Marriage — you know, that thing you do between all those kid-related adventures
By Dorothy Wilson ‘The Marion Mom’
If we ever have another drought, I suggest we start up a soccer league immediately. I have noticed a direct correlation: where organized sports exist, downpours are sure to follow.
My boys chose soccer this season, and we’ve had a handful of games and practices canceled due to wet fields or foreboding weather. The kids are always so disappointed.
But — and I’m going to share a shameful secret here — every time it’s canceled, my heart responds with just a moment of jubilant relief.
Don’t you dare tell my boys.
The truth is, I’m tired and thankful for the break! I truck six kids from here to there to yonder for enrichment activities.
I shop nutritious groceries and then force-feed them to children with “selective” taste buds. (Kale chips, anyone?) I pore over curriculum in an effort to homeschool without educational gaps, and my son tells me his favorite class is recess.
Guess what? Mine is, too, child! But we can’t play recess the rest of our lives.
I wash, dry, and fold at least two loads of laundry everyday. Asking me to put it away, though, is just taking it a little too far.
(Seriously, we have piles of clothes everywhere. I can neither confirm nor deny that I might have a slight shopping problem.) I help the children prepare for the day, always meeting resistance to normal requests for proper hygiene, like “Brush your teeth,” or “Don’t pee on your brother.” That’s not asking too much!
Apparently, it is asking too much to pair up socks. My daughter stopped wearing matching pairs long ago.
She now grabs two socks similar in size from a large basket. Sadly, her brother adopted this plan and applied it to shoes.
is the one wearing two different shoes of various size, season, and — wait for it — gender.
Apologies to all you sticklers out there. I have a large, circular file under my desk for all complaints.
I know you parents commiserate. We are in a weary season of life. Sometimes, parenting is like the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who was tasked as punishment to roll an immense boulder up a hill. The problem is, every time he reaches the top, it rolls back down to the ground. For eternity.
Like Sisyphus’ unending task, parenting takes its toll on us emotionally and physically.
But it also takes its toll on our marriages.
A real danger lurks in every marriage during the child-rearing season-that each parent invests emotions and time into enriching the lives of their children while their bond of marital love withers, crumbles, and disintegrates with even a light breeze of distress.
Even the ones who determine to stick it out together for the sake of the kids lose motivation when the nest goes empty.
Don’t believe me? The Barna survey group recently noted a higher divorce rate among empty-nesters than any other age group, at 37 percent.
I’m going to tell you another secret. My husband and I saw a marriage counselor this summer.
I once heard someone recommend counseling the same way we schedule dental check-ups, to identify potential issues before they cause us pain.
We both had our eyes opened to the “long-term investment” view of marriage. We faced the question, “What do I want out of life?”
It’s a question all young people should ask before they go blundering down the trendy path of their generation, blindly following the crowd like tween girls at a Miley Cyrus concert.
Hashtag twerk. (If you don’t know what that means, count yourself blessed and resist Googling it. Some things, you just can’t unsee.) But it’s a question that people of all ages should occasionally consider to realign their actions and habits with their goals.
Currently, my ultimate treasure is this: a lifelong companion who has built a castle of memories with me and still loves being with me in 50 years.
I want to grow old with my husband.
(Luckily, after 13 years of marriage, he still wants to be with me, too!) To that end, we now work to nourish our relationship.
We altered some destructive habits that have led to happier evenings at home together including:
• Sharing the job of household management
• Scheduling weekly lunch dates
• Finding hobbies to enjoy together
• Slowing down
• Communicating our desires
• Expressing thanks verbally and with gifts Yes, the work seems difficult and sometimes expensive, but what feels like a sacrifice now will feel like an investment in 20 years.
If you want the hand on which you slipped that ring 30 years ago to be the one that caresses your wrinkled, gray face down the road, fight for happiness together, even at holiday gatherings with the in-laws.
Revisit the memories that led you to love each other.
Find out the best way to nourish your relationship.
With a little creative thinking, it doesn’t even have to cost that much.
Treat one another kindly even in the face of adversity.
Get help when you need it.
Don’t wait until she serves you papers to start working on your marriage.
Finally, laugh together — at your mistakes, at your memories, at your favorite sit-coms, or at that crazy first-grader with mixed-up shoes.
Don’t spend your whole life searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow only to discover there never was a pot of gold. You miss the true treasure, which is the journey itself with companions you love — and maybe soccer.
I’ll let you know when it stops raining.
[Editor’s Note: Dorothy Wilson lives in Marion with her husband Chris as they enjoy all the adventures life with their seven children brings. Her columns appear monthly in the Marion Ledger and reprints, like this one from October 2014, appear occasionally in the online edition of the Times.