When sweet Ezekiel Red was born, I fell hard. So hard my brain didn't emotionally function for a few months because it had sustained a love concussion. I think back to those first few months after he came as a wonderful, foggy, surreal time of bliss. I was basically goo-goo gah-gah over the whole baby situation. He could do no wrong and I never once got mad or sad or angry at him.
It was the opposite of what I had read or heard or knew about the baby blues. I was prepared for possibly depression or a case of the downs, but I was not prepared to go so high. I was actually sort of shocked about it. So I counted myself very lucky and assumed I was good.
And I was good when it concerned my baby.
However, I wasn't prepared for a case of the husband blues. Or really, the husband reds. I was an angry wife and frequently attacked Matt with my hissy fits. I would kiss and snug my new baby with the softest lips and gentle arms, and then I'd turn a cold shoulder and spit angry or mean words in Matt's direction. And the worst part was that I knew I was doing it. I knew I was being angry and mean for no real reason and yet couldn't stop myself. Thankfully, it wasn't all the time. We'd have days of peaceful happiness where all was right in the universe. But then I'd lose it over a dirty sink or a mishandled diaper or (heaven forbid) his suggestion that I needed a nap. The audacity! The injustice! How dare he? I can joke and write about it now, but in the moment it was real, intense anger.
Matt doesn't remember it being so bad. He tells me, "you were just cranky sometimes." I think the use of sometimes is generous, bless his heart. Eventually the manic episodes leveled out and I learned to recognize when I was irrationally angry (hormones) or actually angry (real life.)
While chatting with other new moms (or soon to be moms) it seems we all understood the mania. Some got angry like me, but others got sensitive. Or resentful. Or removed. Others were sad. Or just felt crazy. But what we always got around to talking about was the husband and wife relationship. Or what we referred to as the hardest relationship you'll ever have.
Right? It's so good. So good. But oh my word it can be so hard. Things got real for Matt and myself in our 3rd year of marriage. We had some fights and some issues that came to a head and lasted too long. And if we're getting really real, it was sort of a "shiz is hitting the fan and now we have to clean it all up or move" kind of year. I thought we'd never have that because we'd known each other so long... but no. I think everyone has a year (or a month or at least a week) like that. And looking back we are so grateful. Because if the hard gets harder, then the good gets better too. And in our 5th year of marriage & parents to one... it totally is better. I love these guys so freaking much.
So anyway. All of this leads to some articles I've read recently online. I really really enjoyed 15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years by Lydia Netzer from the Huffington Post. I especially like #3, Don't Criticize, Ever. (I needed to read that.) #5 Be Proud and Brag. #8 Get really good at Sex (Riiiight? Sometimes talking Sex can be awkward when you're religious (at least I've found that to be true) and when Matt and I take time to truly get to know each other... it's totally worth it. Hello! #8! Way to go. Literally ;)) #12 Make a Husband Pact (I totally have one and it's respectful and based on love.) And #15 Trust your Spouse (and if you don't... work it out so you do!) I've saved this article to my computer so I can reference it in the future and probably give it out to young lovers because I think it's down right wisdom.
Three other articles that I've dug lately are from Alison @ The Alison Show where she writes about Love (and how to generate more love!), and Meg @ Meg in Progress writes about fighting (and then loving) in her marriage, and it is wise. Also her post on how to be a good mother was awesome. Especially as a new mama myself. And Tara Whitney writes about her relationship to social media (which is what I'm trying to work on right now - I quit twitter if anyone even noticed) and learning to nurture; first herself, and then her family. All are worth some time if you're interested.
Sometimes the internet really nails it.
I love being a wife. And a mom. And a woman. And a person. It's really quite the feat to be human.
*I was listening to Cheap Trick's Surrender while I wrote some of this... hence the title and the words on the photo.