In marriage you will find yourself at odds with your other half. It usually is sparked by something so minuscule that you can only laugh about the situation later or sometimes it snowballs from one little comment into a full blown argument about something that matters. Irregardless of if you’re a newlywed or have been married for 25 years, arguments will (and should) happen, but it’s in how you disagree that makes the world of difference in your relationship. Our marriage is no different and here’s how I found my gratitude even those times of disagreements.
Everyone says that once you bring children into the marriage you’ll find yourself arguing about the children or finances the most. Our little guy hasn’t even arrived yet and here my husband and I sit having had our first official spat over our preparedness of said baby. The disagreement happened first thing in the morning over breakfast on Sunday. We had just finished eating and that’s when my husband asked about a breast pump. He wanted to know, simply enough, if we needed one and how much they were. I then proceeded to tell him that yes, eventually we will need one, but it’s something we can wait on because I wanted to check with our insurance to see if it’s covered or if the hospital may be able to provide one for us. Otherwise we could just buy one ourselves. This lead to a conversation about what other ‘essential’ or ‘necessity’ items we still needed and I again proceeded to rattle off a few items we still needed to purchase from our registry for when baby comes home.
After a few moments I began to realize the look on my husband’s face changed from an into the conversation expression to overwhelmed. I had seen this quick change once before and it was when we were in Texas and were preparing our checked baggage full of baby clothes and books (from our baby shower). My husband said he needed a minute and I could tell this process was beginning to take a toll on him. I was a bit surprised at first, considering up until now he’s been fabulous throughout the whole pregnancy. He’s been so supportive and excited and so to see him react this way started to make me feel a bit unsure about whether or not he’s actually prepared mentally for our baby’s arrival.
My immediate thought was of frustration. I was frustrated that he was getting overwhelmed every single time we discussed what the baby needed. I was upset at the thought that somehow the baby and I were causing him to feel burdened. My husband is a minimalist and so I was wondering if all the baby stuff, and stuff we still needed, was beginning to wear on him. I had so many questions and presumptions that I found myself becoming more anxious and upset. So, I retreated to our bedroom and was about to distract myself with some Netflix when he walks in.
He asks me if everything is alright and that’s when I immediately begin to burst into tears. I allowed my heart, and what was weighing on my mind, to just spill out in front of him. I spoke up about my frustrations with him; that I didn’t understand where his feelings of being overwhelmed were stemming from and ultimately that I didn’t want this to be a sign that he’s not ready for parenthood the way I thought we both were. The conversation went back and forth for a while, us listening and responding to each other (and luckily me being the only over-emotional one), until we both made a breakthrough in our disagreement.
This is where my grateful heart lies today.
After about an hour of going back and forth, slowly stripping away the surface level frustrations, we were able to both confront the real issue. For us, it wasn’t anything to do with the baby or the stuff we needed. It wasn’t about whether or not we’re prepared (because we are!) or feel ready to be parents (because we are!). It came down to us both realizing that our time to be selfish (i.e. being able to do whatever we want, whenever we want) is slowly dwindling down. Soon our priorities will change and so will our routines and even marriage – and that is something to feel overwhelmed by.
At the end of the day, even as emotionally exhausting as that disagreement was, I am so grateful that I have a partner and marriage that has such a strong foundation that we are able to have these disagreements and grow stronger as partners through it. Arguments happen, people disagree, and fighting for what you love or believe in is well worth it in the end. I’m grateful for my husband and his patience with me, I’m grateful that he’s introspective enough to acknowledge his own fears and to talk about them, and I’m grateful for the communication we have with one another.
I know we’re both ready and excited for our little guy, but I also know these disagreements will be one of many in our future. However, I’m grateful that no matter where the disagreement may stem from, we have the ability to talk it out in a meaningful way and strengthen our marriage through it.
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