The Overuse of ‘I Love You’

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It’s wonderful to hear the phrase ‘I love you’. Whether it’s from your child/children, your spouse, a family member or friend. It’s almost magical the way it makes you feel. You are special, you are appreciated…you are loved. It’s even more special when you hear it for the first time from someone you also love. It’s a wonderful feeling to give and receive.

I feel like there comes a point in your relationship, whether it be dating or marriage, where overuse of the phrase ‘I love you’ starts to happen. It becomes as casual as ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’. We say it every time we see the person and on every phone call. We say it so often that it becomes habitual. We say it quick and even mumbled, we use it as an apology, we say it when we’re angry, we say it when we’re needy or need something, we say it because it was said to us first and sometimes we say it when we don’t feel it. The importance of the phrase becomes diminished, less important and all too common. It loses its magic, its importance and its meaning.

Yesterday my husband and I got into an argument. We both went up to bed together but didn’t talk. I said goodnight to which he followed with ‘goodnight, I love you.’ I waited to say it back. I was angry. We didn’t resolve the conflict and I felt like he said it just to say it. I felt like he didn’t mean it. I know he did and he does, but in the moment, it felt fake. I mumbled it back in my unhappy voice and went to bed.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to use this phrase. It’s important to tell those that we love how we feel because you never know what could happen to you or them. The feelings of unconditional love that you share with your family are foundational. They are the pillars which you build your lives upon and around. They are the words that give you hope, strength and the ability to fight through difficult times. But there are also words that when said, do the complete opposite. The phrase is used as a weapon. We use to get what we want. We use it to make our partner feel bad. We say it just because. We say it just to hear it back. We spit it out like word vomit and we selfishly take it in without gratitude.

I’m grateful my husband says I love you, even when I feel he’s saying it just to say. He never fails me there. I remember the first time he said it to me standing in our old kitchen hugging. I couldn’t stop smiling. I still get butterflies when I think about it.

Love is a beautiful thing. If you love someone, tell them…tell them often and always, just mean it. Really, truly mean it. Don’t say it to get out of an argument or to get something that you want. Don’t use it as a test or a punishment. Life is short, love the ones you’re with. One of my favorite sayings is a Swedish proverb, “Love me when I least deserve it, for that is when I really need it.” I’m lucky I have a husband who does this and through it all, I know we will always love one another.

How to be a Partner in Your Marriage

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As a wife and mother, I think it’s hard to remember how to be a partner in my marriage. I get so caught up in telling my husband all the things he needs to do that I stop telling him the things I should like how much I love and appreciate him. I forget about the feelings we had when we first met, the love that grew over time and all the special moments in between. They become distant memories and at times, so does our love.

My sister, who was the maid of honor at our wedding, said something I’ll forget, “Always remember how you feel on this day and try to live each day like that”. I haven’t done that…we haven’t done that. I’m too focused on my to-do lists, my stress and my anxiety. I don’t treat him like a partner and I don’t act like one either. I become resentful towards him for all the things I do as a wife and mother instead of how grateful I am for everything that he provides our family.

It’s easy to get angry, feel frustrated and place blame. It’s harder to be understanding, loving when you want to be yelling and accepting of each others flaws. Marriage is so tough, it really is. It’s something you have to work at every single day. It’s a partnership that requires participation from both parties. Of course there are times when one person is giving more effort than the other, but that’s when you go the extra mile. That’s when you comfort instead of criticize, love instead of leave and really be a partner instead of a pessimist.

The balance of wife, motherhood and work is challenging. I am constantly finding myself in an internal battle of how to manage and at times, an external battle with those I love most. I think the best way to be a partner in your marriage is to just be there. Be present. Put down the phones, share a meal together, have a date night (even if it’s in your own home!) and communicate. The biggest fights can sometimes come from miscommunication. Men and women have different roles in marriage but the common ground begins with love. After all, isn’t that what brought you two together in the first place? You fell in love. You saw this person over time as someone you can truly spend the rest of your life with. You got engaged, you got married and along that way maybe you’ve had a few kids (and pets!). But the one thing that should never change is your love.

Be the kind of partner you want your spouse to be. And never, ever ever give up. You took the vows and you made the promises. You are a team…so partner up and enjoy the ride!

The More Gray the Merrier….and other random thoughts.

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I have strands of gray in my hair. It happens with old age. I consider myself old these days. I haven’t been blogging lately because I’m too busy getting gray hair from all the stress!

Last Saturday we cleaned the kitchen in our new house (just our kitchen) for five hours. FIVE HOURS! Oh, if I had all the money in the world I would have just hired someone to build us a house and then another person to handle all the stress while I just shop for decor and pick paint colors! So back to last Saturday, when my gray really started to kick in…I finally sent my husband to get us some food realizing it was three o’clock in the afternoon and I hadn’t eaten all day. I luckily found two tiny bags of Skittles in my purse which I dumped into my mouth immediately. I was experiencing a Clorox bleach and sugar high all at once, it wasn’t pretty. I continued to find more things ‘wrong’ with our new home that I wasn’t too happy about, which caused for a phone call telling my husband to stop and get alcohol before he came back. Alcohol and Chipotle…my Saturday.

The days all mesh together now. I was sick, Emma was really sick, I was sick over her being sick….lots of sickness. Then there’s the new house…the cleaning, the paint that isn’t getting done so we are stuck because we can’t move in until the paint is done and we can’t get new carpet until the paint is done and dry and we can’t get the other carpets cleaned until the paint is done. It’s all about the paint being done….THAT ISN’T DONE!

I can’t remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep. I toss and turn with the lists in my head for the new home, the move from the old home to the new home, regular ‘mom’ things and trying to just function like a normal human being despite being one hundred percent sure I’m a zombie these days…or a robot who only wants to eat carbs.

Carbs are like my gray hair, the more the merrier. I love carbs. They are so bad for you and my best friend when I am stressed. I’ve eaten so many carbs lately I’m starting to look like a potato, lumps and all. Which reminds me…working out! HA! I haven’t done that since I injured my back three weeks ago which isn’t healing because I carry an 18-pound baby around (add another 25 pounds for the car seat!). I desperately need to work out, it’s the only thing that gives me energy…maybe I’ll just start drinking Red Bull…or coffee?

I just got an email to all employees at work about a large tape dispenser missing…is this Office Space? Where’s my stapler?

If I get through this week without killing someone or becoming an alcoholic I think I will be in good shape. Wish me luck!

We Bought A Zoo!

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Well, it’s official…WE BOUGHT A ZOO! Just kidding, but ever since that movie I envisioned myself saying the phrase when we eventually did buy a home. Ironically, I looked at the home first without my husband (something with work came up and I had to go solo) and texted him ‘We bought a zoo!’ because I fell in love with it. We went to see the house together the next day, put an offer in and we got it! This is our new home (pictured above). For the first time, my husband and I are homeowners together. I stress the together because I moved into his home when we got married and even though I added my own personal touches to it, I never really felt like I could call it mine. It feels great to be able to say that now!

While this is an exciting time for us, I also feel like it is one of the most stressful. The mortgage process alone was enough to make you go completely crazy. I felt like our bank accounts were being monitored by the FBI! “Everything needs documentation” is all I kept hearing. It went so far as having to explain check deposits from family that were Christmas gifts! On top of our own pressures at work, we are juggling parenting, packing, figuring out our finances, trying to get quotes for renovations at a home we don’t even have keys to yet, picking out furniture, paint colors, decor and all the things needed for our new home as well as the challenges of everyday life! I know these are all things people go through. This is the change that forces us to adjust. It forces you to either come together as a couple and make decisions or cause endless amounts of arguing. We have mostly come together but at times we have come apart…

Life can be stressful, especially when you throw a million other things into the mix. But what’s great about life is the adventure. Every day is a new day and you decide how you want it to go. Sure, there are things that impact your day which are out of your control, but some that are not. I have little patience when driving and get quickly irritated by other drivers but then I think about the precious life in my backseat. Is it worth her safety? Never. Is it worth me getting worked up about? Absolutely not. No one but you should determine the mood of your day. You make the decision to be angry and frustrating or patient and compassionate. It’s easy to get angry, say hurtful words and become frustrated. It’s much harder to stay calm, choose your words carefully and become more understanding. At least, it is for me…

So while my husband and I might not agree on all the decor in the house, we bought this house together and just like in marriage, there will be a lot of compromising! We are blessed to be moving into an amazing home that we’ll raise our growing family in. If there’s one thing I learned through the whole process it’s not to sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, being happy isn’t about the perfect paint color or that amazing couch from Restoration Hardware, it’s about being thankful for what you have. Life is a blessing, try not to let the stressful moments of it take away from that. And if you haven’t seen ‘We Bought A Zoo’, I suggest you watch it, super cute movie!

But Do They Really Get It?

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Sometimes I sit and wonder if my husband really gets what I do, whether it be home with our daughter all day or just the generalized wifely duties. I try my best to do everything and maybe that’s the problem, but sometimes I just feel like he doesn’t get or appreciate it. Sometimes I feel like we’re arguing over the fact that I left some lights on which needed to be shut off instead of appreciating that I was able to pick up around the house and make dinner.

It’s frustrating. It really, really is. On the flip side, I get what he does, maybe not completely but for the most part. I get that he’s the major source of our income and works hard each and every day to provide for our family. I get that he has stresses about his job, its security, our family and being able to support us. I can’t imagine the stress of that financial responsibility. And maybe I also don’t always show or tell him how much I appreciate what he does…and maybe that’s the problem.

When we both stop appreciating one another, we start resenting. Resentment is the worst. It causes a build up of anger, disappointment, sometimes jealousy and overall frustration. It makes us snap over little things. It causes us to dislike something or someone little by little. And in marriages, it takes away some of the compassion, love and support we should always have for one another. It takes away our ability to understand, to have empathy for, to reason with and to find patience. Resentment is an evil feeling that if continued too long, can really wreck havoc on ourselves and our relationships.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not perfect. At times, I can be impulsive, say things without thinking and can go from zero to sixty in an instance. I am not proud of these things, but again, I am not perfect and all I can do is try to improve these behaviors. But when I feel unloved, unappreciated and misunderstood, I have a hard time being anything but resentful.

This is when a new pattern of thinking needs to happen. This is when I need to express what I’m feeling and hope my husband would do the same. Instead of harboring anger, I need to channel my frustration into love. I need to remember that we are a team, we are in this together and the way I say things to him can determine how a conversation will go.

But the question still becomes, does he really get it? I think so, or at least, I hope. Because I am trying my hardest to be the best mom, wife and employee that I can be. I am trying to balance it all without losing myself in the process. And maybe I don’t always appreciate him the way he doesn’t always appreciate me, but at the end of the day, I hope we can take the time to find the appreciation in one another. And when all else fails, there is always hope. Hope for a change, hope for tomorrow and hope for the chance to make a difference. I will always have hope for us and our relationship.

On some level, we all can be unappreciative of our blessings. The important thing to remember is we can always find our way back. Appreciate what you have, for at any moment, it can be taken away from you.