8 Things I Learned in the Seventh Year of Marriage
In the first few years of marriage, it was pretty easy to think through the top things I learned that year. But now it feels like the years are speeding by and it gets kind of challenging trying to think up what I learned in a year that felt like a blink of the eye. This time last year I was miserably uncomfortable while pregnant and thinking it would never end, and now we have a 9 month old who is changing by the second. Life is so different and at times I mourned the loss of that previous life…but at the same time, life has gotten way better. Every year is filled with ups and downs, but this has been a really beautiful year that I’m so grateful to have gone through with Brian. Normally I share 10 things I’ve learned in a year, but this year it’s just 8. I’m going to blame that on the fact that my brain shrunk during pregnancy so I missed big learning moments along the way.
- Timing is everything. I turn 35 this week and I’ve had people ask if I wish I would have had Avery earlier, when I was younger. And the answer is HARD NO. I wasn’t ready spiritually, financially, mentally, and our relationship wasn’t ready. Brian and I had tried for a while to get pregnant, but nothing happened. We came to the point where we just accepted that we probably wouldn’t have a child and we were ok with that. But I think the universe had a plan. We had things to work through in our relationship, wounds to heal, and growth to experience. And once many of those hurdles were conquered, we got pregnant! I think the timing had to be right in our lives together and it finally was. It was the reminder we both needed to trust the universe.
- Avery has brought us even closer. I know that having a child will definitely not solve your problems, but I’m happy to say that it’s brought us even closer. We have many hurdles in our future as we raise this little human together, but knowing that we are in it TOGETHER is really empowering for both of us. We have each other’s backs and we want the other person to succeed, especially since it will lead to Avery succeeding. We want her to see us acting as a team, supporting the other person in times of struggle, and we want her to see what kind, equal love looks like. Having that same goal has really strengthened our relationship.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Now that Avery is at the absolute top of our agenda every day, we don’t sweat the small stuff near as much. Maybe there just isn’t as much time for that? Who knows. But the frustrations about the little things, like leaving drawers open or not cleaning dishes has mostly gone away. And I think that’s due to him being such a hands on dad. He is there for both of us so much throughout the day, he gets to those tasks sometimes and I do other times, and we remember that we are a team. It’s quite refreshing.
- Seeing Brian as a dad has made me see him in a new way. You hear this from most friends after they have children and it really feels so true. Seeing Brian with Avery is the coolest shit. This completely new silly side has come out while he tries to make her laugh, he’s had to learn a new kind of patience, and he is set in making her feel loved every single day. The deep love you have for your children is unmatched and I feel so lucky to get to watch him become a dad and completely flourish in that new role.
- Conversations are much easier than fights. When we first brought Avery home, we definitely had some heated moments because we were both feeling so overwhelmed with the newness of the experience. And it was a great learning lesson to stay calm in stressful situations, take a breath, and have a conversation about the tough moments instead of letting it turn into rage. Especially now that we have Avery around, we want her to learn how work through tough moments with grace which is even more reason to practice it ourselves.
- Support time away from each other. I’ve always been super supportive with Brian having time away, but it definitely felt harder when Avery came home and I wasn’t able to leave and be away like he was. It took some practice, but I got more and more comfortable with not having Brian’s help with Avery for a few hours at a time, and then a few days at a time. I know it’s incredibly important for him to have time outside of the house, with his friends, and by himself, so I’ve worked on pushing my nerves aside during this first year of being a mom to make sure he gets that time…and I’ll get mine soon once I’m no longer breastfeeding!! HA!
- Intimacy is hard after having a baby. Now I’m going to get personal here…reallll personal. You know how you always hear that joke that women or men say about adding an extra stitch when a woman is getting stitched up after birth? You know, to tighten things up a bit? I do not relate to this. At all. That paired with the fact that I have no libido during this breastfeeding stage and feeling like there isn’t enough time in the day, well all of this has led to a lack of intimacy. I’m excited to get that back. I’m excited to feel more like myself again someday and have that connection back with Brian. But man, it’s freaking hard postpartum!
- Listen more and listen intently. This is a lesson I haven’t fully learned yet. I’m not a good listener and I really don’t like that about myself. And in this first year of parenthood, my brain is going in so many more directions than it used to – nursing, pumping, supply, showering, getting work done, eating enough calories, drinking enough water, bedtime, making sure she doesn’t fall at hit her head, does her stomach hurt or is she teething, is she getting enough solid food, lack of sleep – the list goes on and on, so I find myself not fully listening when he is telling me something that’s really exciting to him. I need to get better at this and consciously work on it.
I’m very very lucky to have met a partner like Brian. A guy who is there for me, our child, and a partner that makes me want to be better. What an awesome freaking year. Cheers to another year filled with even more joy!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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