Keeping Your Marriage Alive in Sickness and Health
Welcome to The Relationship Blogger! I’m so glad you’ve made your way over to my column. I’m a team member here and I’ll be appearing twice a month as a syndicated columnist. For the next three months, you can look forward to posts talking about dealing with stress within your marriage in a variety of ways, both with and without your partner.
Allow me to begin by introducing myself. My name is Rachel, my husband Nateanite and I have been married since December 2010. We have two daughters, Electric and Adorable. Electric is currently three years old, has recently started calling Nateanite and I by our first names and is engaged in her first film obsession. As it’s Moana (she calls it “The Coconut Movie”), I really can’t be too upset about that. It has possibly supplanted Beauty and the Beast as my favorite Disney movie.
Adorable is 10 months old, is a champion army crawler and has a lot to say. Nateanite and I are very excited to be able to understand her. My guess is she’s talking about her plans to begin walking and also to steal our glasses for her own. Outside my family life, I am also an elected official in my community and I’m pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration.
Stress plays a part in every part of our lives, and our long-term relationships are no exception. As we all experience stress, and generally manage to come out the other side of the situation in decent shape, I’m willing to guess you’re wondering why I think I’m uniquely qualified to give some pointers. With that in mind, I am going to share the last year or so of my life with you. Buckle up, it’s been a bumpy ride.
On December 17, 2010 Nateanite became violently ill shortly following our wedding ceremony. Over the course of the weekend we joked that we’d obviously gotten the sickness part out of the way early in our marriage and it would be smooth sailing from here on out. And yet, every year on December 17th one of us was ill. This came to what we thought was a head in 2015 when Nateanite had emergency gallbladder removal surgery. Some highlights of the experience include the surgeon acting like he was way too busy to answer my questions, and a version of myself that only appears during pregnancy (I was 16 weeks along at the time) swearing at the pharmacist at the only 24-hour pharmacy in our area.
Following this experience, Nateanite began to experience some pretty poor treatment at his job, poor health plagued members of our extended family (some of whom we relied on for childcare), my own job dissatisfaction took a sharp decline. Three weeks before Adorable was due to be born, Nateanite was fired from his job which was plenty devastating on it’s own and also put the kibosh on the plan we had for me to take a 6-month maternity leave. The week after that, Electric and I (and Adorable too, as she was gestating) were in a car accident that totaled our car (although we were physically fine).
The next week, Adorable was born and Nateanite found a new job. Hooray! Our run of bad luck was over. That is, until my second day back from maternity leave when Nateanite fell and broke his ankle and a brutal cold and flu season (including Nateanite being hospitalized for several days for a mystery illness) left my boss calling me in to her office with a tally of every time I’d asked for any time off between August and January.
So, long story short, job dissatisfaction and health problems have been plaguing us for well over a year. Yet, I would describe my marriage as delightful. Nateanite is my best friend and although our daughters are in a very high needs stage of their lives (statistically one of the most challenging times in any long-term relationship), I love him and enjoy being with him more than I did nearly ten years ago when I was kicking his shins to indicate my interest. With all of this, I hope, at least, that I’ve gained some little nuggets of knowledge that you’ll find helpful.
This column will continue to evolve over time. In the short term, you can expect me to share some funny stories about my marriage and children as I talk about working through your stress through communication, self-care, togetherness, and service. It is my hope that this space will be engaging and encourage dialogue between us.
If you have any questions you would like me to answer in my column, please comment below.
Rachel is a blogger who writes predominantly about parenting and ways to juggle “having it all,” even though she thinks that phrase is overblown and generally impossible. She also thinks that time management and cutting yourself a little (or a lot of) slack are key to managing all the pieces of your life. Rachel and Nateanite have been married since 2010 and they have two daughters. Electric is three years old and Adorable is 10 months old.