This summer we did a little “5 Questions about…” series. Fortunately for me I have so many awesome friends with wisdom to share that it’s gonna spill over a little into the fall! Today my friend Cara Tregembo, one of the fun “7 girls” is sharing on marriage. I asked her for a picture to post and this is what she sent:
However, here’s the real Cara (in front)!
That’s our Cara – fun-loving, creative, and (in real life) completely authentic!
1. How has marriage been different than you expected?
It’s better than I expected and much harder too. Having a partner to navigate through life with is wonderful and raising our family as part of a team is very fulfilling. Knowing there is someone who is on my side, who loves me, accepts me, encourages me, inspires me are all part of the very sweet parts of marriage.
The reality, also, is marriage is a very deep and intimate relationship with another person, and relationships are HARD! We have different personalities; different ways we communicate and deal with conflict, different ways we show and accept love. We change, we grow together and individually which can make marriage a challenge. I truly don’t think there is anything anyone can say to prepare you for what it’s like to be in the trenches of marriage.
2.Describe your personalities. What challenges have you faced?
Steve and I are alike in that we both have the same core values and idea of how we want to raise our family, but as in most marriages, our personalities are very different.
Steve is very even and mild tempered. I am…how do you say, a bit more…I like the word ‘passionate.’ Fine…emotional. Steve keeps his feelings close; I wear mine on my sleeve. We have very different ways of communicating. I like to hash it out, Steve not so much. This has been one of the biggest challenges our marriage has faced.
I do believe in the saying, “Healthy Marriage= 2 Healthy People.” When one of us is hurting, it can be very, very difficult and put quite a strain on the marriage. That’s when we fight for it, and it’s not pretty. It’s that unfortunate truth that nothing worthwhile comes easily or without sacrifice.
- How has God used the challenges in your marriage to refine you?
Marriage is one big refining fire. I know people say God uses marriage to refine us to make us more like Him. I feel like God uses marriage to remind me, I am NOT Him.
- What have been the most important resources in navigating challenges in marriage?
All the stuff people usually say – supportive friends and faith community, outside counseling, and books like The Five Love Languages are all helpful, but sometimes we just have to go out and have fun! Having a good laugh together can be huge and very therapeutic. The day to day life of supporting and raising a family, getting the laundry clean, the chores and homework done, and lunches made can get heavy and make us forget what it is we even like about the other person. Moments to connect on a level that isn’t quite so mundane remind us why we fell in love with each other in the first place.
- Are there any spiritual practices that have been helpful?
Journaling and prayer have been really helpful to me. Keeping a journal and writing down all of the ways Steve is an amazing husband makes those times I’m annoyed with him feel less significant. Being able to look back and remember the ways he has been supportive and loving make the fact that he forgot to clean up his mess or pick up the dry cleaning less of an annoyance.
Knowing I can always come before the Lord to share my deepest struggles or greatest joys make all the difference for me. I don’t know what I would do without prayer.
For those of you who are married, what’s one thing you’ve learned in your years of marriage?