I haven't met Kara in person, but we're blog buddies (is that a thing?) She blogs over at Abounding Abundance about being a working mom and life in general. We're both in Des Moines and have little boys so it seems like our paths are bound to cross eventually!
I asked her to share some insight into her marriage today. It's always encouraging to hear how other couples make it work! I also love her advice about enjoying the present and not comparing your parenting style and decisions to others. That's something I have to remind myself of often!
How long have you been married?
Lance and I married just out of college – so 8 years this summer! Wow. We’re planning on taking a momentous anniversary trip for our 10 year anniversary so we should probably start dreaming and planning now.
What was one of your biggest challenges the first few months of marriage?
Lance and I were a long distance relationship couple the entire three years of college we dated. So when we went from only seeing each other on weekends to being married and LIVING together, it was an interesting transition. I am an independent person and need decompression time. I like to think that I’m an introverted-extrovert meaning while I love being around people, I also need “me” time to be by myself. Lance and I had to learn how to be a couple together after spending so much time apart. We learned that being married didn’t necessarily mean being joined at the hip and that it was healthy for both of us to continue to pursue separate interests. After we learned that, we also found more enjoyment discovering new activities as a couple.
How many kids do you have and how long were you married before you had kids?
Lance and I were married five years before we had children. I had wanted to finish up my master’s degree before we started our family. We have been blessed so far with one son, Lucan, who is two and a half years-old. We talk about adding another kiddo at some point, but God will let us know when that time is. It’s hard for me to imagine our life as being full before having Lucan, and it’s even harder for me to imagine our lives becoming even fuller.
What was something you wish you’d known or done before having kids?
Something that I wish I would have done a better job is simply enjoying the present. Not worrying about what’s coming next or longing for the future. Lance and I took a couple of fun trips before we had Lucan, but I wish we would have more fun “spur of the moment” weekends just to explore other places.
Something that I’ve realized since becoming a mom is that we all are doing our best, in the best way we know how. Whether you choose to be a stay-at-home-mom or work outside the house; breastfeed or formula feed; co-sleep or let them cry it out; feed your kids McDonalds Happy Meals or range-free eggs, no one way is the best. What works for your family might not necessarily work for your sister’s family or even your next child. Don’t get caught up in what Facebook tells you is the right way to raise your children. I think that’s why I’m so reluctant to read a lot of parenting books. I hate the feeling of comparing the way I’m raising Lucan to the way someone else thinks I should be raising him.
What has having kids taught you about marriage?
Parenting is made for two people – that’s why it takes two people to make a baby! There are things that I excel at that Lance does not and there are things that Lance excels at that I do not. Lance is the calm and reasonable one and a thousand times more patient. I am organized, decisive and good at remembering. These attributes not only help our marriage, they also help us to be good parents. Having kids magnifies the good and bad in our marriage. I’m so thankful all of the time for the grace that both Lance and God give me. Because I need a lot of it.
What's your secret to a happy marriage?
God first, husband second, children third, bathroom cleaning dead last.
*Want to tell us about your marriage? Drop us an email, we'd love to share your story!