April 10, 2013

Love & Marriage Series: Overcoming Hard Times

Linking up with the Mix and Match Mama for the second blog post in the Love & Marriage series! As I said in my first post on this series, Chad and I have a solid marriage. We really like to talk out our problems and issues, and resolve them so we can both be happy, and content. But, after 4 and half years of marriage, almost 7 years together, and 2 kids, we have definitely had our challenges.

Right now, our marriage is pretty even-keeled, but we have had our share of knock-down drag-outs. Not literally, don't worry ;) But we both have a temper, and things used to get heated when we would really get into it. Fortunately, we kind of worked out all those "kinks" A.K.A. immaturity when we were dating, so by the time we got engaged, we were on solid ground. Funny fact: 2 months after we started dating, Chad really wanted to get married (we were both 20 at the time), his parents kind of talked some sense into him, and thank goodness because I know I would've said yes, and we still had a lot of growing up to do. We still got married really young, I was 22 and he had just turned 23, but those few years really did give us experiences that have helped our marriage tremendously. I was able to support myself and live alone for a couple of years, which I think was important. Chad was able to finish college, and get a good job.

I think one of the most challenging issues in our marriage has been finances. We got married November 2008, and the economy was not good to say the least. Thankfully, Chad had a job, and he continued to excel, and move up in his career, but for me, jobs were not readily available. I had just quit my job in Dallas at a car dealership when we moved back to Houston, and I did not want to take a job that required a lot of work on the weekends. I looked and looked, and had never in my life had a problem finidng a job before, but no one was hiring. It was crazy. I ended up becoming a nanny for Chad's cousin who had twin baby girls. Her phone call came on the exact day I quit a job I had after 2 days because it was so awful. It really was God's perfect timing, and I watched the girls until I became pregnant with Graham. I had to quit a few months into my pregnancy because of a lot of spotting I was having. We weren't planning on my becoming a stay at home mom so soon, but God has really worked it all out for us, and we have been truly blessed by me being able to stay at home with our children. It's really all I ever wanted to do anyway.

Chad's job is straight commision, so needless to say, he is pretty much always under stress. When we were first married, and he was learning the ropes, he was much more stressed trying to get a customer-base and learn about the business. Now that he has gained experience, confidence, customers, and has continued to succeed, he is much happier, even though he still stresses at times! It's just in his nature.

The one thing that has made such a huge difference in our lives is tithing. I cannot say enough about how this small act has made such a big impact for us. Tithing has not always been easy for us. When we first started to really commit to tithing, it was seriously a stretch. The amazing thing though, is God always provided. There was a time we tithed, and the next week we got a randmom check from my utilitly company from 2 years ago, for almost the exact same amount!!! It was so crazy to watch God's hand so literally in our lives, once we placed that trust in Him. We have come SO far in the past 4.5 years, and a huge part of it has to do with my hard-working husband, and the other part is God.

With having 2 kids two years and under, and basically being pregnant or nursing for 4 straight years, there have definitely been some challenges on that side of our marriage as well. Luckily, I really have had easy, great pregnancies. I did gain too much weight with Graham too quickly, and at the end was almost preeclamptic, but other than that, we've never struggled with infertility, I do not get horrible morning sickness, my labors have been fast and complication free, and our babies haven't had colic or been very difficult. Still, becoming parents and adding children to your family is hard no matter what. Trying to be a good parent to two toddlers is proving to be just as difficult! We both need to have more patience, both with the kids and eachother, and the main thing I have learned that we struggled with at first in our marriage, and when I started staying home is expectations.

Expecations are something you come to the marriage with. You have certain ideals that you grew up with, and you put those ideals both on yourself and your partner. I think we had a little bit of a hard time with this at first. We have fallen short on meeting eachother's expectations more than a few times. Chad has not been as senstive or supportive as I wanted/needed him to be at times, and the same can be said for me.

 As I said,  when I first started staying home, I was pregnant with Graham and since I had no baby to take care of yet, I had a lot of time on my hands. (Hence, the weight gain!!) ;) Chad was super supportive, and always said I was beautiful, and thankfully with nursing and light excercise, I was able to shed the baby weight within that first year. Just in time for me to get pregnant again, ha! I had to really learn what it meant to run a household though, and for the first time since I wasn't working, I was in charge of all the domestic responsibilities that we once shared.

I did the grocery shopping (we used to do that together), I did all the laundry and dry cleaning, all the cooking and cleaning, and Chad brought home the bacon and took care of paying the bills. To this day, that's how we do things. With the added portion of taking care of the kids ;) Not to say that Chad doesn't help out, because he does! And I have to give credit where credit is due. He does the dishes almost everynight after dinner, does just as much with the kids when he is home as I do, takes out the trash, and helps with the laundry when I ask him to. But there are some things that are strictly in my camp, like cooking dinner most nights, and cleaning. To this day I think he's scrubbed a toilet 1 time since we've been married (he got a stomach bug when I was pregnant with Claire) and that's ok with me, because that's what works for us.

  It took sometime to get into our groove, it took some fights and a lot of communicating. It turns out that I love to cook, especially new dishes. I like a fairly and orderly house, and so does Chad, so that works out well. We both clean up after ourselves most of the time, and he always notices and compliments me when he comes home to freshly vacuumed floors or whatever. (That doesn't happen a whole lot, but it's nice that he notices!) He loves my cooking, and always raves about the dinners I make for us. Things run pretty smoothly most days!

Sometimes I worry that our biggest challenge still lies ahead. We've only been married a very short time in the scheme of things, and life can change in the blink of an eye. I can only have faith that whatever comes our way, we will be able to come out stronger on the other side. I love Chad with all my heart, and I know he loves me. The Lord has his hands all over our marriage, and will be molding us to be the people he wants us to be through eachother, and through Him. I am so thankful the Lord answered my prayers, and gave me a husband with whom I can weather any storm.

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