I have spent all of my adult life with the same man.
We got married when I was 21. I remember the early years of our marriage as having ups and downs. We liked each other, but we really didn't always get along. We led basically separate lives. I had my friends, he had his. We rarely went out together. Our son was small, and his daughter was young so they were my main focus. We loved each other, but we had not yet learned to communicate well.
We have a close friend who is in a paraplegic. I remember thinking, early in my marriage, that if something like that were to happen to me, my husband would not stick around. I truly believed that. I don't know why I thought that was OK. But it was something I thought I knew, and something I accepted.
I remember one night when I basically had a meltdown and told him I thought he only married me because of our baby. I remember him holding me, and me crying, and him telling me he had never loved anyone like he loved me. That he loved our son, but that wasn't why he married me. He married me because he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.
I remember that as being a turning point in our marriage.
From then on I guess I felt validated. He loved me for me. No other reason. I made the decision that divorce was not an option for us, and we would work out whatever came our way.
For the first few years of our marriage we bickered a lot. We still did not know how to communicate, and I always felt the need to be right. Even if I knew I was wrong, I couldn't admit it. It took a long time for me to learn that being wrong is OK. I was what you would call, a nag. He was what you would call, a child. Our communication consisted mostly of bitching back and forth about every-fricking-thing. It is actually something I really regret because my step-daughter was old enough to remember, and I don't feel that we were good roll models for her. I deeply regret not showing her how a husband and wife could be. Although we rarely ever got into arguments where we yelled at each other, we always got our little back handed comments or digs in at each other.
It really wasn't how you speak to someone you love.
Fast forward a few years. I became more comfortable expressing myself. I felt more comfortable in my own skin (which I think has something to do with age). We become better at talking. I stop nagging. He grows up. Things are actually pretty good. I begin to enjoy going out with my husband. We like to do things together (gasp!).
Then I find out I'm pregnant with Brenna.
Then she dies, and I nearly die along with her.
These events significantly change our marriage.
I distinctly remember thinking this is going to make us or break us.
I can't believe I am about to type this but... it made our marriage better.
In the 2+ years since Brenna was born, my husband and I have grown closer than I ever thought possible. It was a complete eye opener for both of us. It made us realize what is really important in life. Now a days we do everything together. He has even started working for my company! We drive to work together every morning. We grocery shop together. We pay bills together...
It's so sickening sweet I make myself sick! :)
It amazing how your relationship changes when you start thinking about the other person and stop thinking about yourself. I stopped bitching about him leaving his dirty dish on the table, and then voila he stopped leaving it on the table! You know why? Because I thought, "I don't need to nag him about something so stupid" and he thought "She really hates it when I leave this out". Funny how that happens.
Over the past two years I have fallen even more love with my husband. We do everything together. We are a team. I have learned to open up to him. I've realized it's OK to be vulnerable. That doesn't mean I'm weak.
As strange as it sounds, I've learned to enjoy my husband. Truely enjoy him. I like being with him. That doesn't mean that he doesn't annoy me, because sometimes he does. That doesn't me that I don't make him mad, because sometimes I do. What it does mean is that we don't let it bother us like we used to. We don't dwell on it. If he's making me mad I tell him. "Listen here buddy, you're getting on my nerves!" Then he makes some smart-ass comment that makes me laugh and we move on.
I like how we are now. I really do.
It's bitter-sweet because I realize that we would never be like this if we hadn't lost a child.
If she was here our relationship would be different. I doubt we'd be as close. The kids would be the center of my world. I wouldn't be working. We wouldn't be working together. We wouldn't be going to Hawaii... I could go on and on. Things would be very different if she was alive.
It's hard to accept the fact that my marriage is better because of the death of my child.