some people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. for us, that wasn't the case. we've been married for over three years, and i would say that the first year with a baby is the hardest. easily. don't get me wrong, joe and i have a great relationship and we both absolutely LOVE being parents and get insane amounts of joy from each day with our little guy. but having a baby adds stress, plain and simple. on top of the stress that comes from a constant feeling of "what do we do when [fill in the blank]," you're also sleep-deprived, and have less time for yourself and for each other than you once had. i truly don't know how people who had a rocky relationship before kids make it through when they have a newborn.
communication is key. joe and i have to relearn that lesson every day, i think. one of my not-so-great qualities (the other being how i'm too good at everything- ha) is that i tend to "make mountains out of mole hills." i can't be 100% sure i know what a mole hill is, but it's smaller than a mountain, and that's the point. anyway, this is especially true in my relationship with my husband. an exchange of a few snippy comments, to me, is a fight. a string of a few days with a few "fights," is a rough patch. sometimes i'll say to joe, "i'm sick of fighting." his response is typically "we're fighting?" to be fair, joe and i are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum on this one (and pretty much everything else, if we're being honest). he would barely call a screaming match a fight. well, we've never actually had a screaming match. but if we did, i am certain it would be a minor disagreement in his [rose-colored] eyes.
when i start to think about the things that might not be going perfectly and i start to compare our relationship to the relationships that others [appear to] have, that's when the mountains pop up. big, scary, daunting mountains. but it just dawned on me yesterday as i was thinking about our latest "sick of fighting" conversation: these mountains were created out of false and selfish ideas of what relationships should look like. where it's all about ME. I'M not getting what I want. I'm not getting MY needs met. joe's not doing enough for ME. i think the mole hills are every day stressors, common conflict, normal tension. the mountains are I, ME, MINE. thankfully, i think i've discovered a way to combat the mountains. and that is, focusing outside of myself and putting joe first. at our wedding, the pastor said [something to the effect of] "marriage is about giving your spouse the bigger, or even the last, slice of your favorite pie." when i think about it, all too often, i keep that bigger slice for myself. i really do love pie, and i really just wish she'd used a different example. like, giving your spouse the last dill pickle. i hate pickles. easy. done. but then it wouldn't be hard. and it wouldn't be about the other person at all. so, the real solution when i don't think i'm getting what i want or deserve in my marriage is to give what i think i want or deserve to joe. and i bet the return will be ten-fold.
another recipe. i made salad for dinner. not typically joe's favorite thing (see, already demonstrating my selflessness...), but he seemed to like it! i used a rotisserie chicken so it was super easy and quick. if you want the recipe, here it is: chinese chicken salads with sesame dressing.