Marriage is about Unraveling {Guest Post}

I know you will find joy in reading today’s post! My friend Ashley is kind enough to share a little about what she’s learned about the delicate art of patching up the rough times in marriage. May you be encouraged! I also highly recommend you check out her blog, Little Pieces of Ordinary.

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My husband and I welcomed our third baby in five years this last October. We’ll be married seven years in July and we have a four year old, a three year old, and now a five month old baby.  Marriage, it has seasons and rhythms like tides and my Tim and I, we’re finally learning how to keep our footing in these wild waves of baby’s first year.

Right after Isaac, our youngest, was born, we’d meet each other coming and going and find ourselves splitting to make it all happen, him with two, me with baby or vice versa. And we didn’t sit down and talk with each other but rather talked at each other on our way out the door.

Could you bring the sippy cups?
We need to pack an extra pull-up.

Will you feed Isaac his rice cereal?
Abby wants to read a book.
Isaac needs a bottle.
Did you start the dishwasher?

Which kid do you want to put to bed?
Did you visit ________?
Did you remember Abby has ballet tonight?
We need toilet paper soon.
Could you stop by the store for…”
And on and on.  This is our life right now.
We’ve been pretty good at scheduling dates up until Isaac was born. But a nursing baby makes dating difficult, and sometimes it’s just easier to drift on the outgoing tide.

Until we find ourselves fighting in the bedroom late on a Thursday night. And I look at him and I want him desperately to tell me that he’ll be there always, that he’s not giving up, that I’m still precious to him and he still loves me.

But he doesn’t say those things. Instead he looks exasperated.
And he is exasperated because he doesn’t know what I want him to say.
And I don’t want to tell him; I just want him to know what I need to hear.
The sun went down and the moon came up with our anger still kindling.

The next day I texted him:

Me: Do you feel like we are unraveling a little bit?

Tim: Yes. But … Don’t freak out about that. Marriage is a constant process of unraveling and binding up.

I knew he was right. It’s not a shock to unravel. Marriage is hard and our hearts will drift away on the tides of life without efforts to anchor them in the storms.  The question is not “Will we ever unravel?” but “What will we do after?”

Touch can be love in action to physically declare your intentions to never let go of that man. Long hug at the bathroom door, arm around his shoulder during church, head and back rubs, holding hands in the car are all ways to stitch up those necessary splits when there are more needs than time to nurture togetherness.

Date nights are a vital way to remind each other: this is the beginning.  In the beginning it was only us and we hold it all together. Our kids, the branches of our little family tree, but we are the trunk and if we let the wind blow us, rock the cradle of our union, they fall too.

There will be seasons when marriage is mediocre.  On one hand, we acknowledge it: marriage is the unraveling and the binding back up. On the other hand, we refuse to allow the unraveling to continue through passivity.  We choose to bind back together, no matter what it takes.

A believer and a dreamer. A pastor’s wife and a mama to three. A little creative and a little messy. Imperfection guaranteed. By the grace of God, I am who I am and His grace to me has not been without effect. Ashley blogs over at Little Pieces of Ordinary. A place where she shares how God reveals His grace to her through the everyday occurrences of life.


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5 thoughts on “Marriage is about Unraveling {Guest Post}

  1. Sarah

    I can 110% relate to the unraveling. Marriage is hard…period. But add three kids to the mix and many days it seems simply impossible. I always, always forget that I was “wife” first…before I was “mom.” God has blessed my husband with much patience when it comes to me and I am so very thankful for that. He may not like that the mom switch is always stuck in the on positions, but he is able to accept that it is just the season we are in at this time in our marriage.

    1. Ashley H.

      Yes Sarah, I am constantly reminding myself to intentionally find the woman under the mommy, and it’s hard. But when I make the effort for my husband, I know he’s more than worth it. He’s very patient with me, too. We are blessed!

  2. Audra

    Ashley, this is wonderfully written and something I’ve come to learn after 7 years of marriage as well. It no longer rocks my world when we are unraveling. I can rest a bit in knowing that this is part of life, part of marriage, part of the unraveling of ourselves so that can better become the three-stranded cord. But there *is* a fine line between the freedom from the newly-married, “Oh, no, I don’t feel as close, are we going to make it?!?” feelings and the apathy of which you wrote. I’m thinking that maybe the maturity in a marriage begins to show when we can become less erratic in our feelings and more intentional in our actions. Those pleading prayers, asking the Lord to help us to love the BEST when we feel that love the least. I’m definitely not there yet, but He’s teaching me gently, and I pray I never stop learning. Thank you so much for your thoughts – it’s so encouraging to hear your honesty and your hope!

    1. Ashley H.

      Thank you Audra. And I agree. I think that with the intentional actions you mentioned, the feelings will naturally follow.
      I realized up on reflection that I didn’t include a traditional happy ending on this post, but of course, things are much better now. I think the happy ending began at the altar, not with the vow, but rather with the deep understanding that this really is a forever-convenant. Because of that, we will see this through to the happy ending, no matter what kind of rocky course occurs in between. 🙂

  3. Jana @GraceForMyMess

    Your post was such a blessing today, Ashley. You’re so right: before you know it, you’re talking AT each other instead of TO each other, especially when you add baby #3 to the mix and you’re outnumbered! “Marriage is a constant process of unraveling and binding up.” Yes, and amen! Thank you for sharing your heart and commitment with us. This was beautiful.


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