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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Reconsidering Our Wedding Vows

Wedding Vows, Photo Courtesy: www.karensdilbeck.com



Have you ever truly stopped to think about your vows, or did they leave your mind almost as quickly as they left your lips on the day of your wedding?  I’ll be honest.  I have never deeply pondered those words until recently. I didn't feel like I needed to. I knew I loved my husband and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, so I assumed that the vows we made would be easy.





On one half, they are easy.  But on the other, they are the most difficult challenge I’ve ever faced.  I’m not a money-hungry person in the least, and we’re both pretty stable financially-minded people; we’re on the same page and pretty successful when it comes to paying our bills, building our credit, and saving towards our future.  We have seen some hard financial patches, together, and likewise, some pretty nice ones.  “For richer, for poorer” doesn’t seem to be our challenge.


My husband adores me.  I may annoy him at times, but for the most part I know (as do all of our friends, family, co-workers, and even his customers whom I never met) that I am the apple of his eye.  I’m pretty sure it’s obvious from my blog how I feel in return about my hubbykins.  So, “to love and to cherish” doesn’t seem like the real challenging part of our vows, either.


I’ll tell you what is a challenge, though … It’s the part that I thought would be the easiest: “In sickness and in health.” No, scratch that... It's actually the underlying vows that aren't verbally spoken: "In giving and receiving." Allow me to explain …


In the few moments that I did spend thinking about our vows, the sickness and health part specifically, I imagined the worst of events happening to my husband; terminal illness, 3rd degree burns all over his body, aging and losing mental capabilities … even helping him shower or use the bathroom.  “PIECE OF CAKE,” I said to myself.  It may not be what I want or what he wants, but if it came down to any of those scenarios (and others that I may not have considered) I wouldn’t hesitate to love my husband just the same as I do today.


That was probably the extent of my thoughts on the matter … That is, until I gave birth to our third baby …


You see, my firstborn was an emergency cesarean.  I bounced back pretty quickly from that surgery.  As most momma’s know, after having a cesarean doctors will generally encourage you to keep having them for any of your future births; they discourage natural birth.  So, I followed my docs advice and had my second baby also by cesarean.  No problem there! In fact, recovery was even quicker the second time around.  I became invincible.


When baby #3 came along, I expected the same results but that is not what I got.  Instead, I got a fairly nasty infection and over a month of recovery time (I’ll spare you the details). Recovery time, which involved me being at home, alone, for at least 8 hours every day, with 3 kids.  It was horrible!  It was hard to enjoy my brand new baby with the pain, the stress, and quite honestly the pain pills that kept my mind fuzzy.  But I had no choice.  That was my life.


The worst part was washing and dressing my soar to get rid of the infection.  For the first few weeks, I could not do it alone (again, I’ll spare you the details), but there was no way I wanted anyone else to see it--not even the doctor, and ESPECIALLY not my husband.  It was the most humbling experience of my life.  Of course, I always want to be attractive and sexy in my husband’s eyes.  Instead,  in the moments where he is dealing with a hideous incision on me, I feel all of my pride ripped away. I want nothing more than to run away from my own self and find a hole to crawl into.


Anyone who I tried expressing my feelings to would just quickly play it off that it was my husband’s fault I got pregnant in the first place, so of course he should have to help me with the healing process. Well … #1, DUH! I’m aware that my husband got me pregnant.  Thank you for “comforting” me by stating the obvious, I guess?


#2, I’m not vindictive like that when it comes to my husband getting me pregnant.  It took two to tango, simply put.  WE put US in this situation, not “HIM,” and no matter how painful it is, our children are a blessing; a result of our love for each other.  So to blame him for my healing predicament is also to say that it’s his fault I have another beautiful son to love and cherish in this world.  That’s more of something to be thankful for, if you ask me.


#3, My body is a totally different world from our baby.  I would have no problem playing the guilt card on him if it’s 3 am and the baby has kept me up all night, or if I am overwhelmed with our children and the house looks like a tornado went off in it. But when it comes to dressing my personal body wounds, I simply don’t want my husband to see that part of me. Therefore, I have no desire to play the guilt card on him for it.


And yet, as much as I hate it, here he has been, taking care of my soar for me. Not just once a day; once in the morning before he goes to work, once he gets home from work, and once again before we go to bed.  That’s three times a day.  


It was the second day into this nightmare of mine that I was watching my husband’s eyes as he carefully dressed me.  He was very focused on doing it right and not hurting me. Not once did I see a hint of regret in his eyes.  Only love and care for me.  He never thought twice about doing what he needed to do to help his wife get better.  He acted like … like … well, he acted like it was a PIECE OF CAKE (And even if it wasn’t, he did a great job covering up his true feelings for my sake)!


I realized in that moment that my husband was keeping his vow “In sickness,” for me.  Tears filled my eyes but I said nothing to him about it.  I just kissed him and thanked him after he was finished helping me.  I went into our bedroom, alone, and continued thinking about it.  That’s when it hit me.  He wasn’t the only one putting our vows into practice.  It was an act of love for my husband to do what he did, and it was also an act of trust for me to let him do it.  


I had to rid myself of any worries that my husband would look at me differently after this, perhaps even want to trade me for a “better model.”  I had to trust that he would still find me attractive and love me just as strongly as he always did. I had to allow our relationship to step deeper into a realm where it’s never been before.


The vows we make to our spouses in our hearts are not just about giving.  They’re about receiving, as well.  It is not only our job to serve our spouse, it’s also our duty to let our spouse serve us.  I find that to be the hardest part.  To serve the man that I love is easy, but to sit back and let him serve me is not so much.  However, it isn't really a choice that I have as his wife, nor is it a choice for him as my husband.  We took a vow that did not specify “giving” or “taking,” because a marriage requires both parts from both of us.  I've heard it said, “Marriage is about give and take,” and I always understood the giving part. I understand it all, now.


If I don’t let my husband take care of me then I am ultimately hindering him from being able to keep his own marriage vows towards me.  That’s pretty profound ... To me, at least.


Having this new perspective on the matter is what helped me become more comfortable with letting the love of my life see my scars (literally).  I still didn't want him to see me that way, but I no longer felt threatened by the situation.  In fact, through it all I have been able to see our marriage grow even stronger.  The best part is, my husband has no clue about any of my feelings on this until he reads my post! (I kept it a secret because I knew I would eventually write about it…)

{{By the way, all this talk about a third baby and cesarean made me realize I never actually shared anything on our newest family member! Please help me welcome our little Fuzz Ball into this world (he got that nickname from his mommy, due to his adorable natural fo-hawk that he was born with). His due date was December 26th and we were scheduled Christmas Eve for our cesarean, but he decided to arrive on December 12th, instead (All three of my children came at least 3 weeks early), at 11:20 am (after 7 hours of labor). 

I was the largest and most swollen with him out of all three of my pregnancies, and yet some how he came out being the tiniest of the three (even smaller than his sister, who was considered a preemie): 6 lbs 2 oz. He is a month old and still pretty tiny, but eating healthy and growing steady. He is a beautiful and healthy baby, and worth all of the trouble it took to get him here. This momma, still a bit soar and definitely exhausted, is overjoyed, 100% complete, and praising God for her beautiful and healthy family.


Fuzz Ball, one month old




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To My Loving Studly Husband,


I love you with all of my heart and am grateful for the devoted man that you are to me. Thank you for helping me bring two of our three children into this world, and more importantly thank you for helping me raise all three of them. I appreciate your love and the fact that you are a man of your word, keeping your vows in our marriage strong and pure.  May we never take our vows for granted, all the days of our life. I look forward to our next big challenge together!


Always and Forever,

Your Imperfect Wife

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"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14

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4 comments:

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  2. We put months of thought into our vows. We wrote the entire ceremony ourselves to make it extra special.

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  3. Congratulations on the birth of your little one! I have on one the way in the spring! I just want to say what a beautiful picture you & your husband have given to the world of a committed and selfless love. God bless!

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Slowing down long enough to appreciate the beautiful things that keep me busy!