Growth

 

I met with a group of wonderful women the other night. Every time we meet, we go through some questions that are supposed to make us dig deep into conversation. One of the questions stood out to me this time. It asked “In what area of your life do you want to see growth?”. At first, I couldn’t answer, not because there wasn’t an answer but because so many came racing through my mind; getting in shape, being healthier, reading more, spending more quality family time, etc. But then there it was. My marriage.

For so long, I have (actually my husband and I both have) been putting a lot, if not all, of our energy into our children. We plan their curriculum and activities. We make sure that they eat healthier foods. We take the time to read, play and teach them. We go on outings that are meant for mainly their enjoyment. The list could go on for days! Now, all of these things are good. All of these things are meaningful to create productive, loving, empathetic human beings. However, there is a thin line between putting our children above our marriage and putting our marriage first. We crossed that line and now it is time to recover.

We went on a second honeymoon not too long ago which allowed us to reconnect on a whole new level. We were able to just be man and wife, best friends and lovers. That trip was wonderful! For one, we were both happier and for another, we were able to be on the same page for everything that we did. This new-found connection has shown me that I am not just a mom, my husband isn’t just a dad but we are two people who started a family and then added children to it. Meaning, we were married first, then our children were added onto our already established family. So, we need to treat it that way!

I have been reading a great devotional that discusses how to raise children in a Godly manner. One thing that the author touched on was putting marriage first. Evidently there is an order in the household: God, marriage, children. Now, when we put our marriage above our children, we are only doing good because it benefits us in obvious ways but it also benefits the kiddos because they feel secure, they have a model of what marriage should look like and they learn how to put other people first. All of that sounds pretty good to me. So, God, then marriage, then children it is!

This question of growth in my life, without a doubt, has brought me to the realization that my children are not the center of the universe and they shouldn’t be. It has brought me the realization that my husband is one wonderful man who I fall in love with every day. It has brought me the realization that although I struggle hourly with day-to-day life in general, I have a partner, best friend and confidant that I need to put first. I need to put our marriage first, not just for me but for my husband and my children. That is where I choose to grow today.

Second Honeymoon: The Internal Struggle

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Vacation…mmmmmmmm. Just the sound of it is absolutely wonderful. Images of the beach, warm sun, sleeping late, no worries in the world. That is how vacations used to be. Now we have kids.

My husband surprised me this past Christmas with a trip to Myrtle Beach. Not just any trip either; a second honeymoon! He planned out an entire week for us to be together without our children. Now that’s a thought. We have not taken a trip alone since our honeymoon; so that’s 7 years ago! Needless to say we were both very excited to go on this vacation.

We planned out the babysitter months in advance, shopped to make sure that the kids were all set while we were gone and packed up the night before we left. That night my husband and I both started to feel anxious about leaving our kiddos behind. Mind you that this was the first time that we were both leaving for more than a weekend. Don’t get me wrong, we were both still very much looking forward to the trip, there was just this small feeling of anxiety settling in.

The next morning, we left very early (16 hours’ worth of driving ahead of us). Getting up that morning was difficult. Getting in the car that morning was worse. I started crying as we left. I know, I know, I am totally that mom. My husband finally calmed me down and we were on our way.

The drive was wildly beautiful! I highly suggest traveling through the mountains. The further we drove, the more and more I relaxed. It took me all the way until we actually arrived in South Carolina to completely be at ease without our children. The resort was breathtaking, the ocean even more so. We enjoyed the beach, the room, the hot tubs, and everything else that Myrtle Beach had to offer. Which was a lot of family friendly activities, go figure!

While we enjoyed being there and reconnecting with each other, we both found ourselves saying how much the kids would love it there and planning out things that we could do with them the next time we go. There was even a moment, okay, a lot of moments when he or I would catch ourselves being those creepy people that stare at the babies and smile at each other. Yup, our second honeymoon was turning out to be super sexy.

In any case, it was an incredible week with each other. We laughed together, we went to dinner every night, we were lazy during the day and completely remembered how much we really enjoy just being together. If we hadn’t had any children, I don’t think that we would have truly appreciated this time together as much as we did. So, in that way, I am grateful for this relaxing re-connection. But, on the flip side, we definitely struggled throughout because of how much we missed our kids.

As the week came to an end, we drove a little quicker home. We wanted to surprise the littles. I think we traveled for 17 hours straight the first day! We pulled into the driveway the next morning and rushed in to hold our babies. It was a fantastic feeling to be home with them again. We told them all about our trip, showed them pictures and gave them their presents. Total contentment. Now, it’s two days later and I miss the beach.