Friday, July 18, 2008

Three Years

*While I was on hiatus, I received an anonymous comment asking where the annual anniversary post was. I need no further invitation to take an opportunity to gush about my incredible husband :) So here it is, a couple of weeks belated.*

I was, I'm sure, not unique among new brides when I stood at the altar unable to fathom how I could love that man more than I did that day. But here we are three years later--and I do indeed love him more today.

When people talk of childbirth, they often describe falling in love with a new person. That was my experience...though not like you might expect. I fell in love with a new father. I never imagined that having Steve's child would make me love him so much more deeply. Of course I've always had confidence that he would make a great dad (isn't that usually part of what attracts us to the men we love?). But picturing it is one thing; seeing it surpass your expectations is quite another.

I've often felt that parenting has brought out the worst in me. But it has certainly brought out the best in my husband. (And I've only had one baby to take care of--he had two.) From the first moments in the hospital, when he changed every one of the tar-poop diapers and gave his hormonal, hysterical wife a backrub, Steve rose to the occasion of fatherhood. I lost count of the number of times in those early weeks that I was stunned to tears by the way he took care of not only his infant son, but also his fragile wife. Of course, I cried at a lot of things back then...but still. If I could describe that early postpartum period in one word, it would be "overwhelming"--but part of what overwhelmed me was my husband's tenderness and strength and my growing love for him.

This third year of our marriage has been a trying one. Elijah is a precious gift, to be sure, but the adjustment to motherhood has been very rough for me--and, as a result, very rough on Steve. Yet his patient love has not wavered. Over the last twelve months, he has lived out Paul's exhortation to husbands: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." His love has been selfless and sacrificial; he has loved me when I have been completely unlovable. He has shouldered my burdens and steadfastly held on to hope when I have felt hopeless.

And so it is that thanks mostly to him, our relationship is stronger and deeper today than it was on that beautiful July day in 2005. I can only pray that sometime down the road, when he is low and struggling, I will be able to uphold and encourage him as he has done so faithfully for me this year.

Happy anniversary, Steve. Here's to many, many more.

(And...a huge THANK YOU to his parents, who watched Elijah while we went out for dinner, and my parents, who then cared for the little guy so Steve and I could get away overnight by ourselves for the first time! What a wonderful anniversary celebration.)


Anonymous said...

Hi, me again!:-)I don't have kids yet..i am not even married..i am not even in a relationship leading to marriage..neither do i have get the idea:-)However, i do hold onto the desire of being a wife and mother one day-with open hands,by God's grace.I was struck by how you said motherhood was a rough change-in as much as you love it and all. What do you wish you knew before?What do you think are good ways to prepare, in addition to baby-sitting other friends kids?

Anonymous said...

"I fell in love with a new father."

I know the feeling. I also, always knew Josh would make a great father, but wasn't prepared for how much more I'd love him because of it. It's a sweet transformation to watch.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!

That is a beautiful post. Watching our husbands care for our children is a beautiful and unique thing. There are still times when Nathaniel will be playing around with the kids, and I will get tears in my eyes because I see how much he loves our children and how much they love him back.

Someone, a married person with kids, once told me that "nothing is sexier than a good father." :)

Anonymous said...

This post made me tear up. I can SO relate to what you've said. If it weren't for my husband, I don't know if we'd have had more than two kids. I was so whacked after our second, and immobile after our fourth. I still remember the way my husband proposed marriage: "Will you be my wife and the mother of my children?" He named our daughter before he ever met me, that's how much fatherhood meant to him. To what Michelle said, I would agree and add, "Nothing's sexier than a father who can cook!"

Amy said...

Beth, thanks for your sweet comments. I'll have to think about your questions--maybe topics for a future post. I'm sure there are good ways you can prepare and things I wish I would have known. But in another sense, I don't think you can prepare. Being the mom is so different from caring for someone else's little ones...I think no matter how much I prepared practically or physically, I still wouldn't have been prepared emotionally. Even things I read beforehand about other women's experiences didn't mean much to me until I was there.

Then again, it's not such a struggle for everyone. I have had a hard time...but some women settle beautifully and gracefully into motherhood--so take my experience with a grain of salt and not as the standard :)

Jules said...

Such a great picture of you and Steve!

I love having friends that love their husbands and don't sit around complaining about them. Such a blessing!