Tending to our marriage

The summer vacation began with anticipation. Mom and dad were coming to visit. 

After a spring full of conferences and speaking engagements, music school, driving everyone with a busy schedule, wrapping up home projects, and planning our summer events, it felt like we never took a break to breath. Conrad gets pretty bad headaches most days. His shallow breathing, from stress, or the spring allergies, makes it that he feels whole and not in pain only in the mountains, away from cars and crowds of people. 

It is hard to believe but we haven’t stopped chasing projects for more than a day this past year. Sitting side by side to read in silence is a luxury we haven’t experienced in too long.

We’ve been frugal with our time and money, when it came to doing something just for fun, just for us. But l recently started to doubt life (as it is) had value and purpose. I had lost the joy and perspective. I start to understand why people consider divorce, for no apparent good reason.

Conrad is a good man, we have two wonderful daughters, but what is the point of it all? …the seed of doubt is sown. In every weary heart. But do we let it take root?

We’ve had a few conversations lately. More regularly as of late. I say my peace with detachment because I’m losing heart and hope. Instead of getting worked up with Jaclyn for her stubbornness or disobedience, I say my peace and I remove myself from the situation.

There have been more and more bedtimes when I didn’t hold their proverbial hands, and Conrad brushed their teeth and read them stories. Not only they all survived but they didn’t think much about the changes. When I feel I’m scraping off the bottom of my barrel for the last ounce of energy, and it’s all the same to them all, I decide to start replenishing more, so I don’t throw it all out the window with worse outcomes for me and them. 

Ivy cried every night leading up to our drive to the mountains, pleading that we change the plan, that we don’t leave her with the grandparents. But at stake it was more than my whim. Evidently she was so distraught because we never did this: Go away for the weekend without them, just for us and for rest.

We explained, we assured, we held her as she cried, we set a limit, we negotiated, and we stood firm on the decision. We needed this, and unbeknownst to them, they needed time away from us too, in the safe and loving company of their grandparents. 

We spent a night in Piatra, and we left for two nights in Lacu rosu. We hiked in silence, we joked, we talked, we ate without worrying about anybody else’s appetite. We read undisturbed. I could feel the fog in my head settle. Kids around make us tense. It’s been two months of summer vacation already. They had a rich time, but we live our lives according to their rhythm. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel as they grow up so fast, and need us a little less each season.

I still worry about what will surface in time. Old wound, hurts, fears, things I don’t even anticipate. Two nights ago, as I was crushed by sorrow and worry, for Jackie’s health and hurts, every time my brain would wake up I would pray for her, entrusting her to God. Slowly I let go of this burden and placed her in God’s care. She was There, His all along, but I needed to let her go. “I entrust her to You” my mind would say silently. And so it was. 

Then we came up into the mountains and climbed dangerous peaks, and saw the world from above. We pushed our limits, our muscles ache. But we feel alive and encouraged. I am committed to not let a few years pass till we do this again. If we want our marriage to thrive, our girls to grow up in a healthy home, our souls to seek God in joy and gratitude, taking care of our selves, taking time to breath, to think, to read, to pray, to rest, to exercise, to meditate … it will not happen on its own. We ought to creatively pursue this. And ask for help. And accept help. 

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. — EPICURUS