When I was single, I received mixed reviews on marriage. There were some who seemed to truly enjoy matrimony. Others spoke of marriage as being “hard work” but worth the effort. Still others offered horror stories.
When Kevin and I were newly engaged, I remember one woman saying:
“There will come a day when you will wake up and realize you hate the person lying in bed next to you. Just trust the Lord and keep going.”
While many people offered words of encouragement when Kevin and I were wed, others were quick to point out the freedoms we would lose and the adjustments we would have to make. I braced myself, thinking, Maybe marriage is going to be completely different than I’m expecting. Maybe it’s going to be … gulp …horrible. (OK, so I didn’t really believe that or I wouldn’t have done it.) I was relieved to discover that I loved being married. Everything I loved about my relationship with Kevin before we tied the knot was just that much better as we shared our lives together on a deeper level.
Then came pregnancy. Almost from the moment I announced we were expecting, the horror stories surfaced again.
“Have fun now, because that’s all about to change.”
“Be prepared to see the worst in your husband.”
“That first week may be the worst of your life.”
Kevin and I were taken aback by all the naysayers. I’m sure they were simply trying to prepare us for a transition that can be difficult. And I am not meaning to downplay the reality that adjusting to having a child can be challenging. But at some point, Kevin and I agreed not to listen to the horror stories. Everyone’s experience is different. And, wouldn’t you know it, I saw the best come out of my husband, we still have fun, and the week after Josiah’s birth was warm and memorable, culminating with Christmas Day!
A few days after we arrived home from the hospital the reality of the change set in. The following morning, my brother-in-law was going to drive Kevin to the mechanic for a tune-up. It was a simple errand that just a week before I would have done. Now I felt like I couldn’t. I burst into tears — over driving to the mechanic! When I explained how I felt, Kevin said,
“You can drive me. We can put Josiah in his car seat, and you can go! This being parents thing is what we make it.”
Though I let my brother-in-law do the errand, my husband’s words were comforting.
Things were going to change with a child; I knew that. But we didn’t have to be restricted by other people’s horror stories. How we moved forward as a couple and family was up to us. That is the joyous thing about life with our God; we are not doomed as we take the path He has for us. Each day is an adventure of His love and grace. So don’t believe the stories. Make your own.
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a regular contributor to Thriving Family magazine and Boundless.org and writes children’s resources for several publishers. After having three children in fewer than five years of marriage, Suzanne and her husband, Kevin, who is a children’s pastor, consider themselves on the family fast-track — a blessing they wouldn’t trade for anything. Gosselin is the author of the newly released, Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood (Tyndale – Focus on the Family)
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