Monday, September 21, 2015

Quitting my job ended up saving my marriage

Three months ago, it all began to change for us. I remember the breath I took as we pulled away from our apartment on June 23rd. I knew with that breath my life would never be the same. The three of us in the car, me forcing everyone to look at the screen of my iPhone to take a "first photo," my husband sighing because it was the first of thousands, our son in the back seat with his penguin hat on being, well, himself. There was no prediction as to what the next couple of months would bring for us. Before this day we knew so much had to change, and the months that lead up to it, so much had already changed. Most of it beyond out of our control. So I gave it all up. The full time job. The money. The title. The security. I left it all for one summer of the unknown to find something that we knew was missing.

As we drove over the bridge out of NYC, we cried. Our son cried because he was already bored and wanted the iPad. We cried because we knew that from that moment on we would start to heal, from so many things. While my initial decision months ago to leave my job started off for creative reasons, we both learned that wasn't just it. It was an opportunity to change for us all. Sometimes a rhythm works, sometimes it doesn't. Our love was always strong but our rhythm never seemed to sync for too long. We were giving up, falling into a new rhythm that worked only to keep our family together.

I get when people say they are marrying their best friend. It's your other half, the one who knows you better than anyone. And while my husband feels like my other half, he wasn't my best friend. We had only known each other five months before we got engaged. A whirlwind of a year later we were married. Ten months later, pregnant. Now we were partners in parenthood and it began to feel like that was it. Because of work, we barely saw each other. Because we're completely opposite people, we began to just do our own things. It worked. I got to experience what I love to do, as did he. We would share our worlds sometimes, but mostly to just support one another. And then we’d raise our beautiful son together.

Even raising a child together we sort of did separately. I was off weekends (sometimes) and he was off during the week. We have completely separate interests that we relate to our child with. While it’s great that our son can grow up passionately about the local baseball team, sharing that with dad, and takes weekend trips hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail with mum, our worlds involving our son are so different. We infrequently share any moments as a family of three. Even though it has worked for us, it began to make me sad that all my husband had of my weekend adventures was picture messages I’d sent him from our destinations.

Then came the affection. We have continuously told each other we love the other, but now it came as “I love you, but…” The moments we would get together, we began to argue more about what the other wasn’t doing at home or with our son, that all of our conversations quickly turned to aggression. We didn’t chose to fight. It just happened. When you get 45 minutes to speak a week about absolutely everything, the subject of why dirty dishes are still in the sink is going to rule that time. It was always me. I never washed the dishes. I was never home. And when I was, why would I want to wash dishes? I never realized how big of a deal this small thing was. I sort of wish I realized it a while ago.

So, after talking for a couple months about it, we decided I should quit my job. Not to stay at home, but more so I could just be home more often. It would also allow me to become creative again, a part of me I thought I was losing and so desperately needed to get back if I was going to be happy. We aren't rich. Ha! We barely make the middle class bracket. But for some reason, we thought it would be smart for me to leave the security of a job and steady pay check. It also gave our son a chance to stay home for the summer with me. He had just completed his first full year of school, and we thought giving him the summer off would be a good idea.

Things I never realized would change from me being home, did. I was happier from not having the stress of my full time job. I felt free. I took the summer to stay home with our son. Those ten weeks of sun, beach, traveling, exploring, were healing to both of our souls. Also, surprisingly, I got tan. Another thing I didn’t expect was the self-confidence I would get from being free and happy. I felt better about myself, opening up so much more for my mind and body. Gained self-confidence can lead to attraction. Now that we had more than 45 minutes a week to talk, we were able to enjoy time and each other more. From simply being able to watch a movie together, or putting the kid to bed early so we could “head to bed” early too (*wink wink*), those extra moments a week made a huge difference.

Dishes didn’t rule our conversations anymore. Even though it might still not be solved, we had time to do chores together, to help the other out. We also were available to give each other alone time. After being home all day with child, my husband would come home, give me chocolate and let me binge watch Netflix in the bedroom while he put our son to sleep. Early in mornings, he would sleep in while I made breakfast and entertained our early riser. These little moments helped each other relax, and completely helped me appreciate the partnership part of parenting even more.

Small simple changes made life-altering differences in both of our lives, apart and together. Our issues began to plateau. There wasn’t a feeling of steady descent anymore. In the past three months, I have felt more present in my marriage and life than I have before. While I’m not suggesting everyone should go out and quit their jobs, that life will be perfect and you marriage will flourish, I am saying it has begun to work for us. There are always complications with any big life change. Bills are eventually going to need to be paid, and hopefully this whole writing dream will also work out for me. But the foundation of family that I will always have to fall back on needs to also be strong. And now we're learning together what that all means. 

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