Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Marriage vs. Motherhood

{a look back in time}
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 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 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. My husband 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.


  1. what a great thought provoking post.
    I agree completely...and it just goes to show how many women don't put their husbands before their children...hence it's so easy to let go of a marriage.
    Children come along and all of the sudden our priorities are different.
    Oh....i could go on and on here ....

  2. I love this post and I have discussed this very question with friends quite often.

    To me, motherhood is much harder then marriage- MUCH.

    Thank for sharing this!

  3. Wonderful post, honest, thoughtful and real. Your words are a representation of what many of us feel and are too afraid to say out loud. Thanks for keepin' it real!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this...something different in blogland. :) I totally understood your jeans analogy. I've talked to friends before about the ebb & flow of marriage...yes, there are always the ebbing times....but it does always flow back! You gotta ride out the ebbs. That's my marriage advice in a nutshell. :) And my thing always is, if we really do love our kids "that" much (and yes, we do) then let's get our act together and give them parents who love and respect one another...parents who are a team and have fun together!

  5. Love what you had to say about this topic. I think both are decisions that we have made and they are both trying at times. One can be more trying than another, depending on the day. But you go with the flow and do your best. Anyways, you said it well!

  6. Great post...you know I love posts like this. This week the pool man and I were tested, by an outsider who wanted the pool man to turn his back on me for something that was misconstrued...he didn't, not for one second doubt me, get mad at me or think to himself I can just leave, being that we are married. Nope we talked about it, we are very honest with one another, probably too much, and what we did do, we worked even harder at loving one another and being good parents. So yes there are trying times in any relationship but to make it work you have to put your all into it...and to make it work with kids you have to be on the same page and work as a team....parenting can be harder then marriage to me because I am making choices that affect his little life every day..and I just hope I am making the right choices, love you, the flea is coming soon and I can't wait to throw my arms around your neck!

  7. Wow, that's a lot to think about but you made perfect sense. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I could just hug you for this post. the jeans were perfect... you explained it perfectly. For me marriage has always felt so right... even when we don't see eye to eye we re-adjust, figure it out, see where we misunderstood each other... it's so funny but last night i told my husband our atmosphere was off... we were both miscommunicating... he laughed so hard at that comment it took the weight of our discussion to a relaxed level and then we were able to begin again. Parenting is very complex... i could go on and on about that...
    thank you for sharing your thoughts...

  9. Wow this was a beautiful well written blog. It got me thinking and you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for bringing things into prespective!

  10. Beautiful post! So true. We can never be good parents if we are not first and foremost strong together. We talk about everything. I think that has helped us. He is my best friend. I am completely safe with him. I would chose him all over again and I know he feels the same.

  11. just found your blog...love your heart..love your truth telling. marriage is sacred...it's a covenant. it's work like any relationship should be...but it's the only relationship in my life that resembles my personal walk with Jesus. There is no one on earth...not even our 3 children...that know me as deeply and as honestly as my husband. and to be known deeply and honestly and still be loved is a gift from God.

  12. what a beautiful post! i loved reading this..i agree with so much of you what you were saying! motherhood is this biggest blessing and the biggest challenge that I've ever experienced! your honesty is very refreshing. i'm your newest follower!

  13. I totally get your jeans analogy! While I don't consider walking away from my marriage an option. period. It is hard at times. - It is work, but it's worth it and it's GOOD.

    Sometimes I have to remember that God gifted me with my husband for many reasons, even if it's to refine me and my character through him at times.

    Marriage reveals a lot yourSELF, that's for sure - but I think children reveal a lot about your marriage.

    Thanks for sharing - I left you an award on my blog this weekend. ;)

  14. Refreshingly beautiful post. I love what you wrote about being "alert enough not to put your son before your husband." I have never thought of it that way, but you are totally right. I am learning so much from you and I am so grateful for your wisdom!

  15. where the heck have I been? How did I go almost a week and not see this post?! I'm so glad I did - because I think last week, I would have had a totally different answer.......

    LOVED your jeans analogy. It was perfect....marriage is a choice! It is a choice to give beyond your effort level SO THAT your spouse will know they are loved. It is an every-minute choice to be present.

    Parenthood, to me, is a different ballpark. There is the added 'moulding' that is our responsibility. If we confuse the two and try and mould our spouse, we are putting our energy in the wrong direction.

    It is an amazing gift. Marriage, being a parent. If we treat it like we do treat our prized Christmas present, or fine china...then we will only have rewards to reap!

    fab post!