Whew, three years…we made it. To be 100% honest, I did not know if we would be able to weather the storm to make it to this milestone. The last year has been extremely rough on our relationship- to say the least!
I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to make our marriage struggles public, but ultimately I feel it is equally important to share the good and the bad (and even the ugly!). My Instagram grid may look pretty and perfect, but my life is anything but.
Year three of our marriage brought more trials and tribulations than the average year. Here are some of the events of our year that almost brought us to our breaking point:
- We welcomed our twins into the world six weeks early, and juggled newborn babies at home and in the NICU. Luckily my daughter only needed a five day stay, but my son was admitted for just over 20 days.
- I struggled with debilitating postpartum anxiety that made having visitors in our home exceptionally difficult (Looking back I needed to have set more firm boundaries for my own well-being).
- My husband was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a few months after the kids were born. Thank the Lord I have formal mental health training to recognize what was going on so we could quickly get him the help he needed to stabilize (although the aftershock of this diagnosis was a long road to normalcy)
- My Dad had a mini stroke and ended up in the hospital. Luckily he did not have any lasting effects from this event. However, a few weeks later he had a freak accident and hit his head- sending him back to the hospital again.
- My Grandfather’s health started to decline and he was moved into a nursing home. He passed away a few months later. I am so grateful that he was able to meet my kiddos and spend some time with them before he departed to his eternal golf-course.
- Colin and I were on completely different pages in terms of our finances. We argued frequently about the half-ass budget we put together, and we felt incredibly disconnected.
- My son was diagnosed with RSV and ended up needing an overnight stay at the hospital. A few days later we brought our daughter to the emergency room for labored breathing and she was also diagnosed with RSV. Luckily- we had amazing care at the hospital I work at, so I knew exactly who was taking care of my kiddos and I felt confident in their abilities.
And that is honestly just the tip of the iceberg of the troubles we endured. I am not telling you these things to gain your pity- I don’t need it- I already survived the storm and came out on top. Instead, my hopes of sharing these things with you are to:
1) Help you see that I have struggles, and I am more than just a pretty Instagram Grid
2) To show you that you too can overcome even the toughest of obstacles- if you engage the right support systems.
We each started seeing our own therapists, as well as a marriage and family therapist. It was important to us to each have our own neutral person to talk to about personal struggles (my postpartum anxiety and Colin’s new bipolar diagnosis), while also having a common therapist to help support our marriage goals.
Moral of the story, we didn’t have all the solutions to our problems on our own- but we shouldn’t be expected to either! We were willing to ask for help when we needed it the most, and that is a powerful thing!
I am so happy that we have been able to weather the storm, and ultimately came out stronger than before (I know that sounds cliche, but it is SO true). We are overjoyed to be celebrating another year of love and commitment to each other while happily closing that chapter of our lives and saying see ya never!
I always love reminiscing in our wedding photographs, so I figured I would share a few of my favs from our beautiful wedding day- Enjoy!
Photo credit: Molly Jo Collections
And if you are reading this and are struggling in your marriage or relationship, I see you. Remember that there are seasons in all relationships, and some are brighter than others. Please, please, please don’t be afraid to reach out to your formal supports. This could be a pastor at your church, a church group, or a marriage and family therapist. I highly recommend reaching out to your HR department at work to see if they offer an EAP program- most larger companies offer 8 FREE therapy sessions a year!
I also highly recommend grabbing this book on Amazon today. Our therapist used the Gottman methods in session, and encouraged us to read this book on our own and do the activities as a couple. Some of them may seem cheesy, but they are great communication builders! We also loved The Total Money Makeover book. After reading the book we were able to get on the same page about money and tackle our goals as a united front.
Stay tuned for what year four brings…it can only get better from here!