Pregnancy is full of hope about the new life coming into the world. But I never had any hope for my marriage.
"Enjoy each other now because after kids..." you fill in the blank. My mind always filled in the blank with "SUCKS." In grad school, I learned this technique where you play the fear out until the "end," outlining every possible scenario until you get to the worst case. So I did.
Your marriage will be over. You will have no time for one another. Your husband will think less of you because you are not a hot professional anymore with the pencil skirt and high heels. You will not have sex anymore because you are a) too tired or b) you have no self confidence leftover from your stretch marks and flappy skin and persistent line down the middle of your belly or c) your husband will find you unattractive. See b) above. You will spend all of your time worrying about the kids and then they will go to college and you will get a divorce because you have nothing in common anymore. You won't remember why you fell in love in the first place.
At the very beginning of our pregnancy, Tim and I took dinner to a couple that just had their third baby. Emily and Josh agreed to let us bring them food on the condition that we sit down to dinner with them. They had made a huge pitcher of mojitos and when Josh offered it to me, instead of just refusing, I felt that I should just tell them. Josh said..."they are nonalcoholic" the same time I said "I'm pregnant."
Over virgin mojitos, they assured us, "Don't believe the lie that your marriage is over. It is only beginning." They didn't have to work to convince us. They had three young children and they truly loved each other, pursued one another. Josh opened doors for Emily. They went on adventures together. Bragged on each other to other people. Helped each other with their kids. Prayed for one another. Prayed together. We had been watching them love each other for four years. I remember feeling so encouraged after leaving their house that day. Maybe I could hope for our marriage after all.
Giving birth to a child required Tim and I to be the best team we have ever been. We did the natural route, took all the classes, came to a tough point in our labor, and had to make some scary decisions together. I'm the one who physically went through the pain and I was terrified we were making the wrong choices. I needed Tim to tell me "WE got this babe." His steadiness, his presence, his prayers. And Titus came to join us, healthy as can be. The day we had Titus was the highest point of our marriage.
So why two weeks later does that intimacy stop? We were still working as a team, but I was the one up in the middle of the night, in pain, feeling crazy, and yet I still expected myself to feel beautiful, powerful, confident, and able to give something still to Tim. But I had nothing to give. NADA. I didn't even want Tim to glance at my postpartum body. I was short tempered with him. It was the lowest point of our marriage.
Around the time I went back to work, I listened to the book, the Best Yes by Lysa Terkheurst. Her book is all about saying our best yes to what God is calling us to, and protecting those best yesses by saying small nos to everything else. It was one of those books I listened to in the car and immediately pressed play again after listening to it. I needed to say yes to my marriage, but I was completely overwhelmed as to where to start.
I started planning for our fifth Birthdayversary. We make up our own holidays in this family. I felt the Lord calling me to rededicate myself to our marriage. So we renewed our vows on a Dayton overlook and asked our friends to meet with us to pray and bless our marriage. That same weekend, rather by accident, the Vincent Love Challenge was born.
See the next post for the deets!