The best part of this year has, hands down, been spending more time with my husband. The good, the bad & the ugly, our relationship has strengthened more in this single year than I feel like it has in years prior. We celebrated our 9th anniversary quarantined with dinner at home in PJs watching something on TV. Probably The Great British Baking Show. I’ve always wanted to do something big and bold for our anniversary. One year a trip got cancelled because of a forest fire threatening to burn down our destination. Another year because we were moving a few weeks later and it was just too much. Then last year there was a bit of a pandemic and lack of funds that kept us from traveling. It would appear that we’re destined to eat steaks at home on the couch every November.
Have you ever heard the one about taking care of yourself first so you can take care of others? I don’t do that. And by proxy, I don’t do that well for my husband either. I think of people outside of this house before I think of either of us. I jump to help them before I help either of us. This year has taught me the importance of us.
As Catholics, as married Catholics, we vow to put God first. Then our spouse. Then children if we have them. I have spent a lot of time this year recognizing how my husband and I are a family. Even though we don’t have kids. I’ve discounted that fact simply because we don’t have the same kind of families that our siblings and friends have. We don’t have buckets of kids and don’t have “family time” activities. We don’t have bedtime routines to plan or school and vacations to save for.
I know families comes in all shapes and sizes, but the realization – the awakening – that John and I are our family rocked my mindset when we had to change how we live this year. Being quarantined, making decisions for our “family” suddenly became very clear. He and I matter most to him and I, after God. It felt wrong at first, to push aside worries of siblings and nieces and nephews and godchildren. But we had to. I had to. I had to think about him. And me. That’s it.
Growing takes time. I’m not always going to fill my cup first. I’m not always going to think about John before myself. I’m certainly not going to be the majestic Catholic wife I want to be. Time and time again, often after the fact of a selfish screw up, I start over. That’s basically what marriage is: always learning, always growing. Hopefully together, always through God.