and took what was ours.

Then it happened. I got Oswalded. We heard the shampoo drop and in a frantic rush we knew it was now or never. We also knew that I was ovulating and we are a strictly no more baby household, especially considering that a couple weeks ago everyone in my gynecologist’s office couldn’t stop asking if I was menopausal? It must be the matronly swagger with which I rock my skinny jeans and TOMs.

In a frantic scurry not to procreate, we “ disengaged” and that’s when “it” grazed my stomach, ricocheted off of my left breast and hit me squarely beneath my eye before continuing on to the pillow. MY EYE! I was in shock. Was I dead? Was I bleeding? One thing I knew for sure, and thank God for the positive side of everything, I wasn’t pregnant.

Now, I totally get it…the whole, you’ll shoot your eye out and you’ll go blind statements of our mothers past…the force with which a weekend build up holds could surely render me a wondrous one-eyed Willie. How the hell would I explain that my husband Lee Harvey Oswalded me during a quickie because we were afraid our kids would catch us?

Here’s the relationship advice everybody trying to have sex with kids in the house should heed…

Lock the damn door and take your time. You deserve it. I know it’s hard having with kids standing on the other side and it’s a little terrifying especially since I think my littlest might know how to pick a lock but damn it, your eyesight is important. It’s all fun and games until someone gets their eye shot out and a sticky eyebrow as a parting gift.

As a parent what piece of relationship advice would you give another parent about having sex with kids, especially older ones, in the house?

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romance, marriage, the romance of marriage,sex

The romance of marriage might not look anything like what you thought it would when you first fell in love. Then again, nothing ever does. Hell, I was the best parent in the world before I gave birth and I had a very specific vision of what my romantic life with the man I loved would look like. I didn’t know shit.

In the beginning, romance meant not being able to keep our hands off of one another. It was every minute of every day being together, or at least wanting to be together. It meant nights sitting on rooftops, snuggled together watching the stars and kissing. In the beginning, it was sitting in his lap, long walks late at night talking about everything and nothing all at the same time. We were in college and on that first night, we met and neither of  us was particularly interested in the other but by the end of that night, something unexpected happened; he was everything I never knew I always wanted.

We’ve been married now for almost 17 years now, which comes as a shock to everyone, especially since we got engaged after only 4 months of knowing one another. He said he just knew. I was a little less rash in the beginning but I knew I loved him and I couldn’t imagine spending my life without him.

The romance of marriage evolves as it goes on.

Over time, the definition of romance has changed as we have grown and changed. Before children, it meant long weekends together, eating at 5-star restaurants, dancing and laughing until out legs couldn’t support us any longer. Then it meant making our way back to our hotel room through a fog of alcohol and lust and making love until we collapsed in one another’s arms. Those were the days when everything was ahead of us.

Then on one particularly special weekend spent celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary in New Orleans and life took a pleasantly unexpected turn, we were “blessed” with the conception of our first child. Then, weekends away were no more. Date nights went into retirement for 5 long years but it didn’t matter, we were too tired and too broke to go out anyways. To be honest those first few “date nights” and most after that for a couple years, we spent eating take out in our pajamas in quiet and going to bed at a reasonable hour; sometimes sex happened and sometimes it didn’t and we were both okay with that because anyone who has ever been a parent knows that sleep is way more important for everyone involved. It’s not like we’ve forgotten that “sex” is what got us into this predicament in the first damn place.

Not that I’m bitter about parenthood. I love my children, as much as anyone can love children that are awake. They are my favorite children in the world. I can tolerate their whining almost constantly but we’ve come to a point in our lives where we fully recognize, with the help of some sleep, that our children are only a temporary situation. Parenting little kids is not a permanent status, not in the way it is today or yesterday or will be tomorrow. It is ever changing and evolving. It is amazing, terrible and fantastic all at the same time and I wouldn’t change a second of it (not even the colicky ones or the night terrors or the endless nights of sleeplessness). It’s the best thing I will ever do.

These days date nights are still pretty few and far between for the Big Guy and I. Not that we don’t enjoy a night on the town, it’s just that date night for us means kids sleeping over at Grandma’s and that means a whole lot of coordinating of dates and times because Grandma and Grandpa have a life (more than the Big Guy and I apparently). But sometimes, a couple just needs a date night; a minute to remember whom you were before babies. A second to remember why you used to forgo sleep and food just to devour this other person literally and metaphorically; why they were your everything. They are still there and you need to recognize that, out loud, at least occasionally. A little slap on the ass, deep kiss in the middle of the afternoon or a text that says, ” I can’t stop thinking about you sexy!” can go a long way in reminding them that you still find them to be an attractive sexual being, even if it’s buried under spit up and stains and a hangry attitude.

The romance of marriage is about loving someone so much that you can still see them, even when they feel like they have begun to disappear.

So we jumped through all the hoops, signed all the necessary documents and voila, 3 weeks later we got a date night approved and it was glorious. First, he took me to see a horror movie in.the.theater. That never happens. We are all about the Netflix and Chill situation. In return, I chose a restaurant that he had been wanting to try; a microbrewery in an old warehouse. It was by no stretch of the imagination 5-star but it was quaint and it was nice to be there with him. Hell, I was having such a good time sitting at our chalkboard table, sampling my flight of craft beers (totally out of my comfort zone) that I barely even noticed the herd of hipsters with handlebar mustaches playing chutes and ladders or some shit at the next table. Barely but obviously a little bit. Who the hell cannot stare at a handlebar mustache with a man bun and a Member’s Only jacket playing Chutes and Ladders? Seriously.

We ordered off of the very limited (as if it were secret) menu. My choices were a Nutella hotdog or a BLT with Gouda or some other 3 pub specialties. I chose the BLT because I was starving and needed something to fill my empty stomach that was fighting what I found out the next morning to be the flu. The Big Guy chose some sort of beef sandwich. But none of that was important, what was important was that there we were talking, drinking, laughing and being “us” with no one calling us mommy or daddy for miles.

At one particularly romantic moment of the night, I excused myself to the restroom only to return to my seat to find the words “SEXY!” with an arrow pointing to my seat scribbled in chalk on the table. Sounds simple, right? But it made me feel sexy. It made me feel like he saw me, for the first time in a long time. Of course, he soon followed that message up with his own message on his side of the table, directed toward the waitress, “ Check Please. I’m going home to have SEX!” It made me laugh. It made me feel wanted and we left the hipsters to their chutes and ladders. Sure, it was only 10 p.m. but that was really f*cking adorable.

On the way home I told him that I really wanted something sweet. Obviously, the hipster brew worx didn’t serve dessert unless you count the Nutella on the all beef hotdog. I didn’t. So he stopped by the grocery ran in and returned the sexiest man alive with a box of fudge pop tarts and a giant bouquet of wild flowers from the grocery store, just because…my favorite kind of flowers in the world. Apparently, I’m cheap and easy.

It wasn’t a five star date night by any stretch of the imagination but it had the same effect and ended the same way, minus the dancing until our legs gave out because since I broke my leg, it doesn’t work like it used to. Of course, leave it to him to make even that sexy because I’ll be damned if he didn’t give that ugly scar a little kiss while he massaged my leg that night, like he’s done for months while I’ve been recovering from this broken leg.

That’s what the romance of marriage is really about, falling in love with the same person over and over again throughout time. Choosing to love them every day.

What is your definition of the romance of marriage?

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

When the Big Guy and I met, we were in college. We, literally, had nothing to offer one another but ourselves. We were young, babies really; at the funny age where you look like an adult but you just don’t have the wisdom and experience in life to be a real grown up.

Ours was not a typical love story. We met, neither of us wanting or expecting anything out of the meeting, and somewhere between being completely unimpressed and a long walk home on a random autumn Monday night, we fell head over heels and we didn’t even know it. All we knew is that we craved the other’s company like air and before we knew it, being together was as natural as breathing.

It was easy, passionate and deep like most things in life tend to be in your early twenties. It was like coming home to the one place you were always meant to be, someplace that belonged to just the two of you.

There was no pretense of forethought in our relationship, we were completely ourselves and that was more than enough. Soon, he was my best friend and I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else. When I say soon, I am not exaggerating. He proposed to me after dating for just under four months.

The impetuousness of our youth was what made the impossible possible. If we had been older, less trusting or worldlier we would have never jumped so blindly into the biggest decision of our lives. We would have over thought it. We would have waited. None of it made sense. It wasn’t love at first sight but from the first night that we spent talking, I knew he was someone that I wanted to get to know; someone worth knowing. Then, somewhere between physical lust and eternal devotion, we found unconditional love.

In those days, we were as happy sharing a bowl of Frosted Flakes on his futon as we were eating a five course meal at a five star restaurant. We were as happy camping out under the stars as we were staying in a chic diamond hotel in a booming metropolis. It’s never been about what we’re doing or where we’re doing, it’s always been about who we’re with. All we’ve ever needed to be happy is one another’s company and sincere conversation.

Though life has changed drastically these days and we no longer live in a tiny one bedroom apartment all we still need to be happy is one another. These days there are children deadlines, boards, travel and a million other responsibilities in our lives but at the heart of it all, we are still those two college kids sitting on the futon falling head over heels in love over a bowl of Frosted Flakes.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post written for Frosted Flakes but all opinions are my own.

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a life that's good, marriage, spouse, love, family

What do you think constitutes a life that’s good? It’s been a really weird couple of weeks. I’m not sure that mentally, I’ve completely returned from vacation. It’s difficult to get back into a routine when you’ve just spent 2 weeks living on vacation time. But when something unexpected like illness is thrown your way, well, your world goes from hazy to upside down in zero seconds flat. You find yourself discombobulated and confused. You find yourself weary and worn. You find yourself changing perspective and reprioritizing. Then, you find your way.

Sunday morning started like every other Father’s day, I told the Big Guy to sleep in. Then I went downstairs and began making espresso and cooking breakfast, as our girls busied themselves making him the sweetest Father’s Day banner to date. Everything was right in my world. I was feeling blessed.

The day before was spend doing yard work and teaching the girls how to play basketball. Things were starting to fall back into a groove. Normalcy was settling in and the overwhelming exhaustion of reentry was dissipating. Then it happened. The other foot. I always get cocky when things are good and then life throws me a curveball to instill a little humility.

After breakfast, the Big Guy said he wasn’t feeling “well” and went to lie down. I went up after him to check in on him because this is very out of character for him. I found him laying in silence, fist clenched as he stoically winced. I knew something was wrong. In the 18 years that I have shared a life with this man, I’ve never seen him do this. He has a high tolerance for pain (unless you count the man cold) but this was something different. I knew he was in pain. It’s humbling to see a 6’5”, 250-pound man incapacitated. It scared me because what if it was something serious. What would I do without him?

a life that's good, marriage, spouse, love, family

I asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital, he brushed it off. I knew better. I called my in laws to come stay with our girls and,in silence, we headed for the hospital. Happy Father’s Day to the Big Guy. I hate the ride to the hospital. It’s always the time my head thinks all of the worst thoughts.

We spent all day there. It was a three Xanax kind of day because seeing him in real pain made me feel helpless and that turned the volume up on my anxiety to high but I couldn’t show it. I had to stay strong for him, like he’s done for me so many times. All I wanted to do was breakdown. Think trapped wild animal but instead of a wild animal it was my emotions being forced silent inside of my head.

Deep breath. Keep your shit together lady. Pray. Check in on kids. See if he needs anything. Can I do something? Question the nurses and doctors like it’s your job (because it is.) Mind keeps going to the worst place. Get the hell out of my mind. Shift in my seat. Hold back the tears. Deep breath. Keep shit together. Pray….Repeat!

Eventually, after a CT and several other tests in which he was poked and prodded, they released him home to me with 3 bottles of medication and a strict clear diet and orders to see a surgeon the next day. I was happy to be taking him home but still my mind would not quiet. All I kept thinking was he needed to follow up with a surgeon. My thoughts were spastic and my heart was cracking. Stay strong bitch. This is NOT about YOU!

We went to the surgeon and for now, it’s nothing a couple weeks of high-powered antibiotics and some pain meds won’t fix. We’re scheduled for a follow up but today the prognosis is good. My mind is still worried, even with the 99.9% reassurance from the funny little doctor with the sunny disposition and wonderful sense of humor. To him, my husband is just another patient but to me, the Big Guy is everything.

The bottom line is that life happens and sometimes it’s some really shitty stuff like losing a baby or a parent or watching helplessly as your child or your husband is hospitalized. All you can do is pray and advocate, advocate and pray like their life depends on it because sometimes it does. The rest of the time all that we can hope for is a life that is good.

Speaking of which, about half way through writing this post, A Life That’s Good by Lennon and Maisy came on and the words spoke to my heart. This song sums up exactly what I’ve been feeling these past couple of days. Here are the Lyrics:

 

Sitting here tonight, by the fire light
It reminds me I already have more than I should.
I don’t need fame, no one to know my name.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray

I have a life that’s good.

Two arms around me
Heaven to ground me
and a family that always calls me home.
Four wheels to get there.
Enough love to share and a
sweet, sweet, sweet song.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray
I have a life that’s good.

Sometimes I’m hard on me,
when dreams don’t come easy
I wanna look back and say I did all that I could.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray
I have a life that’s good.

Two arms around me
Heaven to ground me
and a family that always calls me home.
Four wheels to get there.
Enough love to share and a
sweet, sweet, sweet song.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray
I have a life that’s good.

At the end of the day, Lord I pray
I have a life that’s good.

In the end, who cares about money, status or what other people think about us? All that matters is that we lived on our own terms, a life of few regrets and filled with lots of love. Care about the people who matter and don’t waste your time on those who you don’t matter to. These past few days have reminded me that I really do have a life that’s good and that is more than enough. That is everything.

Tonight, I am thankful. I am thoughtful. The people that I love are safe and healthy and that’s more than enough.

What do you think qualifies a life that’s good?

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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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marriage, love, lifetime, the Big Guy

I don’t talk about the Big Guy very much on here because, well, this isn’t the truth about my marriage blog. But sometimes, he does something and I think I really need to write about this…to remember it, to appreciate my marriage.

You know when you’ve been married to someone for 15 years, no matter if he is the greatest thing since sliced bread, it’s easy to take it for granted because they’re just always there and I think that’s when problems start to creep in. Nobody wants to be taken for granted.

The thing is no one wants to be the squeaky wheel in a marriage either, so many times, we suffer in silence. Well, not exactly suffer as much as stew. We let the small things irritate us and we don’t say anything because, really is the fact that he clips his toenails at the coffee table that big of a deal?

No, maybe it’s not but it is gross and if I just let it keep happening and never said, “Hey DUDE! That’s gross, can you do that in the bathroom and discard of the clippings into a wastebasket because accidentally stepping on one is about as dangerous and painful as stepping on a damn Lego in the middle of the night and it’s twice as annoying because a grown up did it!”

Sure, it may sound petty and even stupid to some but what’s the alternative? You stew. You hold onto it and you make this imaginary list of things your partner does that make you roll your eyes and one day the toenail clippings are the reason you are citing for a divorce. Toenail CLIPPINGS! What the hell? I don’t want to write toenail clippings, drops socks just outside of hamper or even never changes the toilet paper tube on divorce papers. Do you?

Then again, sometimes he does something so miniscule to him but so huge and sweet to me that you think he is more wonderful than wonderful because of a bite of a hamburger. Yep, that’s right. Toe nail clippings = irreconcilable differences. Last Bite of burger=Best.Husband.Ever.

So, the Big Guy has done this once before and that time I thought it was amazing too. I get hangry. There is no denying it. I am downright evil when I am hungry. Yet, most nights of the week, I cook dinner, serve dinner and drinks and then when everyone else is settled, I sit down to eat. I usually forget 12 things and have to jump up and run back into the kitchen.

Friday night is Family Night and so we decided on burgers for dinner last week. I have been trying to eat healthier and workout but Friday is eat what you want “within reason” night. I ordered a single cheeseburger and French fries. I gave half of my fries to the Big Guy because he eats more than me and I just couldn’t eat them all without all consuming guilt. You know what I’m talking about.

Anyways, I got to the end of my sandwich and said, “Damn, I should have gotten the double.”

I didn’t get the double because I can never finish it and it kind of makes me sick but on that particular night, we were all starving. The Big Guy had gotten home late and instead of eating at 5 p.m. as usual, we were eating at 7:30. I was so hungry that I could have eaten one of my children.

Just as I took that very last bite or my burger, my husband reached over and gave me the last bite of his burger and I fell in love all over again. I took half and gave him back half. Then my insides all turned to jelly. JELLY! Not from a burger but from the selfless act. He was starving too.

marriage, love, lifetime, the Big Guy

If you’ve been married or with someone for any amount of time you know why this was so huge. It was not about a burger. It was about putting my needs first. It was unconditional love in its purest form. It told me that he’ll always take care of me and that he loves me so much that he would sacrifice his own wants to fulfill my needs. It was a small bite of a burger but the gesture said more than words ever could.

You know, the funny thing is that the Big Guy is a really good guy all the time, mostly. He’s never really been the selfish asshole type and he’s always been good to me. He surprises me with the things I want. He encourages me to go after my dreams. He supports me in my career. He truly believes in me. He cooks, cleans and helps with the girls. In fact, if we ever were to divorce, my parents would blame me without even asking.

He told me when he proposed (after four months of dating) that I was his soul mate. I thought maybe he was crazy. Apparently, he meant it. Him and his last bite of the burger antics have me wanting to be a better woman; a better wife to him because damn it he deserves it.

So do the little things. Receive the little things because damn it the little things add up and they mean more than you probably realize. I love my husband more today than yesterday and today it is because of the last bite of a burger.

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ky liquibeads, couple in bed, marital relations

I am a member of collective bias and this shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and it’s advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Warning: This is a PG-13 post in which I discuss marital relations between consulting adults but if you are easily offended by discussing adult themed topics, you are welcome to stop reading.

What do you get for that special man in your life who has everything this Christmas? There is one thing that I know the Big Guy (and every guy for that matter) always likes…you know what I’m talking about, the freedom to be spontaneous like before you became parents. A little unprovoked, unsolicited, uninterrupted (ahem) personal “attention” and he can’t buy that (well, he can but he really shouldn’t.) Since I don’t own a time machine, nor are my beloved kids refundable, I’m asking Grandma to keep the kids overnight, adding a little personal lubricant ( come on ladies, you all know what I mean, sometimes we need a little jumpstart) and letting the good times roll. Merry Christmas, baby!

The Big Guy and I have been married forever for 15 years. When we first got married, romance was easy. We were in our 20’s so attraction and having relations didn’t take any effort at all. We were breathing and we were always ready. It didn’t hurt that we were both pretty hot. We were spontaneous because we had the leisure of time, privacy and youth. There was no stress, laundry or tiny people crawling on us and promptly spitting up on one or both of us. FYI, spit up.is.not.attractive.Not even on Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. These days, we are simply spontaneous challenged.

We’re 40ish. We have kids who are just old enough to be nosier than they should be. I have insomnia. He gets up for work at 4:30 a.m. and every night is a game of musical beds, thanks to recovering co-sleepers who still think they lay claim to our bed. Sometimes we’re just too damn tired. Yes, it happens!

Don’t feel sorry for us yet. Thanks to a couple afternoons of working from home, we manage some “us” time but I miss making out on the couch (with no one under 5 foot asking, “What cha doin?”), and being able to be spontaneously whisked off to bed/floor/kitchen countertops or finish what we started because kids arguing over Barbie dolls in the next room causes everything south to go dry like the Sahara. Honestly, why does no one tell you that children are female erection killers?

Speaking of which, last week, for 48 hours straight, on 3 occasions, the Big Guy and I were trying to “have relations” when the 7-year-old burst into the room or beat at the door. It’s like she’s my mom and she has radar whenever I might be trying to do the deed. I’m a teenager all over again, except this time I’ve got a mortgage and gray hair and I’m trying not to get busted by a person who sometimes still needs me to cut up her food. Thank God for bathrooms with locks.

So forget waiting for the perfect time, I’m sick of trying to fit “couple time” in between the minute they go to sleep and the surprise hour that they have to pee/get water/ or remember they had homework. Mama needs some adult time with the Big Guy.

ky liquibeads, couple in bed, marital relations

This Saturday, I’m giving us an early Christmas present, a child-free night where we can just be Debi and the Big Guy (not mommy and daddy) and maybe channel those two college students who met 17 years ago. I’ve enlisted grandma to keep the girls overnight, made a trip to Target and bought some K-Y® LIQUIBEADS® (to make sure everything down below is ready to go at a moments notice), made reservations for dinner at a place that doesn’t serve chicken nuggets and can’t wait to see where the night leads.

ky liquibeads, couple in bed, marital relations

I’ve heard good things about the K-Y® LIQUIBEADS® and they seem easy to use.

  • Simply place the OVULE insert firmly into the top of the applicator so it will not fall out.
  • Hold the applicator containing the OVULE insert by the opposite end from where the OVULE insert is located.
  • Gently insert the applicator into the vagina as far as it will go comfortably.This can be done while standing with your feet comfortably apart and knees bent.
  • Push the plunger all the way in to place th OVULE insert as far back in the vagina as possible.
  • Throw away applicator after use.
  • Insert a bead once every few days so that your body is ready whenever the mood may strike.

ky liquibeads, couple in bed, marital relations

I know sometimes when you are pregnant, you really want to be “spontaneous” often, especially with all those “romantic” dreams but if you’re pregnant or nursing, consult a doctor before using.

 

Coupon available coupon available at coupons.com $1 off any K-Y® product –

 

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