What's the hardest year of marriage? Year one? Two? Five? Seven? Ten? Fifteen?
If you answered, "Yup, that one!" to anything above, you're wrong. Not a little wrong. ALL the way wrong.
Every year is the hardest year of marriage. First year isn't actually that bad, once you get through it. Neither is two, three, four, five, six, seven, or eight. We're starting our tenth year in a few short months. Not married, but living together (we got married in 2004).
And every year is hard. Hard to the breaking point. We were VERY close a few times. The first was the year Bugs was 3. That was a hard one. For so many reasons. Being young, and not having good jobs was a big part of that.
Then the year Brat was born, that was another hard one. My husband was working full time shift work (plus overtime); a six year old needed attention and love; a baby needed full time care; I worked 24 hours a week from the time Brat was 2 months old. By the end of a week, I'd worked (in house and at a job) a full 80 hours. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, lunches, baby, nursing. On and on. It was hard, there is no way around that. It was hard because neither of us had anyone to lean on- because we didn't know how to lean on each other.
And there were times I stood back, thought to myself, "If we got divorced, he'd have to take the kids for at least 3 days a week, and I'd get a bit of time to myself." Not going to lie, it was tempting.
There were other times when I stood back, thought to myself, "If I'd killed him when I met him, I'd have been out by now." I got that line from my uncle, the RCMP officer. After he'd been married almost 25 years. True story.
I look around my house right now, and I wonder, why is this year a bit easier? I mean, I didn't start working right away after Monster, but I'm back at work now. My husband is still pulling 50- 60 hour work weeks. There are 3 kids underfoot who want attention and love. I still make meals, make lunch for my husband every day, and do the cleaning? How on God's green Earth could life be better for me now than it was 5 years ago?
I have someone to lean on. My husband is my best friend. We can sit, we can laugh, we can talk. We know now, leaning our backs against each other isn't weak, it's smart, and it's bracing each other up for the times when we need it most. My back isn't against a wall anymore, it's against him.
And now, I have hope (that's BIG Hope, not measly little "hope"). I have been through the darkest part of the forest; but, I can see through those trees now.
In a few short months, Bugs will be legally old enough to babysit. It makes my whole heart sing.
Going out to do the groceries after 7 pm again. Going to the gym, even when my husband is working. Having dinner out with a friend on a Tuesday evening. Yeah, I'm going hog wild.
Added to the fact that my husband now does the laundry on his nights off (as he works nights, when he's not working, all the whiny midgets are in bed, so he typically gets to watch whatever he wants on tv for 10 hours straight and hang out on the couch alone); and Bugs does the dishes. My life has never seemed more joyous.
I'm sure Bugs might not like that he does dishes every night. I effin' hated it when I was his age. But, I honestly believe it's good for kids to work around the house. It shows them that part of being in a family is pitching in, and helping out where you can. Chores teach children how to be self sufficient and self reliant in the long run. Brat had to clean the bed room tonight, and Bugs did dishes. I got to watch my favourite Food Network show- which was all the relaxing I needed to get the bathroom cleaned, the living room tidied up and dinner for tomorrow planned and started. Take THAT Martha Stewart.
So, the hardest year of marriage is all of them. But, making it through the worst, well, it leaves you free to enjoy the best. And if you make it, you have someone who can enjoy that best with you, when you leave the kids at home to fend for themselves.