Prior to this past year, I believed honest, respectful, and effective communication, as well as clearly delineated expectations were the keys to marriage, and while those are obviously very important tools, this year has been about something different. Eleanor joined our ranks this past year. We became parents, had to learn what that meant, and perhaps more importantly, had to learn how to grow independently but together, instead of independently and apart. Though we are both willing for the sake of Eleanor, neither of us wants to lose ourselves (our hobbies, our life-giving friendships and activities) in the process of growing our family. This year has been about prioritizing each other and our interests and about learning how to say "yes" to each other even when it's easier not to. Phrases like "we'll make it work" and we'll figure it out" have become commonplace in our conversations this past year. We have prioritized things like my girls' reunion weekends and book club, Chris' poker nights, and his recent trip to Chicago, as well as our time together in the evenings and on weekends.
We've grown this last year. We've stretched everything: our hearts to welcome Eleanor, our capabilities in caring for each other and a baby, our thresholds of forgiveness because we all fall short, and our compassion because life is hard and we all need a break sometimes. Our communication has changed, our expectations have changed, we have changed. What a blessing that we have the capacity to become new people (and create new people!) within the permanence of our marriage.
(My sister and mom took this picture on our anniversary when they visited to help watch Eleanor.)
Six years. Six great years. I hope we have more than ten times that many to come.