20 February 2012

The Honeymoon is Over

I think the honeymoon was over for Alex shortly after Grace was born. I think it lasted about seven years for me. Some of you may have gathered that he is a little eccentric. I can honestly say that I hadn't noticed just how odd he is until this year. I took the robot building, computer-part hoarding, and electric car obsession in stride, chalking them up to charm and brilliance.

When Alex started graduate school, we knew that it would be a very challenging time for all of us. We knew school would be a temporary challenge, and we still cherish hope that after he is done we will revert to a slightly more relaxed and happy pace of life. But the schooling has had its toll. A small distance had sort of inched its way into our normally very happy and close marriage.

I just started to feel like we were going through the motions, but not really connecting. I wasn't worried about our marriage, because in the back of my mind I kept remembering that this troublesome time was only temporary. I watched Alex help around the house and squeeze in time with the kids on top of school, work, church, and wondered how I could possibly get frustrated or distant with this person, who was so clearly amazing.

Then last weekend Alex's mom volunteered to take the kids for us so Alex and I could do a local hike for an article I was writing. He and I set out on a two hour walk in a beautiful river confluence park near our house. We walked and explored. We caught some local boys who had a lit a fire in an old abandoned building and were shooting target practice with air rifles at candles (That is another story. We did pour water on their abandoned hot coals on our way out. Whew!). We enjoyed the beauty of the park, and inadvertently caught a killer sunset:

confluence park laverkin ut (7)

We talked as we have not had time to talk in months. Somehow by the end the little hardness that had been forming in my heart softened into a mushy, gooey love for my dear Alex. This easing came as such a relief after all the tension built up over the previous months. I had hardly noticed the tension until it eased, like when you forget to breathe and then notice on the inhale. As we neared the end of our walk, Alex took my arm and paused. He looked deeply into my eyes. He leaned in for a very romantic moment, and then, as our lips met, his phone rang.

It was awesome. I have not laughed so hard in a long time, because that was the quintessential story of our life lately. The honeymoon seems to have ended, but I have no regrets. We are on the sometimes peaceful, sometimes rocky road to The Long Haul. It's no longer a honeymoon, but sometimes it's a picnic.


The Yoder's Four said...

Yep! Been there!! It's so nice to be able to go on a date. Now we just need to make it happen more than twice a year..........I am always slightly jealous of people who marry a little later and are already done with school.

The Stratton's said...

That's so special... I am laughing so hard inside right now :) since I know who spoiled your magic moment. I feel like we should take your kids for a while for you.

Kate said...

Jen, I appreciate your candor and perspective, as always. I like the way you aknowledge the stages of romantic love are not always puppy-dog love/honeymoon. I think some people are turned away from lasting relationships because they are in search of an "eternal honeymoon." I have no kids, and I can still vouch that this does not exist!

May you be blessed with more small moments of peace and connection to sustain you through the long haul.

Marie Says Yes said...

I like marriage. I think it is a very, very interesting thing. I once read "Three Weeks With My Brother," by Nicholas Sparks -- it's a memoir, and it's amazing. He and his brother were talking about what made their happy marriages. Nicholas thought it was communication, but his brother essentially said "That has nothing to do with it! You will have good communication and bad communication. It has EVERYTHING to do with COMMITMENT."
That struck a chord very, very deeply inside of me. Ben and I have talked about that a lot -- "Sometimes I may want to punch you in the tooth, but I am always committed to us. It is my choice to love you. I will not leave this commitment."
I like this story. Life gets so crazy, and it's nice to have the look-deeply-into-your-eyes moments and it's nice to have the laugh at how insane things are moments. And it's EXTRA nice to feel the release of that resentment that creeps in. You're a good couple. We like you.

The Rookie said...

I'm so relieved to read such an honest, poignant, slightly humorous post in this blogosphere here. It feels good to know marriage isn't all blissful, exciting events and well-manicured children. It is nice to hear someone admit how very hard it is. Thank you for this. Though I may not be married, I am not naive enough to believe it is all roses.