|Photo by Maria McNeil Photography|
The week of our Anniversary Joe and I attended a conference called the Art of Marriage at our church. I went into it thinking that we had a pretty good marriage, but sure that there was something we would get out of the conference. There had to be something that we could improve. All I can say is WOW. That conference was an incredible wake up call for me. It has a been a long two years, but I failed to see what an impact that my depression has had on my marriage. I knew that it had affected other relationships in my life. I lost friends, built stronger relationships with friends I already had and have made many new friends because of my depression. How did I never stop to think about how it was impacting my marriage?
Don't get me wrong, my husband is amazing. He has been wonderful and supportive during this whole journey and he still is. I can honestly say I would not be where I am now without him. He is my rock. The revelation that I had was how much my depression has affected our intimacy, and I have been working so hard to stay positive and get through each day that I never stopped to think about it.
Now when I say intimacy people automatically think I mean "in the bedroom". Sure that is part of it, but that is not what true intimacy is about. Joe and I started thinking about the time we spend together and how different it is now than it used to be. Before kids we went out on dates all the time, now it is a rare occurence, mostly due to financial constraints and Joe's crazy work schedule. We either hire a babysitter or we go out...so unless the grandparents are available to babysit, we don't go out. But we used to do other things instead. We used to have game nights, we used to talk more.
The conference made us realize how tired we are...and how hard we have to work just to get through every day. There have been so many days that I have just pushed through to survive until the kids are in bed and then I am done. I have nothing left at that point. There are so many days where Joe is working until well after the kids are in bed. Somewhere along the way, without even realizing it, we forgot to hang out with each other. Our idea of hanging out is eating chocolate chip cookies and sitting in front of the television. An intimate evening is when we watch an episode of Little House on the Prairie instead of just whatever is on tv. I also realized that I spend too much precious time on the computer (mostly Facebook) that I could be spending with him.
So we came to some conclusions, and we are trying....we have a long way to go. I have been struggling with some medication changes really affecting my mood as we are trying to do better. We are trying to turn the TV off a little more often. We are going to bed earlier some nights just so we can talk. We have been planning on reinstituting game night, but that has not happened yet. I am looking forward to more DATES and game nights in the new year, and more time just to be together. I am trying to pull myself away from the computer more, and be more present with my family. This can be difficult on the hard days. I have also done a lot of work to make the main rooms of our house more cozy and inviting. That is a main part of the reason that game nights haven't happened yet. It has been a lot of work.
The most important thing that we vowed to do is pull Christ into the center of our marriage. This has been a bit of a challenge because we simply are not used to it...but that is the one goal that we are working on the hardest right now. We pray together almost every night and morning now. Now that is intimacy. Neither of us have ever really prayed in front of anyone before. So we are trying. We have a strong love for each other and really want to get back what has been missing. So, we are working on removing the obstacles and taking steps to work on things individually that are affecting us as a couple....so if you see me on Facebook a bit less, especially in the evenings....you will know why. I am working on being less selfish....which is hard for me, especially when I am feeling really depressed. I know how lucky I am to have the incredible husband that I have. I really want to work on being the wife that he deserves. It is just one more part of the Journey. I love my Joe.