Learning to Love Myself Within My Marriage

Some days, I really just don’t feel like myself. I can feel like a part of me was lost when I got married, because suddenly ME time became WE time. We do everything together. I hear that’s alright, because we are in that newlywed phase of life, and while I secretly hope this phase never ends (I don’t wanna hang out with anybody else!), I have not figured out the balance between WE time and ME time that keeps me happy, fulfilled, and focused, while continuing to give to my marriage in a fruitful way.

It’s been especially hard in this season, literally summer, because my husband, Cody, has summers off, and spends much of his time alone in our apartment. There are days that I come home and I am the only interaction he has with outside life, and I love being the only person to share his day with him. He makes dinner often, keeps our apartment *super* clean, and is always ready to hear about my day. But sometimes, I come home and plop on the bed for 15 minutes of solitude.

I’m getting better at asking for what I need, but it still gets hard.

Sometimes, I feel the need to say, “I really cannot be with you right now,” not because I don’t love him, but because I haven’t spent enough time loving myself.

I have anxiety. Often times, it’s anxiety over stupid things, like what we are going to eat when we go visit his parents, or if there are going to be new people at our small group. Cody responds with a gentle, “Don’t have anxiety” and a positive, “It’ll be alright!” Neither comfort me to the core of my being, where the unknown literally stops my ability from seeing beyond the negative things that could happen.

I have walls. There. I said it.

Before we were married, my walls were castle-sized, creating a giant barrier between me and anyone who might want to get close to me. There were many nights that I let my anxiety consume me, fearing that everyone in my life would leave me, abandoned and unloved. I know where the doubts come from, my demons still haunting me, but my walls have gotten smaller. I thought marriage would cure me of these doubts and anxieties. I thought Cody could cure me, because he is the one person who has never left my side, no matter how much crap I throw at him (trust me, sometimes it is a lot of crap).

My marriage has started to heal me from the inside of my heart out. I needed to be loved so intimately by someone on Earth that nothing I say or do will make him leave. And in the face of all of my brokenness and painful imperfections, I look into the two sweetest eyes, which brim with compassion and love.

“God didn’t bring us together just for [Cody’s] strong arms to hold me when I was dark.”
– Sara Hagerty

I have been called out of my darkness many times by God who reminds me constantly that when I am obedient, I grow, heal, and learn more than when I take the wheel. However, the darkness creeps back in, usually when I am “losing control,” and my monsters come out of the closet, and sometimes I don’t recognize the sound of my own voice or the words crashing out of my mouth. I am still learning.

I am learning when to say I have had enough before the roars.

I am learning when to pick up my book & close the door, settling in for maybe twenty minutes of quiet time just for me.

I am learning when to open my heart & arms to a man in this world who only wants the best for me.

I am learning to grab life by the horns & take advantage of the days I have been given with the best partner by my side.

And I am learning when I need to be more for him. And Him.

“God comes in the mundane and shifts us, slightly and subtly. Suddenly and slowly, it is following Him in the unseen that feels most normal.”
– Sara Hagerty

If you are a praying person, please pray for me. Pray that I will continue to seek light, to choose to shine, to come out of the shadows and into a place where the healing can continue. Pray that when I take steps backwards or off-course that I am redirected and the lamp on my path is well-lit. Pray that my marriage breaks my heart wide open. Pray that I am able to see the more, the life beyond the walls I have built around myself to keep anything, good or bad, from getting in.

Amen.

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