When I think of life changes in my marriage the first thing that comes to mind are the births of my four babies. Sure, my husband has changed careers three times, runs a business, helps me run my business, and is in the middle of buying a business, we've lived in eight homes in nine years, and bought a house, and, of course, had many changes in our extended family, but the most monumental changes in our marriage were having our children.
The transition when Judah was born was natural and easy. He slipped into our family and our tiny apartment seamlessly. I was 21 when he was born, I turned 22 a month later, and was definitely young and naive. I was, by far, the first of my close friends to have a baby, so I didn't have any expectations of what life as a mom would look like. Eric had quit his job and gone into full-time ministry a few months before Judah was born, so while money was extremely tight (we were definitely poor) Eric had a lot of time to be home and help out. I would do all of the night feedings (I exclusively breastfed all of my babies, so Eric couldn't do much, anyway) and Eric would wake up early with Judah so I could sleep in.
It was eight years ago, so maybe I'm romanticizing it, but having our first baby wasn't hard. Don't get me wrong, everything wasn't easy and perfect, but overall it was good.
When Judah was about six months old we decided we wanted to have our babies close together. When he was just nine months old I got pregnant with Samuel and he was born when Judah was eighteen months. Samuel, thankfully, was an easy-going, mellow little guy. Just an all-over easy baby. Nonetheless, having two babies at once was crazy. I struggled with the baby blues and figuring out how to be present and meet the needs of my toddler and newborn. By this time Eric had started his tile business back up. He was in the middle of a job when Samuel was born, so he was back to work just a few days after his birth. That whole time is kind of a fog in my mind.
During Silas' birth we were very heavily involved in our church (remember, we went to the crazy cult church, so we were pretty much required to be doing church activities several times a week) and then after Finley was born we had just left the church and were struggling with that. A week after she was born an acquaintance was very traumatically killed and I pretty much had an emotional breakdown. During all of these changes, during all of these beautiful things and difficult things, there was a huge strain on our marriage.
There are a lot of things I wish I could go back and do differently. I have been emotional and hormonal for most of our marriage (I was pregnant and/or breastfeeding for almost nine years straight...no breaks). Eric...had a lot to learn being married to an emotional and hormonal mess. There's times that we sailed through and times that were hard and the times that we're easier were when we were intentional.
The times that we gave each other grace, that we understood where the other person was coming from before demanding to be understood, the times that we loved instead of giving criticism, and the times that we were selfless instead of being selfless were the times that strengthened our relationship and our love for one another. I know that we're at the very beginning of our marriage. We have lots of big and small changes coming over the years and I want to look back on the other side of those things and see a stronger marriage. I don't want to look back and see the toll they took on our relationship, but to use the changes, the challenges, the difficulties, and the triumphs to draw closer to my husband. To love him better.