Friday, August 7, 2009

Marriage or Motherhood?

I stumbled across a blog the other day that has had me thinking ever since. The entry was centered around the question, "Is being a wife or a mother harder?" The writer expressed her opinion that marriage was harder. She exposed her truth and it saddened me as she expressed that marriage is something she feels she can walk away from a while children are not a being that you can divorce.

I have been reeling in the brief moments of silence I have over her answer and over what my answer would be. My answer goes something like this...

Marriage is work. There are days that it is easier to wear than others. Marriage can feel like the confidence of wearing a new shirt or it can resemble a freshly washed pair of jeans that one can't squeeze themselves into some days. On the "tight jeans" days thought it just means I have to work a little bit harder--I have to stretch the pants out until they loosen a little, make them fit the way they did before putting them through the washer. At the end of the day though, when I've put in the work to wear them in again though, they feel good, comfortable, and irreplaceable. In the grand scheme of things, a good pair of jeans is just as good as a brand new shirt.

I realize I am comparing the most sacred union between man and woman to clothes but I can't quite find another way to say what I am feeling. If marriage were easy, we wouldn't see so much failure. If marriage were easy, counselors would be out of jobs. If marriage were easy, making light of the disagreement the night before with your friends wouldn't be as funny.

For me- marriage is easier than motherhood if we're creating the notion that these two roles are jobs.

I ultimately chose to be married. Christan dropped down to one knee and held out a diamond ring and asked me, "Will you marry me?" and I said "Yes." I said yes to the days we'd look at each other with the eyes of new lovers and to the days where we'd wonder if our emotional bank account would make it. I say yes to him and to us every single day. In marriage, I have a partner and a friend who tackles the have-to's with me. I have a friend who knows me better than I do. I have a friend who holds my hand when we are walking freely from worldly stresses and when the going gets tough. In marriage I have a true love and an eternal friend.

In motherhood, I have a being who is in constant need of me. Sometimes the sheer weight of motherhood feels like it could break me. The voices of women who have all of the answers, the lives of women who have different arrangements, the pressures to prepare and to be everything at every moment. I can hold my son and be both in awe and exhaustion simultaneously. If anything, motherhood makes marriage harder. Now I have two people who need me with one significant difference: one is independent the other is entirely dependent. Mothering within marriage calls for an extra cup of alertness--to be alert enough that I don't put my child above my husband for according to what I believe, it is God first, Husband second, and Son third (however, that priority list often gets skewed.) It's easy though to forget the independent person in my life and focus on the dependent one who cries or giggles with all that he is at any given moment.

In the end, I realize that any one could look at me and tell me what I'm doing wrong or how I need to be more grateful but what they don't know is how grateful I am. I am grateful beyond words for the life I have, for all that I have been given and do not deserve. In my humanity, however, I struggle. I struggle with who I am, who I am not, and who I want to be. Motherhood and marriage are amazing blessings and like anything in life, they have their trying moments.

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