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The Hardest Year of Marriage

When my husband and I were first married we moved to North Carolina and began attending a church with a great pastor who never had any trouble telling it like it is. We enjoyed his sermons, especially when it came to married life. We were newlyweds and eager to learn as much as we could to have a successful marriage. One thing our pastor used to say was that the hardest year of marriage is the first one. He would tell us hilarious stories (well, hilarious to us anyway) about all the things that went wrong in that first year he and his wife were married. So I kept bracing myself and waiting for the hard stuff, but it never came.

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Don't get me wrong. It wasn't all butterflies and rainbows that first year. After all, we were young (23 years young), had moved away from family and friends, were living alone together for the first time, and attempting to finish school and work at the same time. It wasn't easy, but it didn't feel too hard. I felt pretty proud of us when our first anniversary came and we were more in love than ever. We had done it! We had survived the hardest year of marriage! The rest of our lives would be pure bliss. It's only up from here, folks. I'm going to go write that marriage advice book now, thankyouverymuch.

And then we decided to throw a baby into the mix. The hard stuff found us. The truth of the matter is that my husband and I were utterly unprepared to have a baby. Oh, we thought we were ready. We were sure we had it all figured out. Isn't it funny how childless couples are the premiere experts on raising kids? We knew what we were doing, except we didn't.

Resentment began to creep into every corner of my mind and my husband was absolutely clueless on how to handle a crying baby and a hormonal wife.

The real problem is that we forgot we were on the same team. Instead of allowing the trials and hardships to bring us together, they tore us apart. Our house became a war zone. I would sit up at night nursing the baby and staring at my peacefully sleeping husband with hatred in my eyes. Resentment began to creep into every corner of my mind and my husband was absolutely clueless on how to handle a crying baby and a hormonal wife.

Date nights flew out the window. We were no longer connecting. I would sleep when the baby slept and when the baby was awake he was pretty much glued to my breasts. We didn't know how to handle the sudden change in our lives and it was pretty draining to say the least.

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Around the time our son turned one life began to ease up a little bit. He wasn't quite as needy and I wasn't quite as hormonal (except I was pregnant, so yeah, maybe I was little hormonal). I think at that time we began to remember that we liked each other. We began trusting other people to care for our son. We sought counseling from a professional. We remembered that we were on the same team. We wanted each other to succeed and thrive, not fail. And if anyone is the enemy here, it's the kids, not us.

So far my husband and I have been married seven years and the hardest one was definitely our first year of being parents. We experienced a lot of difficult moments and we pretty much fought the whole time, but we have emerged from that hazy fog and married life is better than ever. I'm really hopeful that now it really is only up from here, but even if it's not, our hard year taught us to stick together and hold on. Better days are coming.

Photo via Kristel Acevedo

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