Love and Marriage


Above is the photo that accompanies this month's Rockabye excerpt in Babytalk Magazine, which I first saw several weeks ago and thought, "Whoa! We really love each other don't we?" I mean, come on! You can't fake those loving stares, even if I do look cross-eyed. Cross-eyed with LOVE! Hal and I don't have many photos together (In fact I just searched my photos and the last photo of the two of us I could find was this one, taken last Christmas at a sweater party) so it was kind of nice seeing how happy we look together.

Stating the obvious of course but still, I gotta say it: marriage is tough. Being a wife is FAR more difficult than being a mother. Screw 4am feedings and potty training. That shit be easy compared to keeping one's marriage from going off, grenade style.

Little known fact? Hal and I came *this* close to not being married anymore a great many times during our first two years together. Mind you, we only knew each other for a few months before we wed/became parents but STILL! Marriage is hard no matter the circumstances. Can I get an, AMEN!?

This is our one and only wedding photo, taken at The Little White Chapel, Las Vegas, Jan 22, 2005. I was five months pregnant and Hal and I had known each other for a whopping nine months. P.S. Those plants behind us? They're fake.

I am proud to say that in our case, hard work has absolutely paid off and the last four years of sweat and tears (that rhymed! ) have been well-worth the awesome that is our marriage today.

Which gets me to thinking... perhaps the only way to truly love someone is to hate them first. Not that I ever hated my husband but you know what I mean. We had our downs looooong before we had our ups.

I look at that silly, glossy photo above and think, "Wow. We made it out alive." I also think, "Wow, Hal. You were having a very interesting facial hair day..." But SEE!? I can totally say that because Hal knows that loving someone is calling them out on silly shit which is why I don't mind when Hal tells me to my face that my feet smell and to "please for the love of God, get them the hell away from me, because GROSS, Bec. Gross!"

Anyway, this post is about marriage. MARRIAGE. Because everyone deserves cross-eyed photo spreads with their weirdly bearded spouses and coming *this* close to divorcing only to make it out the other end more in love than ever with stinky feet. I never thought I'd say this because I hate the word "wife" but... I really do love being married.

Which is why I'm so proud and excited that YOU, my wonderful readers, participated in last weekend's "Prop 8 Sucks Ass" rallies. Here are your posts, photos and videos:

Minneapolis, MN
photos c/o Miss Mish on flickr

Orlando, FL
photo set c/o Pacing the Panic Room on flickr
Blog post, here.

New York, NY
photos c/o Julia

San Diego, CA
Blog post c/o Wonderspot

Reno, NV
Blog post c/o Sara McGinness

Los Angeles, CA
video c/o RutCarter

Providence, RI
photo c/o the lovely, Karen

Pasadena, CA
blog post c/o Clueless but Hopeful, here.

Palm Springs, CA
blog post c/o Punk Rock Mom, here
flickr set, here

Chicago, IL
blog post c/o Miss Begail, here
Flickr set, here.

Pretty inspiring, right?

Thank you all so much for sharing. You're beautiful and I'd bet money that your feet don't smell even a little bit.

To marriage, then! To marriage:

2006

2007

2008

GGC

P.S. Thank you, Cafemom for the awesome Rockabye write-up. I bet your feet don't smell, either.

52 comments:

kdiddy | 4:07 AM

my husband and I had been together a whopping four months when I got pregnant (when I was a wee 22!), so I know exactly what you mean. we didn't get married until two years ago, but we've been hardcore together for 8 years now. and I really didn't think we were going to make it there for awhile, especially right after I had our son. I guess it's that normal roughness that couples go through when they're working out their feelings and commitment for each other, but most people don't have a baby stuck in the middle of all fo it, which makes the emotion of the time period that much more psychotic. But I realize more and more now just how happy we are with each other and how crazily, sappily in love we are and I couldn't be prouder. Or hornier. ;-)

Truth Is A Weapon | 5:13 AM

I agree marriage can be very difficult but. If it is the one you love, the one that makes you feel complete and whole and honestly you do not see your life without including theirs, then it is worth any work you put in. No one said it would be a cinch. In the end when you look back, and I have, at the things you and your other fight about in the grand scheme of life and love it is always diminished by the power of the love you have for each other.

nancy | 5:18 AM

Sweater parties? In Los Angeles? Where it was probably 75* the day of the party? I'm looking out my window at snow-covered everything: bushes, leaf piles the city still hasn't collected, the path my daughter has marked walking across the lawn after school...Yes, I'm wearing an actual sweater right this very now. And I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

I've been with my hub for six years now, and by FAR the hardest was the year following the birth of my son. Babies cause turmoil even the tightest marriages might not expect. Perhaps a new Momversation topic--beyond just sex & babies, but marriage & babies? I'd like to hear THAT conversation.

And btw...what's the bug where the female bites off the head of the male after they mate? Praying mantis maybe? There's a little glint of that in your eye in the 2008 pic: Thank you for my children, Hal. Now I'm going to devour you! (Just a glint, though! ;-)

Marie-Ève | 6:21 AM

You look awesome in your wedding picture, and I don't believe for a second that you were five months preggers...

This is fantastic. I so get what you mean. My fiance/babydaddy and I have gotten through so much since we first got together and everything was rosy... I did sometimes feel like I hated him, but never wanted to give up. And it was SO worth it...! I say the puppy love first few months high is great, but nothing beats the "I love you so much despite all the downs that we've had and I think they ever made us stronger and it's so great to rediscover how amazing you are and wow we're a rock-solid happy family" stage we're in now...

Lia | 6:52 AM

I love that you guys are having ups and downs... and that you got married in Vegas. My marriage is the same. Our boy is 17 months and these last 20 months have been a rollercoaster of our marriage being great and then it being so crap that I've seriously considered leaving him.
Anyway in Saturday it's our 4th wedding anniversary and I started looking at our wedding photos from The little Church of the West in Las Vegas and we do look so much in love that I honestly believe there's hope for us making it through.
Thank you for making me feel less alone in the uphill battle of making this family of three happy.

Average Girl In Average World | 6:52 AM

Thats weird, my Aunt and Uncle just got married in August at the same Little White Wedding Chapel!! LOL...

Anywho... you 2 do look in love in that picture. I also agree with you in regards to the "got to hate before you can love" theory. I was always told before you get married, you have to see each other at your worst i.e. Flu, stomach bug, surgery, ect.. to see who the other will react and whether or not you can cope with that. I don't know about you, but I have seen more throw up and changed more dirty sheets from my hubby than my kids so if that is any kind of indicator, we will be married forever!

You have a lovely family!

The Redheaded Lefty | 7:02 AM

Couldn't have said it better myself. I scare my unmarried friends when I tell them that in the year after the first baby (which also came soon for us) you will contemplate leaving him approximately 6,327 times. A day. But it does change, fortunately, for so many of us. Cheers!

Pacing the Panic Room | 7:09 AM

My wife and I started dating on Thanksgiving Day last year and were married a few months later in April and we got pregnant in September. We move fast?! haha

It has been the best experience of my life to be married to my wife and have her little boy in my life, it makes me excited to be alive. So... I loved this post. it always feels good to see other people that have a great relationship, it feels like some secret club or something. You know how so many of your friends just complain about who they are with non-stop, and so on? It feels so good to be on the other side away from that.

Thanks for the link to the Panic Room. You Rule!

bmcisgonnabuyaticketlookout | 7:20 AM

you are hot.
(hal's lookin tasty, too)

Erin, Nick and Merrick | 7:37 AM

I agree- marriage is made up of peaks and valleys- and sometimes it may seem that your permanemt residence is in the valley!
A GREAT movie to watch: "The Story of Us." It is a VERY realstic look into marriage, and is very funny!
Nick and I were married during a hurricane- for real. We had to evacuate the building bc the river was flowing into it- talk about irony ; )
Marriage after baby is TOUGH. We have become very judgemental of eachother- but you deal.

foodiemama | 7:57 AM

We have been together 12 1/2 years and while we are not legally married since neither of us are religious it holds no meaning in our lives and we just flat out don't believe in marriage, we will always always and forever fight for the right for each person to even be able to have the decision to marry or not.

anyway, the ups and the downs. geez, even after being together for 8 yrs before an unplanned pregnancy parenthood was tough and we knew/know each other like we're twins, haha. Hard work is true and seeing it on the other end, still in love and still laughing, thats a relationship always worth working for and an amazing example for kids. i am happy for you guys, oh and that wooden apple pic is pretty awesome!

Anonymous | 8:00 AM

First off I have to say, WHAT is UP with Hal's jacket in the 2007 pic? It reminds me of Michael J Fox in Back to the Future.
Anyways, I got married at 19 have been married for 8 years. The five year mark is very hard, we didn't have kids so you kind of get bored with life and each other. We were about to get divorced in 2004, worked it out and now we have a little girl. Life after baby is hard.
We didn't plan to have kids but we got pregnant and Lilli was born on the anniversary of our first date. So I look at that as a sign of better things to come. I hope.
I am also very judgemental of my husband since having Lilli, while breast feeding I couldn't drink or smoke and he would do it right in front of my face and never feel bad about it. I saw it as unfair, if you are going to raise kids together, you have to go through everything together.

Annika | 8:07 AM

Will and I had been together for nearly seven years when we got married four years ago. Two years into our relationship we broke up. The first two years after Sam was born we nearly imploded. I wonder if there is something about that two year mark, where you either make it or you don't. (Two years after we got married we were in the midst of new baby glow so we were doing all right.)

ImpostorMom | 8:12 AM

I heard this morning on the radio that the CA Supreme Court has decided to rule on the legitimacy of Prop 8. Looks like it ain't over thankfully! Decision to be made in March.

Aunt Baaa | 8:19 AM

You get a big Amen from me! My now husband and I went on our first date on April 8, 2005. I told I was pregnant (nice Catholic gir, huh?) on July 8, 2005! Yikes, talk about your pressure. We got married on July 23, 2005 with those exact same plastic plants behind us. We knew we wanted to get married, but the pregnancy put a little more fire under our butts, so to speak.

During the last three years we have quit our respective jobs, started our own business, had our son, gotten sued by my mother-in-law, and had our daughter.Whew! Makes me tired to read that at this point.

We have had our challenges, heaven knows. Even with all of that, I wouldn't change it. The hard times make us realize new things about each other. As I am sure you know, when got married I did not know everything about him, but I knew the big stuff, the stuff that could really hurt us.

By all means, if someone wants to get married, then they absolutely should be able to do that. Even if they want to stand in front of cheesy plastic plants at a wedding chapel in Vegas. We actually did the drive-thru wedding and then went and had our cheesy photos taken, but you get what I mean.

melanie | 8:37 AM

I disagree. My husband and I married after knowing each other eight months. We have been married nine years. It is the easiest thing I have ever done in the world. A thousand times easier than raising teenagers. That would be he hardest thing I have ever done.

I never understood why people say it is so hard. It makes me wonder if they truly are not with the person they are supposed to be with. Either that or I am one lucky chick.

pamela | 8:49 AM

it's funny cause i always wonder what your relationship is like with hal. you seem so cool, so how on earth could you have problems with him, right? it's sobbering to know that you guys have had your ups and downs. the grass is always greener thing i guess....
mike and i aren't married and like someone said before it doesn't really make a big difference to us anyway. he doesn't think that government should be involved in marriages period.
however, that in no way, shape or form makes being in a relationship with a child any easier. it's fing hard and most days i feel like i have an infant and a teenager. i have high hopes that going through tough times, and we've had our share, will only make things better in the future.
i know he loves me and i know he loves zooey and that's what matters most and keeps me going everyday.
oddly, we too have very few "couple" pictures.

Shawna | 8:55 AM

I TOTALLY hated the man that eventually became my husband when we first met. His first words to me upon being introduced were "You wanna kiss me, dontcha?". Gag. Two years later, I realized that hell, I DID want to kiss him. Maybe he could see into the future?

goodfather | 9:14 AM

'Marriage is hard no matter the circumstances.'

Amen.

Great pics! I've seen The Little White Chapel! Well, from the outside ;).

Dami | 9:39 AM

thank you for this post rebecca! my husband & i are having a hard time right now, but this post gave me a little bit of hope.

you have a beautiful family <3

Jenn | 9:46 AM

marriage takes more work than anyone ever imagines! I was only 17 when I got married, and 5 months pregnant.. this was 11 years ago. Those first 5 years were pure hell at times. But the love and admiration we now have for one another, made it all worth it! You guys are a beautiful family! looks like your hard work was well worth it also!

Binky | 9:50 AM

AMEN!

Anonymous | 9:59 AM

My spouse and I were married a mere 6 1/2 months after we started dating - I was 18 (and only graduated high school 1 month prior) and he was 19. Our daughter was born 4 1/2 months later. We almost divorced around the 3 year mark - but we both decided that it was worth it to try to fix whatever was broken. Having celebrated our 12th anniversary this past July, we look back and wonder what the heck was wrong with us. Things are beyond fabulous and I fall more in love with him daily. Yes there are still days when I want to break his neck, but I am sure he feels the same for me sometimes!!! Life together isn't always roses and candy but life apart from him certainly would suck way worse!

JachiCue | 10:02 AM

I love the way you describe it all. It's true, not loving everything about your spouse right away only makes for love later.

Now it cracks me up when he farts.

Maybe I've just given up? ha.

Christina | 10:19 AM

AMEN to "Marriage is hard no matter the circumstances". My husband & I only new eachother for over a year before getting married because I was pregnant. Now we've been married for almost 5 years (known eachother for 6 yrs) & have 2 kiddos. I will say in the beginning it was HELL. I mean I never ever wanted to hear divorce, but filling out the papers sounded so good at that time. I knew in my heart that we were meant to be but I knew having a little baby & being newly married was very stressful at the time. Now, we have our little up's & down's, but we are able to tell eachother that "you have stinky feet, get away". I wouldn't change a thing because I believe the up's & down's is what has made our marriage so much stronger.

the Real Julie | 10:46 AM

Amen! Great point that raising kids are much easier than raising the husband. If I could just tell my husband, to clean his room, pick his toys, friends...but oh no, instead we need to share and find a healthy balance in marriage. Congratulations!

Drayden and Mom | 11:01 AM

You are so right!!! It's the ups and downs which make you reaffirm your love and build a strong marriage. I also believe in a balance which allows both parents to function as individuals, husband/wife, and parents. My husband is my best friend. We do what is best for our son and our sanity.

Leah | 11:17 AM

I've never heard anyone put it that way, but yeah, I agree that there's something special about a relationship that has survived some VERY HARD times, and even some hate, and come out the other end. Ours is a very different story from yours, and although we're not even married yet (in part because Simon is so pissed off about the anti-gay marriage movement that he's staying legally single as a personal protest (um...okay, Brad Pitt)) I think that a lot of our love and strength comes directly from a history of almost-having-not-made-it.

Rockzee | 12:36 PM

This resonates with me because I have so wanted to write a post about how hard marriage is, but because too many family members read my blog, I haven't. I don't want to worry them. Because yes, marriage is WAY harder than motherhood. It's hard to love someone every day, every year. It's hard to find passion in a life where you are barely sleeping, scraping mashed food out of the carpet, or yelling at someone to pick up all those crayons! I'm amazed any marriages survive the years when the kids are young.

You wanted an Amen.

Amen.

Ms. Single Mama | 1:14 PM

As a single mother who's marriage did not work out (we only knew each other for 3 months before getting hitched)... I completely hear you.

As I always tell the married women who say, "I'm so sorry you're a single mom," - I say - "No, believe me being a single mom (in my eyes) is FAR easier than being married."

Marriage is a FULL-time job until you hit that sweet spot and it sounds like you have.

Big question - will I ever get married again - now, that I will have to see a therapist for because it scares the living shit out me.

But I've actually met someone who is major marriage material, makes it all seem so easy because he's been there and he's a pro at relationships, an awesome listener and communicator.

Take care! Loved your videos too - you're SO damn beautiful. : )

jjlibra | 2:09 PM

holy crap you are good. were you in my head when i got up this morning????? my husband works at night so he wasn't even home and i woke up pissed at him. i just thought about him and the way he is (strict with the kids and always grumpy, not spontanious....) and i was mad at him and mad at me for being with him. i was thinking this is not the way i want to live. and when you live with someone life is a compromise. if he doesn't like company well then we can't have much of that. we got a dog and he makes it seem like it's the hardest thing in the world. everything is an inconvenience to him and me being so optimistic and happy about life all the time, well i just can't stand him!!! so today i was very not happy and reading your post made me feel better. it made me think that maybe one day i won't hate him anymore. because today? i do.

jjlibra | 2:11 PM

and on another subject...have you heard of Ashley Madison???? i was driving to work and heard an add on the radio- on the freakin' RADIO! about this site where you can have a discreet AFFAIR!!! THIS is OKAY but gay marriage is bad??? i'm sorry but i cannot wrap my brain around this. (it was on the public, free radio!!!!!!! i'm absolutely speechless.)

Erin, Nick and Merrick | 3:05 PM

Marriage = reality
Hate = reality
Its the truth.

amber | 3:37 PM

your wedding picture is gorgeous; you look absolutely stunning in it.

Bellamarin | 6:22 PM

amen

anita doberman | 7:15 PM

Amen!
So true, it's hard work, harder to be married to one than to be the mom of 6 little ones...

JuJu | 8:01 PM

The 2007 picture of you guys? Is awesome. ;)

Anonymous | 8:58 PM

I can't say how much it means to me to read what you have to say about marriage. I am newly married and we are coming up on a year. I have been sitting around lately second guessing everything, wondering were my love has gone, and hoping beyond hope that the being in love will come back. You give me hope.

Sara McGinness | 11:51 PM

thanks for the link, and I agree that marriage is hard work but so worth it!

mine... and now yours. | 11:55 PM

gah. totally.

my now husband and i got pregnant, uh... 3 months into it? natural family planning doesn't work so hot when you're bonking a few times a day (oh man. how did we DO that?!). i was 21. my husband 25.

im american (californian), and was living in new zealand when i met him... in NZ, just being in a partnership has all the same legal and social benefits of marriage, and gay-marriage is legal as well. we chose to get married anyways when i was 2 months pregnant, mostly because my mum was coming out from the states and we wanted her to be there. we also chose to get married as all seemed perfect. fast but perfect. hm.

in the (almost) 2 years since being married, our circumstances have been ridiculous. major career changes, a huge move to a new big scary lonely city a week before finding out we were pregnant, financial destitution at full term pregnancy (got a notice for power getting cut off 2 days before my due date in the dead of NZ winter), bloody intense family issues on both sides, a 50-hr intense natural labor at home, post partum depression, moving countries, where he now watches baby all day (so hard for a very academic sort of guy) and i work full time as a clinical midwife supervisor - where i might not really see him or my bubs for days except for him to drop some food off or to breastfeed... and sex with this sort of schedule? ha. no need for family planning these days.

so yes. its fucking hard. and we brawl it out. but thats what great - we brawl it OUT, and move on, and be stronger, and know each other deeper - and hence with more love than we had in the 5 months knowing each other before we got married. and maia slots right into the whole picture of who we are -- we might have been totally different, had more fun, gone out more - or maybe not. maybe we never would have had the beautiful relationship that we have now if baby hadn't of forced us to stick it out.

so yeah. carry on.

Girl Friday | 8:23 AM

GAH! This post really, really hit home for me. Marriage IS hard and I truly believe we ALL deserve the legal right to take a stab at it. Thanks for your candor....

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy | 10:19 AM

Thanks for that post. My husband and I are going through some really challenging times and there are certainly moments when I wonder if I have made the right decisions in my life (even after four years of marriage and seven of being together). But, you're right, every time I doubt it, something happens that reminds me how much we love each other and were meant to be together.

Of course, beautifully written, as always.

Erin | 1:18 PM

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. This is so what I needed to hear, and read and hear others say. That it's OK to not be perfect all the time. I'm about 1 1/2 years in being married, and I'm still waiting to "love being married." I know I love my husband, and can confirm that after being together for 2 years,100% broken up for 3 years, and rushed back togehter and got married...But I feel so horrible for hating him, while loving him. Sometimes I just want to run away from it all. So many previous posts are right-every time I doubt it, we manage to get through it and I'm reminded why it's worth sticking around. Just this week, I tormented myself over this issue "It get's better, right? RIGHT?"...good to know it does. Thanks agagin (and you totally are hot in your wedding picture!)

mrs. q. | 6:28 PM

Man. Marriage is hard. After seven years of marriage and two children, I ping-pong between loving my husband more than ever and 'who the hell is this person'? Sigh.

(Oh, and thanks for that photo reminder. Ever since last year when I saw it I wanted to host a fugly Christmas sweater party. Whee!)

courtney | 1:47 AM

You guys are mad cute. And yes, marriage is hard. oh boy is it ever hard.

bmcwantstomarryyou | 2:11 PM

i love how you conveniently left out that you almost left hal FOR ME! for MEEEEEE!!! if you told them that, then they would understand.

Anonymous | 12:14 PM

You guys are fucking gorgeous! You make it look easy- but I'm with you, it's hard as hell, esp. with young kids. But probably not as hard as it was when we were drinking and partying too much- that is the part we almost did not survive (mostly my fault, admittedly.) Having kids probably saved us, or me, anyway....

Desiree Fawn | 1:33 PM

My partner & I will have been together one year in December, and our baby is due in January. I often worry about how that sounds to people, but it was all planned and we've never had a regretful day.
I guess it just feels so right. Who knows if that will last forever & ever, but I think you can scare yourself if you think in FOREVERS all the time.
This post definitely made me feel a little better about our time line -- sometimes it's nice to know that others have done the same!
Peace.

Steph | 3:05 PM

THANK YOU. Marriage is not for the faint of heart, that's fo sho.

Mom101 | 6:28 PM

Here's to more happy couples advocating for more happy couples. I say the world could use all it can get. Whoever they might be.

Maggie May | 1:57 PM

this is my favorite post of yours so far. you have to come read my thanksgiving post! it's all about my marriage making it through insanity.

i love your edge and honesty! that picture is blow up worthy, eh?

brooke | 12:26 PM

my cousin just told me about your blog yesterday at thanksgiving dinner. imagine that? your blog the topic of two cousins' thanksgiving convo? oh the blog world. anyway, i am so glad she did. i really needed this post today. thank you, thank you.

-a newlywed and a new reader.