Don’t Leave Your Husband Behind….

Jennie's Snippets, Love

I have learned a valuable lesson this week. A lesson I never noticed until I started to see some tension or, even, started feeling a bit lonely within my marriage. And then I finally realized why I started to feel this way.

In our first year of marriage I was constantly including my amazing husband, Bruce, in everything that we did. Because we were MARRIED. In our first year of marriage I was making sure we did everything together because that is what marriage is – a bond, a partnership, and an adventure that you do together – we are a team.

But, it started to feel different. It felt more like being roommates rather than partners.

As I started to evaluate our life and how we got to where we are – I noticed that it was all my fault.

I am an obsessive control-freak, and it shouldn’t be put any nicer because it is 100% true. I am a monster when it comes to getting things done, doing it my way, and on my clock.

In the corporate world this is great – being a boss lady and fighting your way up the corporate ladder is a plus! But, in my marriage? No.

Some things have changed that I have taken control over. But, I don’t want to be in control because I miss our bond over the things we once did together.

  • Doing laundry together
  • Watching shows together
  • Playing games together
  • Grocery shopping together
  • Cooking together
  • Dancing silly together

I now do all the grocery shopping and cook all of our meals because I want us to be healthy! I now delegate laundry and chores as to who does what and when because I want a clean house. We watch our own shows rather than watch things together. I order anything and everything that we need for the house as soon as I notice we need it: toothpaste, new door handle, deodorant, laundry detergent, etc.

You can call it a “caring and loving wife” if you want, but that ain’t it for me. That’s a controlling wife. And controlling wives are not fun.

Like, “what in the absolute world am I doing?”

By the end of the day I am so tired that I don’t want to do anything. And you want to know what else I do? (I am so ashamed of myself). I COMPLAIN to MY husband that he might not be doing enough and i’m tired of doing everything.

Like, wait, what? Did she just say that?

I did. Please shake your heads at me. I welcome it.

I took over everything on my own. I do what I see fit within an HOUR if I notice it. I do not consult him before I do anything when it comes to caring for our home. And if he doesn’t do it fast enough, when I ask him to do something, then I do it anyway and then complain about doing it.

For real? You want real marriage talk? Marriage talk that will tell you that a marriage joined by Jesus Christ isn’t perfect? Marriage talk that is raw and not covered up by the “blood of christ” holiness facade? Phew….then let’s talk.

This crap happens. And, I’m ashamed to admit that I am the root cause.

If I don’t acknowledge that i’m the literal problem then how in the world do I recognize that the change should come from me – not him?

Over the last few days I have been constantly thinking, and thinking, and evaluating, “when did this freaking happen and WHY did it happen?”

And, I figured it out.

I brought home my “work mind” and applied to our lives. OUR BLOODY MARRIAGE.

And it started when I began working from home, and it worsened when my dad died.

I couldn’t separate my “work-self” from my “home-self” because my job was IN MY OWN HOME. #Thanks2020

I started my day at work – which is only, like, 10 feet from the bedroom. I wouldn’t emerge from the office until 6pm or later depending on what I needed to get done. Sometimes, I would even work in the kitchen, in the living room, and in the BEDROOM.

My mind, literally, couldn’t separate itself from my own personal life and my work life, and I already struggled with the work-life balance thing. Now, I had zero work-life balance.

Then, when my dad died, all of these fears started bubbling up from within and tearing my mental health a part.

  • What if my marriage fails?
  • What if Bruce takes on the habits of my dad and drinks alcohol heavily?

I mean, my parents struggled HARD and were separated earlier this year before my dad died. Watching them interact, while growing up, has developed these tendencies within me to question the life I lead, and, literally, fear a miserable marriage. Like, what if that becomes us? Or what if we become alcoholics? These are fears that sit in the bottom of my stomach. And they NEVER leave my mind. These are constant battering fears that flood my mental space almost daily since my dad died, and because of that, my need for control grew much much worse.

Not only did I control our house, but I also tried to control Bruce as a person. I would be like, “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t drink at all. Maybe you should eat this way. Maybe you shouldn’t do this or that and BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

To be frank, like I’ve been so far, so much of this comes from this inner fear of everything falling apart, and that the falling apart is all my fault. And now look at where it got me.

My need to be the glue, to be the controlling element that made it feel like it was all together actually created the space between the foundation and frame that held it together. (PS: Don’t worry about me, or Bruce, or us. Bruce and I are great communicators. He let me figure this out on my own, and allowed me to fall so that I could see it for myself – and write a blog post about it because that is how I process, haha. I really do have the best partner in life that I could have ever asked or dreamed for <3).

This year has been hard. For all of us. It has challenged us in so many new ways. Especially me.

And, as we close out this year, I hope we can all reflect and make necessary changes to remain healthy and happy with ourselves and with each other.

2020 isn’t a year that we should forget even though all of us want to. It’s a year of serious growth. We should take it and glean from it.

For me? I’m cutting back from working at home. It’s time that I set boundaries with my work and my personal life. Time for me to be patient. Time for me to include Bruce. Time for me to embrace activities that he loves. Time for me to let go and relax, because I love Bruce more than my own need to control everything.

I need to breathe. Let go, and experience life as it hits us rather than predict the future and control its outcome. I also need to ensure that I’m not rushing ahead and leaving Bruce behind me. This is not about me, me, and I, and doing it all solo. Marriage is about partnership.

Love,

Jennie Laureen

PS: I hope you loved this article and got a lot out of it. It’s definitely raw for me, but I always invite my readers to experience my ups and downs alongside me. There isn’t a perfect person in the entire world, and I’m willing to admit to all of my flaws out in the open. Too often we find ourselves comparing our lives to the picture-perfect scenarios displayed across our screens on social media. However, for me and my life, you will not find that. That is what Jennie Laureen is all about.

Sneak Peek: I’ve been working on moving all of my content to a brand new platform, and renaming my site from Jennie Laureen to Ownesty. I once used Ownesty as my business account for marketing and branding; however, in this new season, I have a better use for it. A permanent place to house my written content.

Ownesty means, “Owning My Honesty.”

Can’t wait to launch in 2021, and hopefully you join me on the ride of owning your own honesty too.

Love you all dearly! ‚̧

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Learn to say “i’m sorry” in your marriage.

Jennie's Snippets, Love

I can be a bit of a prideful person.

Admitting that I am wrong is something I rarely do, and something that I clearly need to work on. I’ve always been the person in my family to argue over the fact that “I am correct” ever since I was small.

If you asked my mom today, she would tell you that I was known to always get the last word. I wanted to feel triumphant because I won the battle. I wanted to speak the last few utterances to prove that I was the ultimate winner.

But man…..what a waste of energy.

If I was arguing with my family I would let an argument continue for hours after it started because I STILL did not get the last word. My whole day would be spent feeling frustrated, getting angrier, and losing patience.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The worst part of it all was that these days almost always coincided with an adventure: swimming at the lake, going to the park, going shopping, etc.

These days were supposed to be fun! Instead, I can only remember arguing.

For example, one time my little sister, Kellie, got on my nerves so much while we were visiting a theme park (Kings Dominion) that I “half-way” punched her in the face. It wasn’t hard. I swung very slowly and tapped her face with my fist. I did that because she wouldn’t be quiet – she wanted to make sure that I didn’t get the last word, and so I tried to shut her up so I could.

I was 12.

How ridiculous I feel telling that story.

It’s a funny memory now because I was a kid who couldn’t control her temper, but I also know that I missed out on the memories I could’ve made if I wasn’t so busy “keeping my pride.”

I mean….what’s pride if you make a fool of yourself, no longer have fun, and miss the opportunity to create memories?

It’s stupid.

Sticking up for your pride is not worth it if all you do is destroy the relationships in front of you.

The same rule applies in marriage. We have to let our pride go.

Being married to someone means you know your spouse in an intimate way. You know their successes, and their downfalls. You know their quirks, and their habits. You know how to love, and how to hate. We even know how to hurt them in an argument.

And what a shame it would be to do that.

We argue because sometimes we are baffled that our spouse thinks we are wrong and say “I can’t believe you aren’t on my side on this – you’re my husband/wife – you’re supposed to be on my side.”

But, it’s not about choosing sides. It’s about growing. At times, my husband will tell me things that I can improve on like: cleaning the dishes, or remembering to switch the laundry from the washer to dryer (which I forget often). He isn’t trying to be mean – he’s trying to make me better. But, my ears can fall short.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

I don’t want to hear it, and my response can be…well….bad. Sometimes, I can respond so bad to correction, or an opinion not similar to mine, that I can get kind of mean. Maybe not in a blunt way, but I don’t act super nice.

Because of how I respond I slowly destroy everything I have built with my husband. I react, rather than wait in patience for the right words to say.

Why am I destroying what I love? Because I care that my pride might be hurt?

Am I married to my pride? No.

I’m married to Bruce.

We all get into arguments. It’s inevitable. Arguing is a part of marriage. The difference between a healthy marriage, and an unhealthy marriage, is how you handle these arguments.

I refuse to go to bed angry. I will muster up all the courage that I have so that I can apologize to my husband for anything I have said or done in an argument EVEN IF I think i’m right.

Because, at the end of the day, it’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about choosing who we love most over our own self.

My pride does not matter if I have hurt Bruce. I vowed to love this man with all that I had until the day I died. And, I will.

Regardless of my stance in an argument I will come to my husband and say “i’m sorry.” I will apologize for anything I have said or done, and mean it.

It’s not a ritual. I can’t just say “i’m sorry” and let the day keep going. That doesn’t have meaning. I have to admit that I am wrong, point out why I was wrong, and show him how much I love him when I say “i’m sorry.”

It can be awkward to swallow our pride and apologize, but it’s always worth it in the end.

Choosing our spouse over ourselves will always prove rewarding.

It will deepen your relationship with one another, and build a foundation of trust that cannot be broken. Over time, you will learn to see eye-to-eye and understand the why behind actions, and work through every obstacle you face together.

And that all steams from coming forward, losing your pride, and saying “i’m sorry.”

Love,

Jennie Laureen

In Marriage – Don’t Build a Fence Over the Small Things.

Love

Being married is one of the best things I have ever committed to. It’s also one of the hardest things I have ever committed to, and I truly mean that.

I dated my handsome hubby for 9 years before we tied the knot. We had so many necessary conversations to prepare us for marriage like: setting boundaries, financial discussions, raising-a-family, etc.

We were ready (and all those talks paid off, phew)! But, there was one thing no married couple could truly explain to us until we experienced it ourselves.

Loving someone so much, but also being so irritated at them all at the same time.

I love my husband, and I will love him until I take my last breath.

I will fight for my husband, and do my best to honor him in all the ways that I can.

I am fiercely committed to our relationship!

But.

But.

But.

I was not prepared for the internal fences I would easily put up after 6 to 7 months of marriage.

You see…he has a really bad habit of leaving his hats around the house. (And I have a super bad habit about leaving my cups around the house – ever since I was a kid – so I am no saint).

Exhibit A.

Some days, when I get home after a long day of work and I see a hat lying randomly in the living room, I come undone (it’s okay to call me insane).

Sometimes I have to take a breather because I will let that one little thing eat at me. Then, when I see my husband, I let that irritation build into a pile of frustration because I point out other things: the dishes in the sink, the clothes on the bedroom floor, or the blankets that aren’t folded.

I would get so worked up. In my head i’m like “I can’t believe that he can’t just pick up his hats – I mean…they are hats….just put them away!

But.

But.

But.

After some much needed self-reflection, I realized that I really am being ridiculous. Why am I forgetting all the beautiful and wonderful things about my husband that make him who he is over some hats – HATS!!!

Why am I getting so worked up, and amounting everything I know about my husband, over his inability to put away a hat.

My husband is so much more than someone “who can’t put away a hat.”

He is literally my prince in shining armor who loves me unconditionally!

  1. One time, I had a super bad tummy ache and he got me medicine and a heating pad, and let me rest in the bed until my tummy was better.
  2. Or, the time he brought home flowers that made our house smell and look amazing.
  3. Or, the time he came home and randomly danced with me in the kitchen (that’s my favorite).

There are a million little things that make me fall in love with him more and more each day.

But, if I don’t keep myself in check, then I will eventually only remember those small things that irritate me (that shouldn’t irritate me), and forget all the other small things that make him who he is – the reason I married him.

I also have to remember that I could be a total irritation too. I am not perfect! For instance:

  1. I leave cups all over the house.
  2. I open a can of drink, take a sip, and put it back in the fridge.
  3. I hate cleaning the bath tub (now…he is a saint for taking care of this).
  4. One time, I left a compost bucket outside for 2 months, because I forgot about it, and it smelled like straight butt when it finally got warm. But, Bruce took care of it for me (again, he is the saint in this house!!).

So, you see, we both have things to work on!

I just have to remember that he is more than the little things that irritate me. He is my husband that I have vowed to love and to cherish. I can’t cherish him if I build a wall of irritation over some hats.

I have to talk to him, love him, and continually remember why I choose him before I ever lose focus because of the little things that frustrate me. I also have to remember that I am no where near perfect, and I have things to work on too.

Our marriage is more important to me than a bunch of hats around the house.

Because one day, if something were to ever happen, I would miss picking up each hat every day and taking it upstairs to his side of this closet. ‚̧

Love is about having continual conversations, and developing deeper bonds with one another by looking past the small things that really don’t matter.

Love,

Jennie Laureen

Set boundaries for your family if you want a rewarding relationship with your significant other.

Love

It took me time to realize what was causing me so much stress and strain over the holidays and in general life settings. It wasn’t until I had a startling conversation with my significant other that helped me open my eyes to how much of a hold certain people had in how I made my decisions.

There are people in our lives that mean more to us than life itself. You would give up what was your last, you would love until your last breath, and you would sacrifice yourself to ensure their safety. To me, this represents my family.

We all have some form of family – whether through blood, marriage, real or imaginary adoption. These are your forever people. They will stick around until death parts you. These people deserve attention, love, praise, admiration, etc. They create the make-up of who we ultimately are and eventually become.

I love my family.

But, as I look at the future I want to create and the dream I envision in my head that I want to be a reality, my steps don’t align with the steps my family wants me to take.

My family has molded me, in many ways, to who I am. I also have my friends, my church, and my education that have molded me in other ways that I also give credit to. I am a Robinson, but I am also Jennie. A different person from the rest of my family just like they are all different from myself and each other.

We all have varying ethical standards and models of behavior that we follow based on our personal life experiences. We clash because it doesn’t always align.

This holiday season, the time of year where we spend a significant amount of time with our family, I realized that I have to start setting boundaries to prepare for the future I want to see. I really value creating a sustainable, loving, and fair relationship that communicates and listens to each other. I value this above many things!

My significant other, the amazing Bruce Hayes, is someone I have been with for over 7 years. Yes – I will marry him and I literally can not wait! We have had a million conversations about the marriage we want to create. We have seen the successes and pitfalls of other couples and we know what we want to have and what we want to avoid.

This year, and every year, we have spent the majority of our days with my family: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Years Day.¬† Every holiday is centered on my side of the family. The woman’s side.

My dad has said on a handful of occasions that he doesn’t feel appreciated. Father’s day is not a big day we celebrate, his birthday isn’t made into a grande ordeal, and we hardly make a significant effort about visiting his side of the family even¬†though we love them equally.

 

The point is, I made every effort this year to please my family. Every time they wailed about me not spending time with them I caved and satisfied their needs. Therefore, I spent Christmas Eve, most of Christmas, and I will be spending New Year’s Eve and New Years with them.

One of my sister’s said to me: “You aren’t even engaged. Family should come first.”

Sure…there is a lot of truth to that statement, but what am I creating in our relationship NOW by¬†allowing this?

Marriage doesn’t change how you act as a couple – it’s what you build prior to that, that will determine how your marriage will be.

I never want Bruce to feel like I don’t care about his side of the family. I don’t ever want Bruce to feel insignificant because we don’t celebrate Fathers’ day with as much enthusiasm and excitement as Mother’s day!

Bruce has told me on several occasions that he can’t wait to be a dad, and he wants to be a great one!! I want to take that time to build appreciation into our relationship and care just as much about his wants and needs during the holidays and every other celebration.

I want to build a marriage that is fair and loving. Where we listen to each other’s needs/wants so we can grow together. We will change as people as we age and experience life. I need/want to build a foundation that can support the changes.

I know my family wants me for the entire holiday, and that makes me feel SO good to be loved and wanted. But Bruce’s family wants him there too, and they also want to see me, because we are building a future together.

I need to set boundaries for my family – when to say yes to their wants so I can spend time with them, and when to say no to their wants so that I can meet Bruce’s needs.

What are you building in your relationship now to prepare for the future you two envision?

Love,

Jennie Laureen

 

 

 

Photo by Raphael Mittendorfer on Unsplash