When I began to piece together arrangements for bringing my baby home in 2015, I worked to fill every gap I could possibly imagine. I planned to have my mother here to help with daily chores. I arranged meals to come in from the church. I organized dog walkers to help with Baylor. I wrote a list on my fridge of daily and weekly to-do’s. I washed, folded and organized all the baby clothes in advance and tucked them neatly into drawers. I put together “welcome” stockings for houseguests filled with lotions and other treats to sustain them while at our home. I carefully planned for every possible need that would arise.
I landed in the bed exhausted and tearful. Phone in hand, I began spilling my thoughts and feelings into a text. I was too angry to talk in person. I was too tired to go downstairs and meet my husband on the couch.
There it was. The white dress dangled from the staircase for that popular snapshot just before it adorned my body. My sister and cousin buttoned up all 1,987 buttons, joking that Ryan would never be able to get that garment it off of me.
I took a sip of champagne and laughed nervously about how I wasn’t sure if I remembered how to kiss, as it had been several years. I was not sure if I even knew what intimacy was. I had waited for this moment for what felt like ages!
Not to kiss. Not to have sex. Not to wear a wedding dress….
I had waited for a promise.
Since getting married, I’ve kept an ongoing list of advice people gave us that sounded strange, but became the most meaningful pieces of wisdom. I also took time in my recent interviews with couples who have been married 30-50+ years to ask what advice they would offer a young newlywed or engaged couple in order to set them up for a long and happy marriage. I have combined my list and their comments to create…
10 pieces of Unconventional Advice for a Long and Happy Marriage:
Disclaimer: In this post I discuss critical subjects surrounding sex and sexuality. I do not dodge popular issues. The Church and sex-ed, for the most part, have done enough dodging. Instead, I use direct language to address these matters. I use words such as porn, orgasm, masturbation, and libido. If this sort of candor causes you to feel discomfort or offense, I lovingly encourage you to spend your time elsewhere.
Disclaimer: In this post I discuss critical subjects surrounding sex and sexuality. I do not dodge popular issues. The Church and sex-ed, for the most part, have done enough dodging. If this sort of candor causes you to feel discomfort or offense, I lovingly encourage you to spend your time elsewhere.
Within the soul of every human being there is an innate thirst to know, and to be known. To love and to be loved. We all have it. This desire rests under our skin and inspires our behaviors, our cravings, and our emotions. It is the rudder by which we steer our lives. This thirst is the reason we choose relationships.
The most devastating impact my Eating Disorder has had on my life has been within my marriage. Of course, the toll the disease has had on my body is disturbing. The healing my spirit and mind have required has been exhausting and intense. But the affect the disease has had on the most sacred and precious relationship in my life – my marriage – has been the most unexpected upset.
When Eating Disorders begin to take root nobody warns you that your relationships will suffer and that you will lose touch with Love. You find that out in the most inopportune moments – like on your honeymoon, or shopping as a couple, or when you get pregnant, or when your child indulges on your trigger food. These are the moments when you realize the breadth and depth of this disorder and how it impacts those around you.
The laundry towers, dishes pile up, trash multiplies, toys scatter. The dog needs feeding, bed needs making, the baby needs attention…
I mustn’t waste this day away on chores.
Today there are laughs to be had, beauty to see, tastes to savor, words to be read, written and exchanged. Love to be shared, sidewalks to stroll, ducks to feed, and swings to play on. Coffee to be enjoyed, smiles to pass along, messes to make, and places to tidy up.
She will not remember the clean home. I will not wish for another moment to wash dishes or fold laundry as I reach the end of my earthly journey. I will wish for more moments to allow Love to come in, take charge, and trickle powerfully out.
And so I began packing up in preparation for our upcoming walk to the park. And then I saw them.
It was one of those mornings. The sun’s warm rays gently touched my face in the early hours, waking me up. I squirmed beneath the sheets and was, once again, incredibly aware of my thighs. The rolls of fat on my stomach. My round face.