Marriage is hard. You ask anyone and if they are being honest (might you say authentic), they will tell you the same thing.
So how is the picture of me (toes in the sand, no children or husband in sight) relevant to me working on my marriage??? Read on...
My husband is way more intune with my needs than I ever give him credit for - or I fear even more intune with me than I am with him. Did I just ADMIT he is better at something than me??? It must be the sun and fresh ocean air getting to my head... :)
Every year (or for the past three years at least), Marc encourages me to go on The Great Escape trip (originally referenced in this post) with ladies from my church. For the past two years I've even come down early - which puts me at five whole glorious nights away from my family!
Now you can choose to be judgey here if that makes you personally feel better, but I argue that time away from your children AND time away from your husband make you a better mom, wife and all-around better human! But only (and I stress this part), ONLY if you allow yourself to vacation/retreat/unwind/relax (whatever you want to call it) without a twinge of guilt. And in order for that to happen for you, your other half certainly has to be on board.
My other - make that BETTER - half is full-heartedly on board. Check out this email he sent me earlier before my trip.
Sweetheart, I know you're struggling right now. It's a combination between my being away from home (which is rough in its own right), but being sick on top of everything has made it really hard on you. It doesn't help that things were super stressful last weekend and we were getting frustrated with each other. The tiffs over the house. It just all adds up. It's been a rough time for several weeks now, especially for you since I've been gone so much...
I seriously cried when I read that in my inbox.
I cried because it was true. It was unexpected for me to see that my husband knew me so deeply and so truly. I cried because I needed that acknowledgement that life has been hard. And I cried from relief knowing that I could go on my planned ladies trip completely guilt free and take some time to stop feeling so overwhelmed.
As I return from a quick dip in this gorgeous body of water off 30A in Florida I feel revitalized and renewed. I feel stronger, more interesting, more courageous and more capable - all of which help me be a better me.
Do do you ever watch yourself slowly fading away? I just listened to this Sara Bareilles song and this one line sums up how I feel when I get overwhelmed with life:
In this deep city lights / Girl could get lost tonight
I'm finding every reason to be gone
Nothing here to hold on to / Could I hold you?
I seriously doubt my friend Sara (I call her my friend because her music is one of my all-time favorites - I LOVE music that evokes emotion and hers evokes laughter, tears, resolve, sadness, happiness, you name it...) was writing those lines for the middle-aged mom who finds herself lost in the day-to-day monotonous routine of wake up, work, kids, bedtime, repeat... But nonetheless, I identify with it strongly.
I also identify with another of her songs - and not because my story is in any way similar to the character's... but my feelings are from time to time. This song is beautifully haunting about a waitress who has lost her identity in an abusive relationship and searching for the girl "who use to be mine." The song was written for the broadway musical, "Waitress" and adapted from an Indie movie.
Just listen and tell me (regardless of your personal circumstance), this song doesn't speak to those times you just don't feel like you recognize your best (or worst) self anymore.
This song is a sad one. I haven't seen the movie, nor the play, but I can hear the sorrow in this story. And though I relate to times of feeling lost and hopeless, I'm reminded of the man I have in my corner. The man who writes sweet messages to me and wants me to get away from the burdens of every day life. The man who cherishes me for the "fire in my eyes" and helps me maintain my own identity even when it is so easy to lose one's self like the line says:
"Life just slips in a through a back door and carved out a person and makes you believe it's all true."
Maybe working on my marriage doesn't look like what you might typically think. But I guarantee you tomorrow morning when I pack up and leave to go home all the beach relaxing, meals with friends and conversations over glasses of wine, have made me better. I'll head that way a better wife, a better mom - and with several new friends to boot. I think you should try it!
And it all started with the freedom my husband gave me to just be me, enjoy myself, get away from the day-to-day and to feel awesome about it all while I'm doing it.
I'm ready to hit the reset button, babe. I love you.
Wife, mom and full-time marketing pro. Diet coke addict. Auburn fan (and alumn). Christian - striving to comprehend grace.