Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mah-wage: Eight Years and Counting

"Mah-wage.... Mah-wage is what bwings us togevah today.  Wuv, twue wuv... that bwessed awangement, that dweam wiff-in a dweam." 

You gotta love the priest from the Princess Bride.  (Hey, you've gotta love the Princess Bride!)

A month or so back, I posted a teaser post.  I knew I wanted to write about the past couple of weeks that I had been going through, but it all just kept piling higher and I couldn't formulate the words.  I'm not sure that I have entirely found the words even at this point, but I wanted to remember that I needed to get this out.  And at this point it has been long enough that I can joke about it.  I haven't made it to the Scripture references yet, so bear with me there.

During that time, I Googled "eight years of marriage" and "the seven year itch" and came up with a bunch of hits on wedding anniversary presents and divorce rates, which I guess only makes sense because you are either having an anniversary or divorced.  Not too many other options after eight (or any) years of marriage in my mind.  (And I don't know when I will ever learn NOT to Google serious things like relationship issues, medical symptoms and child development.)

Jason and I have a great relationship.  We rarely disagree and we rarely fight.  In fact, our kids don't know what a real argument looks like.  Our story is a funny one to tell, but I think that will have to wait for another time.  Jason has been married once before.  He and his ex had knock-down, drag out fights.  Not actually physical, but lots of yelling and swearing and throwing clothes and belongings in the front yard.  I am so thankful that they didn't bring children into this world.  That sounds selfish, but it is what it is.  I've heard her scream at him over the phone before (yes, they were divorced and working out the minute remains of a broken relationship during the early years of our marriage and that is a longer, other story), and I can't imagine being stepmom to that insanity.  Now I am digressing.

Anyway, Jason and I have always been pretty much in sync.  But we have also had quite a few changes in the last couple of months that have been whittling away at us.  His schedule changes, my increased stress at work, the start of the school year and all the activities that go along with that.  Thankfully neither of the boys are in sports, but on any given week we are still out late for church events and eating dinner at the church one to three nights a week.  The house goes from semi-neat and somewhat organized to a throbbing ball of chaos in less than a week.  Sometimes that adds to already pent-up frustration. 

Jason's new schedule means he is now off on any two days of the week, and we don't know which days from week to week.  He also works either 6am to 2pm, 2pm to 10pm, or 10pm to 6am, and we don't know from week to week which it will be and for how long.  This has been a huge adjustment for us all.

To make a long story short, we spent a good deal of time during the adjustment period being very snappy with each other.  We would both be talking about the same thing, like who was going to pick Leilee up from daycare the next day, and end up on a different topic altogether with two separate ideas of what was actually going to happen.  We were on totally different wavelengths.  We would even hang up the phone without saying 'I love you' which is very off-base for us.  Sometimes I would hang up and stick my tongue out at him.  *Gasp*

Before the slump, I could call and say, "Could you pick up milk at the store?" and he would say, "Okay." and we would both end that short of a call with an 'I love you.'  I blamed the grumpiness on him, even though I knew it was partly me, and he avoided talking about much at all because he knew I was snappish and grumpy and he didn't have the patience or the tact for it. 

It was a really long few weeks, where I questioned if we were "falling out of love" and all sorts of other rubbish.  (Google did not help.)  I imagined a life of sadness and separation, where we became ex-lovers who lived parallel lives, stopping only to eat at the same table and sleep in the same bed, staying together for the good of the children who would grow up all emo and cynical because they knew their parents didn't really love each other.  In the midst of those type of daymares, I would also remind myself that I have a problem of over-analyzing and over-reacting to everything and that nothing was probably as bad as my fragile and paranoid mind imagined it to be.  Regardless, it was a really long couple of weeks. 

Thankfully - I think we are out of the slump.  And just in time, because I heard yesterday that the two weeks before Christmas is the most popular time of the year for couples to break up.  Whew... we righted that just in time!

Has anyone else out there experienced this phenomenon?  This was, I think, our first real slump.  And if that was as bad as it gets, then things are looking pretty good for this marriage. 

If not... does anyone have a recommendation for comfy, king-sized bunk beds?


  1. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary. We don't fight and like you, our kids have never witnessed a real argument. We've had people tell us this isn't normal and that it is bad for our relationship. (Hello, 20 years.) We've had our slumps, for sure. That's pretty normal. We spend a week or so sort of avoiding each other, then we finally talk it out and we're back to us again. The important thing is that you worked through it. (A day or two without any kids can always work miracles!)

  2. My husband and I have weathered some pretty high level crap (for want of a better word--and to avoid hijacking your comments--as I seem to be developing a terrible habit of doing all over the internet)--including several separations. But the "slumpy" times of disconnect have actually scared me more in some ways than the big dramatic scenes, if that makes any sense.

    I think being aware of it--and keeping in mind that it's pretty normal in the course of a (hopefully) life-long relationship--is a huge step.

    And marital advice from Google--ugh. ;)

  3. Your marriage sounds quite a bit like mine! We do have arguments, but I grew up in a household that was defined by yelling and throwing things, so I'm usually pretty careful not to let our very few arguments get loud or last for more than a short while.

    We're going on 10 years next June (hooray!), and I remember right around our 7th anniversary feeling a bit out of sync with our relationship. I'm happy to say that those feelings passed, and I feel even closer to my husband now.

    Sounds like you folks are doing pretty good!