November 11, 2014

On Marriage: An Interview with Deidre of Deidre Emme

Today I'm continuing my series of marriage "interviews" with a newish bloggy friend Deidre. She recently rebranded her blog Deidre Emme; you should definitely check it out. If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @jenbosen) you may remember Deidre as my piƱata twin at the most recent AZ Blogger Meetup. That shot pretty much sums up my feelings about this woman: she's beautiful, outgoing, creative, friendly, and sooo much fun to be around. She and her husband Adam have a semi-long-distance thing going, which makes for some interesting marital challenges but has also forced them to improve their communication. Deidre explains it best, so I'll let her tell you all about it.

***

Tell us a little about your family.

Our family is pretty small and simple. It is Adam and me. That is it. No pets, no kids... at least not for now. We have been married for two years. We have lived in Utah, Arizona, and now we are in Idaho. We are just enjoying being married and taking advantage of the time that we live together. That sounds weird if you don't know our story... We only live together about half of the year. Not because we are fighting or having issues, but because my husband plays professional baseball. So how that works... during the off season we are a normal couple that shares a bed, a house, and all the chores. The off season lasts from October to March. Then in March is Spring Training so he heads to Arizona and I come visit and from April to October he is off somewhere playing minor league baseball... which can put him anywhere from Southern California to Alabama. It is a nice little surprise and test of our patience. So I live in Idaho year round where I do events and I volunteer for the Miss Idaho Organization and then my husband is basically a gypsy. Cute, right? When we are together we love to explore, watch shows, make friends, and laugh. When we are apart we like to Skype, text, and send selfies. We are a normal couple with a scattered life. But we get a lot more honeymoon phases every year once the baseball season ends. So that is kind of fun!


What first made you decide Adam was “the one”?


My husband and I had a rough start to our dating. We met right as I was fresh off a semi-breakup. I say semi because I was still going on dates with my ex boyfriend. Weird, right? I don't know what I was thinking. But then I was also dating Adam, a kid named Ian, and a kid named Ben. I was sort of trying to figure out which one I liked and just enjoying being the free fun spirit again. But Adam got at least 75% of my attention. Probably more like 90% actually. I really liked him. But he wanted 100% - I mean, you can't blame him. He wanted to date. And finally he got fed up with my lack of full commitment and said he was done. And I was DEVASTATED. I cancelled all my other dates and told the other guys I wasn't interested. Which seems like a strange thing to do when you get dumped - as much as you can get dumped by someone you weren't really dating. But I cancelled them all and spent all my time thinking about Adam and how I would win him back. And that is when I knew he could be the one. Because any other time something ended with a boy I was like "whateva, I will go date other guys!" but this time I was like "nooooooooo! give me Adam!" And then I officially knew he was the one when I saw how he treated me - like a queen, he was a total gentleman - and how cute he was with my nephews. Winning. I wanted to be wed to him.


Why is he still “the one”?


He is probably the only person I cannot stay mad or irritated at. Even when I really want to be frustrated at him for something. All he has to do is look at me with a funny face and I crack up. He still is a complete gentleman - he packs my lunches, opens my door, and always tells me I am beautiful. He puts me before everything else. And he has the same priorities as me which makes discussions and plans easy. He always is the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing before bed. Even when he is gone, we talk for two minutes when I wake up and for hours before lights out. He is a hardworking and dedicated man. And he is handsome to boot. I married up. And that is why he is still the one. Because every day is better. Everyday he gets more handsome. And everyday I fall in love a million times more.


What do you love most about being married in general? What do you love most about your marriage specifically?


Marriage in general... I love that I always have someone to talk to, that wants to hear everything. And I love that I always have someone to eat dinner with. About my marriage specifically? I love the adventure that it is with the lifestyle we picked. We never know exactly where Adam is going or what he is doing. There are a lot of risks and adventures involved. But no matter what is going on - a move to Indiana, a trip to Arizona, or me needing to get out of a suck-tastic situartion - I can ALWAYS count on a phone call in the morning and a phone call at night with lots of texts and photos in between. Our communication always comes first, and I LOVE that about being married to Adam.


What is one of the most difficult things you’ve had to overcome in your marriage?


One of the most difficult things? There have been a lot... three months after we got married I got laid off from my job. That was terrifying. I made the money and we were newlyweds. It was a test of our faith but my husband was a gem through it all. 

Then there  was draft Saturday which was stressful and hard on us. Adam was supposed to go high in the draft but due to his age and him being married he kept getting pushed back... the team that initially said they would pick him up around the 10th-13th round took him in the 20th. Which meant small signing bonus. Adam was discouraged. I bawled and bawled. I felt like he deserved so much better than that. 

Those were both really hard but worked out. I got a great job after the layoff and Adam has been taking baseball by storm and impressing those that doubted his ability. But most recently, the most difficult thing we had to overcome came from our time apart. We decided to move to Arizona so we could get more months together during the year. That meant only 5 months apart rather than 7 or 8. I was all for it. I found a new job. We found a great place to live. We moved. The first months were great. Then Adam left for summer ball and it all went downhill. I cried daily. I hated my job. I didn't have any friend. I felt stressed and overwhelmed and like a failure. And in the middle of all that Adam had a minor injury and had to come home to Arizona for a month for rehab, and I think he could tell something was not right... but then he left again and I bottled it all up. I wouldn't tell Adam because I didn't want him to feel bad for leaving. It got to a point where I was so unhappy I could not handle it. I broke down. I told Adam everything. 

For the next few months we looked for a new job in a place where I had friends and family close for while he was away and we looked for a job that treated people with respect. Adam was so wonderful. Daily conversation and communication about how we were both doing. Me with my job, Adam with his arm. He told me to pick a place to live where I could be happy no matter if he was there or not. It was a lot of trust, open conversation, and faith in the Lord. And after a few months we are here in Idaho and onto a better lifestyle. It was a great strength to our marriage and a reminder of what is important. Our happiness, together.


What kinds of things do you do (or have you done) to strengthen your relationship?


Communication. We have a deal that we have to tell each other how we are feeling. Even if it is just sheer frustration because the juicer got the best of us in the morning. Without the conversation and communication of what is going on we put those feelings or stress and attitude into regular conversation and it caused problems. But just talking about it put it out in the open and we are able to help each other more. 

Another thing we learned early, early on is to always put the other person's needs first. If you are ALWAYS thinking about what your spouse needs, rather than what you need, you will never have time to think about why your spouse didn't do what you needed. Does that make sense? So if I am thinking about how Adam needs some water and go get it I wont have time to sit there and think, "Why didn't Adam get me water?" It builds service and pure love towards each other. 


If you could give any marital advice, what would it be?


Trust. Communicate. And laugh. Without those three things, a marriage is just a relationship. And why spend all that time together for just a relationship? There needs to be a lot of trust in what the other person is saying and doing. Trust that they are doing it for the better of the "us" not the "me". And trust that it has a real purposes, even if it is just a great memory, at the end. Communication for all the reasons I previously stated. Open communication can clear up a lot of issues. And laughter because you are best friends and you should be able to kick your heels up and just smile. Plus, it makes things a lot easier when you can laugh. 
And my last piece of advice, the most important part? Go on dates. Just because you are married doesn't mean you can stop courting and spending time together. Set aside a date night every week. It will strengthen your marriage. I promise. And those date nights will create memories you will remember forever.

***
"I wanted to be wed to him." Yep. Hilarious way to put it and totally how I felt about David too.

Don't you just love their great attitudes? Have you faced marital challenges brought on by career choices or being in a new location? How have you dealt with those obstacles?

Thanks again for being here, Deidre! We miss you here and sure hope Idaho is treating you well!

November 10, 2014

Mila Monday

Amelia: 180 weeks and Margot: 82 weeks

One connects the train tracks and the other makes a king's castle.

So intent on their work. So meticulous with each block. My blond little builders.

November 6, 2014

The Love Dare: Day 32 (Psst! It's the sexy one!)


"If at all possible, try to initiate sex with your husband or wife today. Do this in a way that honors what your spouse has told you (or implied to you) about what they need from you sexually. Ask God to make this enjoyable for both of you as well as a path to greater intimacy."

Along with several other bloggers, I'm participating in Tausha's Blogger Love Dare, and today is my turn! When I arbitrarily chose a day, OF COURSE I ended up with the dare where you're supposed to have sex. Of course I did. *facepalm*

So here we go. It's about to get all kinds of awkward and vulnerable up in here.
Love Dare Day 32: love meets sexual needs

(Just a quick note: If you're new here, welcome! Also, for this post to make sense, you may want to check out this post first. It's also awkward and vulnerable but a lot less sexy. Spoiler: it's about depression and anxiety. Fun!)

***

The worst conversation David and I have ever had started, not-so-innocently enough, in bed. He stopped kissing me long enough to ask something along the lines of, "What do you want?" Insert wiggly eyebrows here. You know what he meant.

The problem was, at that moment and for so many previous ones, I wanted one of two things. A very large part of me wanted to roll over and go to sleep, because sex was the furthest thing from my mind. A smaller, louder part of me wanted very much to want sex...but didn't. It was confusing. So I gave him what I hoped was a sufficiently diplomatic answer: "I want you to turn me on."

That was not what he expected to hear. "Are you not turned on? Um, am I doing something wrong? What does that even mean?" And that's when it all spilled out and I was pretty sure he was going to run away and never come back.

Physically, I had rebounded quickly after Margot was born. Sexually, not so much. My libido had sort of withered and died. I hadn't really been aroused in months. I went through the motions because a) I knew that's what David wanted and I loved making him happy and b) I hoped it would help me want it more. Nope. Nothing. Business hours were over, permanently, as far as I could tell. I desperately wished it weren't the case, but I didn't know what to do to change anything.

Of course David took that to mean that I no longer found him attractive and wasn't interested in sex with him specifically. He spent the night feeling rejected and frustrated, and began planning out the rest of his celibate married life from the far edge of the bed.

I also felt rejected, as if he would no longer want me because I was used up and broken. I cried. Needless to say we did not finish our earlier canoodling. It was a rough night.

After a few tension-filled days, we sat down to discuss the elephant in the room. I did my best to reassure him that my problem had nothing to do with him. Yes, I was still attracted to him. Yes, I wanted to be with him. Yes, I wanted to make him happy. I just had no desire for sex.

It was not the easiest thing to explain. Kudos to him for listening and trying to understand.

I'm pretty sure that was the day we decided that I really needed to talk to my doctor. We didn't know if it was a hormone imbalance or depression or what, but something wasn't right and needed to be fixed. Asap.

I saw my doc that week and she prescribed a low dose of Paxil. I feel very fortunate that it has worked so well for me and we didn't have to experiment with other options. My anxiety is practically nonexistent, my depression is under control, and slowly but surely my appetites have returned...including my sexual appetite. HUZZAH!!!

(You guys. You really don't know how great it is to want sex after months and months of being completely disinterested. And I'm guessing, from David's side of things, it's probably pretty fantastic to have an equal partner in things again instead of being the only one who is interested in sexy time.)

Since then we've had quite a few discussions about what we need from each other to make our marriage better. We were getting along fine, and the kids were happy, but we were essentially living as roommates. It was less than ideal. I didn't even realize that I had stopped touching David unless we were in bed. Given that one of his major love languages is physical touch, it's not surprising that he felt hurt and rejected.

And I realize this seems like a long, awkward, unnecessarily personal story, but it's got a point, I swear. Here it is:

You have to keep trying. You have to keep talking and realigning and re-prioritizing and making sure that things are as good as they possibly can be. You might have to dig deep and acknowledge some serious problems that need to be addressed. You might have to break out of a comfortable but stagnant routine in order to make improvements. You might have to go through the motions for a while until things start to feel genuine again. You might cry. (You'll probably cry.)

But all of that? All the hard stuff? It is so so worth it.

Several months ago this would have been the most difficult dare of the entire challenge. Now? Well, let's just say I'm looking forward to putting the kids to bed tonight...wink wink.

***

Aaaand now I'm going to awkwardly moon walk away because you guys know way more than makes me comfortable about what I'm up to on a random Thursday night.



Is it hard for you to initiate sex? Has your desire waned for each other over time? I'm really curious: what do you do when the balance feels off? How have you reignited that flame?

Be sure to visit Tausha's blog to keep following along with the love dare!

Blogger Love Dare

November 4, 2014

Mila Monday: Tuesday Edition

Amelia: 179 weeks & Margot: 81 weeks

I hate making excuses so I won't. I'm behind on my posting schedule. Obviously. I had hoped to have pictures of the girls in their Halloween costumes for you yesterday; that clearly didn't happen. But I did get these of the "show" they put on for me this morning in their tutus.

It was a very serious vocal performance of Katy Perry's "Roar" and everyone's favorite song from everyone's favorite Disney movie which shall not be named lest you have it stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

(I'm so sorry. It's already in there isn't it.)

It's so funny to watch Margot try to be like her big sister. It's so funny to watch Mila encourage her and try to include her.

It's less funny when Margot loses interest and Mila gets frustrated and it turns into a power struggle and both girls end up wailing for mama to come fix things.


But that's how it goes, I guess. I'm just happy they let me be part of it all.

October 27, 2014

Mila Monday

Amelia: 178 weeks

We are drowning in piles of paper flowers and garlands right now.
She thinks it's hilarious to hide in them and pop out at me.

Margot: 80 weeks

This one, however, is more interested in jumping into the piles of laundry...on which I was laying when I tried to take her picture.
She totally dive-bombed me right after I took this, the stink bug. I just want to eat her up.
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