Marriage, it’s wonderful and so fulfilling… and, it’s also hard. You know that word duality, it means “two aspects of something”. For example, when something in life is both happy and hard. For me, that is how marriage has been.
I have learned a lot about myself and my own weaknesses through marriage and raising kids with my husband. We have been married for 23 years and we have 7 kids. It’s a lot. A lot of amazing moments and a lot of moments of intense negative emotions. In the grander scheme, all of this to me, means… GROWTH. Growing often requires pain. I wish it didn’t though. I was married at 20 years old. I was still a baby and immature, and I chose to be married to my husband for forever. I am so glad I did. Our commitment together has served me (both of us) well. There was a period where things were tough, and as humans do, we worked through our issues (and still do). Our marriage is better off because of it too. I am a supporter of divorce when it is needed, but in our case, our issues were workable, moldable, and we were both invested; this is key. Some of my issues stemmed from my growing up years. I learned to be ashamed of my mistakes. I carried a lot of this shame into my marriage which prevented me from showing my real self at times, because I was afraid of being rejected or abandoned. I was afraid of being exposed and that everyone could just tell how wrong I was. It took me a long time, but because of my supportive husband and learning to believe that the value I had couldn’t be erased- EVER, because my value comes from God. I learned that mistakes are ok, and I can be a good person, and still make mistakes. I have also learned what it means to be loved and to love back. There was a defining moment in our marriage where my husband was sincerely telling me how much he loved me, and I let his words sink in that time, and it was a huge epiphany for me. It felt so good to allow his love to permeate my being. I felt something I had not felt in a very long time. It didn’t make our disagreements go away, but it did remind me that he loved all of me, and not just the good parts and that he was safe to share things with.
Now onto the mom thing. Mom land is tough too. It’s all so encompassing. Early on I forgot some pieces of who I was. Little kid land just took over my life, and rightly so, I mean there is a lot to do in raising little humans from baby on up. Here are some things I have learned or am still learning:
- How to set boundaries
- Emotions are OK
- How to validate someone’s feelings
- How to value my time
- Say no, say yes
- Stay calm amidst being yelled at
- Said I’m sorry
- Faced my own childhood wounds
- Said I was enough just like I am
- Worked on giving my children the emotional connection that I wanted growing up
- Gave my children more physical affection than I had growing up.
All these things I learned through being a wife and mother. I became a better person by looking inward, facing fears, voicing my thoughts, and riding the waves during the hard times, and we are both better off for it. I could have learned these lessons in other ways, if marriage or mothering weren’t one of the options I had in life, but in my case, this was my path to learn these lessons. God provides avenues for us to grow on earth. And it is my belief that aside from bringing children to earth, the institution of marriage molds us into better people, by shinning a light on the parts of ourselves we want to keep hidden and providing opportunities to heal those broken parts of ourselves and learn to be a little less selfish. Or put more simply, to learn how to give love and receive love.