Memories, Not Dreams

Memories, Not Dreams

Yesterday marked the 11 year anniversary of my first date with my husband. We’ve been through our share of ups and downs over those 11 years, and honestly, right now we are still working through one of the down spells. These times are tough, but I suppose most marriages go through this, so I take heart at knowing we are not alone and only time will tell how the story ends. In the meantime, we are working hard on expressing our love and reconnecting and having experiences together in order to create more memories for us to hold onto during the tough times. More physical intimacy, more planning of vacations together, more “us” time being made the priority… it’s all important to the survival of our marriage and our family, so we are giving it our best shot.

How about you? Was there a point in your marriage or partnership that was tougher than others? How did you work through it? Or did you (or your significant other) decide that marriage maybe wasn’t right for you at all?


  1. Sorry to hear that you’re going through a rough marriage time! I appreciate your honest post. I feel like most blogs, at least the ones I read, are basically like, “My husband is the BEST EVER and my marriage is awesome!”

    My husband and I are in an OK time right now. Not perfect, but better. Our toughest time, by far, was the last three years that we’ve been doing fertility treatments. I’d say it all came to a head last spring and that was our worst time. We went to therapy for several months, but neither one of us found our therapist very helpful ha. I do think it was helpful, though, in the sense that we felt like we were working towards something together. I think the sheer relief of not having to do fertility treatments anymore and finally, hopefully, achieving our dream a second child has lightened our load and made things easier between us for now. However, I do still feel like we take each other for granted a lot and get into a trap where we rest on our laurels and don’t do the work it takes to make a good marriage. For us, our main thing is appreciation, and when we show appreciation for what each of us brings to the marriage, we seem to do better.

    1. LOL. I read a few of those blogs as well, and I’m always thinking there’s NO WAY you’re that blissfully happy…and then wondering if I’m just jealous and those people really do exist. Hm…

      IF was definitely a total wreck for us because of how I (didn’t) handle it… then the last few years were okay because I was so busy gestating and nursing, but now… it’s like we are so disconnected, and it’s hard to find each other again sometimes. I’m wanting to reconnect with friends and activities and such that have been on hold for years, and he just wants me home all the time, and that makes me feel SO claustrophobic. It’s an odd balance to be trying to find.

      1. The wanting to reconnect with friends and activities happens to us all, I think, once the storm of raising tiny kids gets a bit better. And it leaves our husbands wondering, “but what about ME?” We’ve been through this conversation so many times and I keep telling him to do the same thing once in a while and he says he’d rather hang with the family (which always feels like a guilt-trip). I don’t go out too often, but when I do, I love it so much and he knows that, and he’s learned to embrace his time alone with the kids. As long as we do things together more than I’m out with other people or on FB or reading blogs, then we do well.

        Men are needy.

  2. Through pictures lately, you guys look like you’re doing great. I’ve even thought about it recently, that you look like guys are doing better than you have in a long time.

    We started counseling near the beginning of this year, but only ended up going twice due to schedule conflicts. The first session is two hours long. So, it feels like we went more than we did. It was exactly how I expected it would be. It was McMister who wanted to go. So, it was pretty much a dump on me for two hours since I’m the one who is content right now. And exactly as I expected, we quickly moved out of our slump (we have MANY, but very quick, slumps), and he just said last night he doesn’t want to go anymore. I never wanted to go in the first place, but I feel like we shouldn’t just stop bc we’re in a good spot for a few weeks at a time. On the other hand, I worry if I just feel like forcing the issue bc he made us start in the first place.

    Either way, we obv have our ups and downs, just like everyone else. Ours just seem to be more quick and dramatic than most other people. Idk. It’s interesting you wrote about it here. I thought about writing about going to counseling on mine, but I just knew the whole thing was going to sound far more serious than it really was/is.

    1. Yeah, C and I have been doing a lot more activities together lately for sure, and we always have a fun time…but all of that drains him at the same time that it rejuvenates me, and that ends up causing issues. His cup is filled by being home on the couch together, my cup is filled by going out and doing things together… and it’s hard to reconcile those two feelings.

      We have talked about counseling…just making excuses for time and money and such. Definitely worth a shot though.

      1. As seems to be the case quite often, you’re more McMister, and I’m more Charlie 🙂 Going out and doing things just seems so exhausting to me after being home with the kids all day and not sleeping all night, but for him, it brings such a spark! For what it’s worth, my mom and her husband fight about the exact same issue, and they’re in their 50s and 60s. So, it’s definitely worth trying to figure out now rather than waiting for it to go away, which is what I would prefer 🙂

        I might have told you about this book before because we read it a couple years ago, but even just the beginning of it really hit home with both of us. The “without talking about it” part of the title really drew us in because we don’t resolve anything by talking the vast majority of the time. We never ended up reading the second half, which is the part about what to DO (obv the helpful part), but even just reading WHY we were feeling the way we were was helpful for both of us. Anyway, it’s a cheap and do-on-your-own-schedule suggestion that could maybe help instead of counseling.

  3. What’s the issue with you and hubby?! I look up to you and want to be like ya’all !!

    Having kids definitely changed the dynamics for us, it is a bit of a rough spot right now and i think we both taking it out on drinking. Our kids are horrible too so that adds to the stress. I’m hoping time fixes things..


    1. I’m an outgoing extrovert, and he’s an outgoing introvert… so though we both have good friends and like doing things, he craves time home alone with just me and the kids, and I’d much rather be out and about. That just leads to fights, and like you, we definitely both use drinking as a crutch.

  4. I don’t know if you remember, but I used to blog about my couples counseling sessions a few years ago. You know, the couples counseling I went to BY MYSELF.😉 We were in an awful spot when I was pregnant with Bryson through his first 6 months. I was thinking terrible things, (“I hate him,” “I’m not doing this forever.” “what’s my plan if we split?”) and I was desperate to fix it. Going to couples counseling alone…. Fixed it. The communication skills and tools he taught me were invaluable and we still use them.

    Brian says this probably once every couple of weeks – that when you have young kids, you just have to power through your marriage and know that it WILL get better… And remember you’re on the same team. That’s the hard thing for me, because there are times I don’t WANT to be on the same team. 😉 But he is right, you just have to buckle down and vow to get through it. I do believe that these young kids take a toll on our marriages and doing things TOGETHER is important. It’s so easy to each take time away separately, but you need to do it together. I think you’re on the right track with your stated goals above.

    My one word of advice is to set rules on how you can and can’t fight with each other. Our agreed rules are 1) no swearing at each other, 2) no name calling (not even jerk), and 3) no threats of leaving or divorce. We respect those rules and never break them because once you do any of those things once, it’s easy to do it again.

    You’re going to make it, but he needs to be committed too. Is he all in? You don’t need to answer that to us here, but do answer that to yourself.

    1. Wow, I remember now that you say that, but I had totally forgotten about it! I’ll have to go dig those out of your archives. I could use some good tools in my arsenal.

      I feel like we’ve been powering through for awhile now, and DO have good times, don’t get me wrong, but more often than not I don’t feel like we are on the same team, and that’s definitely a huge part of the problem. Personality-wise we are both very different as well when it comes to what fills our cups – time at home vs. time out and about… and that’s our biggest struggle right now I think.

      I like your rules. I’m definitely guilty of #1, we both have done #2, and he’s guilty of #3 and it breaks my heart every time and then makes me even madder. Hm… lots to think about.

      1. Just so you know, we are ALWAYS just powering through. There are definite ups that last longer than they used to, but there are definite downs as well. This past Saturday was a down. Two nights ago, like I texted you, was a down. Sunday was an up as has been most of this week. It changes daily. I don’t think it will stabilize until Bryson is 4 or 5.

      2. This part about not being on the same team rings true for me too. We’re in a good spot, albeit extremely stressed with the house, but just last weekend I told N that I don’t feel like we’re on the same team. In fact it often feels like I’m on Team Family and he’s on Team N. Which isn’t at all true, it’s just that the things he does for the good of the family (work like a dog) sort of clash with what I want (spend quality time together).

    2. Interesting rules! #3 is absolutely forbidden in our house. Don’t say it unless you mean it. But we both definitely do #1, and I’m bad about #2. I really need to work on that.

  5. sangela71 · · Reply

    I’m sorry to hear that you and your husband are going through a difficult time, but I think you are right: most marriages go through this.

    My husband and I were fine through over the early years of our marriage, which included three years of infertility and treatments. But as our twin sons approached their first birthday, things started to deteriorate between us and got worse before they got better. Shortly after their second birthday, we went to marriage counseling for several sessions. I was skeptical, but it really helped.

    Things are OK now. Not nearly as good as they were pre-kids, but I don’t think either of us has regular thoughts of divorce now (as at least I did before we went to counseling).

    1. Little kids are freakin TOUGH on marriage for sure. Glad you’re doing better.

  6. Yes, I think most, if not all, marriages have their ups and downs. I feel like I am still recovering from the bomb JJ dropped on me about nine months ago, but the one thing we learned through that is take one day at a time. We talk all the time about how we need to carve out more time for each other and date nights but we rarely act on it. Money is a big part of that, but I do think it’s important to spend time without kids when possible. An overnight without kids sounds amazing! We have yet to do that since Chloe has been in our lives!

    1. NEVER?! Get on it, girl! <3

      1. Ha, people are pretty surprised when they hear that. We’ve talked to both our sitter and my best girlfriend in the last few weeks and both are on board staying with the kids over night so hopefully it will actually happen sooner rather than later!

  7. Sorry to hear you are in a rough place. Me and the hubby are doing “OK” through are years of struggling with infertility I think it actually brought us closer and we were in a really good place. When we had our twin girls things kind of turned upside down.

    I think we had this vision of what having children would be like and when it finally happened it was about as far as what we imagined as possible. Our girls were born extremely premature and have some special needs that required me to leave my job (never in the plans) and it was/is really tough emotionally and financially. I’m not sure we are ever not tired and I know we both suffer with not being appreciated for all that we do. The truth is we both do a lot but, most of the time we are to exhausted to express how thankfully we are for one another so, that’s been our goal this year. Our girls are almost 4 and doing really well they still require some special care but not nearly what was needed early on. I’m so thankfully we pushed through a really rough patch because it wasn’t looking good for a while. It’s nice to know we are not alone in our struggles.

    1. Yeah, I think it’s shocking for a lot of people from the ALI community (ourselves included) when they realize how freakin’ TOUGH parenting is a lot of the time. *sigh* I’m glad you were able to push through your rough patch.

  8. Shannon C. · · Reply

    No matter what the circumstances, fight for your marriage. I think one of the most beautiful things to see is a couple that works through whatever the issue may be and comes out on the other side stronger than ever. Forgiving. Trusting. Loving. When I have been in a difficult time in my marriage, I have held tight to these verses. When you really think about the words, it gives so much perspective and guidance:
    1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

    Thinking about you, Josey, and praying that you and your husband can come together and remember all the wonderful things about each other that brought you together in the first place.

  9. Awww Jos I was hoping things were on the up. I look at you and Charlie and think you have a wonderful marriage – probably just needs to be a bit more flex in some areas. As you know I’m married to Australian C so I totally understand your frustrations. I think you’ll work through this. Some incredibly big things have happened over the last few years and it’s understandable that it will take some time before balance is 100% restored. In the mean time FB any time of the day or night and i am there for a chat xxx

    1. Hahaha, Australian C. SO TRUE. Thanks for always checking in on FB.

  10. I don’t know if this is true for you all or not, but most of the time when we have the fight I come out of thinking “ah, this is how people who love each other get divorced” it is late winter. Probably we’ve had that same sort of fight in this very week (including last night) more than 4 of the 12 years we’ve been together. So I try to stay mindful that this is a nearly annual winter funk for us. We do our best when we touch more (i.e. sit next to each other on the couch), both get our jobs around the house done, and when we can take some time to play together (any sort of game). We also struggle when responsibilities have changed until we get used to it or if one of us is in a phase of personal growth and the other isn’t working similarly to grow. It helps when we both recognize marriage is work and we need to work at it together and separately. Good luck weathering this storm.

    1. Oooh…this is a good reminder for sure. February is definitely the toughest time of the year for us as well. INteresting.

  11. I’m divorced as you know, and it was awful to go through. He and I never made time for each other, we both were at fault and we both grew farther and farther apart instead of deciding to communicate ever. There were lots of other problems but that was the big one… no time together and no communication.

    Now with Craig, he and I have a 180 opposite relationship! I know we aren’t married yet and we having only been dating a year so maybe I’m not qualified to post on this, but one of the things we do together is pray together every morning and every night. I say the morning prayer, he says the night one.
    1. it helps us connect
    2. we often both say things/pray for things that are on our mind that we didn’t realize was on the other’s mind and it sparks good conversation
    3. our faith is the foundation of our relationship and we know that whenever problems arise we can always lean on our faith and pray together

    We did a pre marriage book together and one of the things it said was that couples who pray together stay together.. it’s like 1 in 10,000 couples who pray together get divorced.. so almost none.

    I know we will continue doing that every day for the rest of our lives!
    Hope things get better with you guys asap!!!!

    1. Thanks little sis! <3

  12. Thanks for keeping it real as always, and another voice here to say I always admire what you report about how much you and Charlie put an effort into your relationship. I know you can get through this and you will have lessons to share. Hugs.

  13. Funny, I asked my husband how he thought we were doing lately and he thought fine. But I feel disconnected in some way. Day to day caring for kids, emotional energy going to my problems, work transition….it’s all sucking my energy away from him. I guess we’re in a down period right now too. But, I know that it’s temporary and we just need to make effort to do things without kids to get some connection.

    Good luck to you guys. Parenting 2 is an amazing time suck! Great, and difficult at the same time.

  14. I think all marriages go through tough times. Ours certainly has, specifically both when N finished his student visa in the States and started looking for work and when we moved back here and I was waiting on my papers to work. Clearly our big stressors are when one of us feels like he/she isn’t contributing as much and then feels useless, etc. We fight and then try to work it out. N is incredibly good at apologizing and meaning it and then letting go. I have an incredibly hard time apologizing at all, even insincerely, and once I manage to get over my pride and do it, I then still hang onto things forever. So… I’m working on that.

  15. Erin Smith · · Reply

    Boy oh boy are we having a rough spot lately. And, honestly, I’ve wondered several times if this marriage is going to make it…and if I want it to. It’s hard. And it scares me to have those/these thoughts. On one hand, I can’t imagine being divorced – and on the other it seems like a relief. I don’t know. I WANT it to work (most the time) but I’m just not sure it will…

    1. Yep. This. I feel the exact same way. I’m sorry you’re in the same spot. <3

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