Hi friends! Happy Thursday.
Sixteen days ago I set out on a journey with many other women. The mission was simple: read Love Unending: Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood as it was meant to be read. A 21 day challenge to rediscover your marriage in this tremendously busy season of being a mama. Each and every day I’ve posted my reflections in my private Facebook group: A Cup of Coffee with Ames.
Y’all, I’m SO happy that I’ve kept with it. Every single day I’m diving into a chapter and soaking it in like a sponge. I’m either staring at myself in the mirror and saying, “AMY! You need to improve in this area” or happily listening and thinking, “Okay, we kind of rock at this one.” Even when influenza knocked me on my butt a little bit, I knew I could listen. I was fueled by the idea that my marriage means more to me than anything in the whole wide world. It is the foundation to this family and if I couldn’t make 15 minutes a day for that, what the heck was I doing with my life?
It has been an incredible journey. Drew and I have both felt the impact. I’ve discussed many chapters with him. Reflected on them. I’ve said “Babe, I want to change _____” as a way of being held accountable. Although the book is intended for women, it speaks to the heart of marriage and both people can benefit from it. Drew and I have such an open relationship and marriage that we aren’t afraid to say, “Yeah, I kind of suck at this one” or “Don’t you think ____ would help our marriage so much?”
And yes, I keep saying LISTEN. I’ve decided one of my very keys to positivity and mental health is Audible (Amazon’s Audiobook App): You can Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks with that link. I gifted the paper version to my friend and just learned into the fact that it is easier for me to get through books by listening right now than it is by reading. I’m ALWAYS listening to something positive as a way to train my mind to be more positive. And let me tell you: it works! I frequently listen to audible in the car. A book fills me up way more than music (of course there is a time when you just need a good jam out session too…or let’s be honest…I turn it up to drown out the babies crying if I can’t help them).
I thought it would be fun to share the chapter that I need the MOST work on so far and the chapter that I feel like Drew and I do really well at so far:
Biggest area for improvement. Chapter 1: Greet Lovingly.
Okay, so I did not start off hot. Greet Lovingly is a pretty simple concept, right? Except life with little babies and long to do lists. As Drew and I are in the throes of a busy week and the babies have had a difficult day, it feels like Drew is my relief and the help when he walks in the door. This chapter reminded me that most of all he is my HUSBAND. The man I fell deeply in love with and the man I’m still deeply in love with. Instead of thrusting a crying baby into his arms as soon as he is back from work, what if I greeted him like I did in the beginning of our relationship? Well, I tried the challenge and Drew thought I was trying to knock him over. 😉 We started our relationship dating from afar (well, Madison to Chicago anyway) and every time we saw each other there was the most exciting spark and biggest hug. How romantic that now my husband thought it was too aggressive. Anyway, I have to give myself pep talks. I have to say, “Amy, Drew had a challenging day too…it was just challenging in a different way. Our works are different, but he certainly isn’t on a break when at work.” I’m reminding myself of this chapter every single day until this is my new habit.
With all of that said, there was room for Drew to improve too. Transitioning from work to home is challenging for him. Because he has more of a type A personality, he walks in and wants to start doing tasks. I asked if he could be more conscious of giving me a kiss and talking for a few minutes before he starts doing other things.
Changing something that you aren’t great at in your marriage is WORK. Because you are trying to break a habit. It is conscious effort and many self pep talks. It is realizing WHY you want to change and reminding yourself of that when the day has been extra stressful. You can’t give yourself the excuse that it has been an insane day because ::newsflash:: those might happen often. And then what happens? You are rude to your partner more than you are nice. Who wants to live like that? Not this household.
ps. We’re NOT perfect at our changes by any means. Just yesterday I was sassy to Drew about what our dinner plans were. I let the stress mount up and took it out on him. I called him back and said “I’m so sorry, there was no excuse for that.”
Chapter we rock at. Chapter 13: Honor Consistently.
I speak so highly of Drew because I think so highly of Drew. He is an amazing man. If we hit a little rough patch or have an argument, I would never go drag his name through the mud. I not talk badly about him. I respect and love him too much to do that. And I know that he feels the same way about me.
As a caveat, I do believe in having those one or two friends that are a safe place to err your woes too, seek advice, or even just let out a complaint. Honestly, my friend Lisa will tell me how it is. She’ll give a great suggestion of how she has handled that problem in her marriage OR just listen. She knows how much I love Drew, she knows how much work marriage is with little people, she knows Drew is a good guy. I don’t have to preface it by saying, “Please don’t tell anyone this OR I love my husband but…OR….” I can just come as I am and tell her how I’m feeling.
If you are reading along, I hope you are getting as much out of the book as I am. This is one that I will reread/listen to over when I need the reminders.
Have a great weekend!