Our Little Geekling

Our journey toward finding out what it means to be a parent.

All I Need January 5, 2010

Filed under: Life and Love — mrsdangelo @ 16:12

Marriage has always been a source of concern for me. My husband and I both come from split families, and though we are well-adjusted and love all of our parents and don’t judge the decisions they’ve made, we have always vowed to never consider divorce, never let anything get the better of our relationship, and to never let our children see us fight. But let’s face it: before you get married you have an idea of what marriage will be like, and after you get married you realize that it’s not really much like you expected. Some things are much, much better, but there are a lot more hardships to marriage than people tell you there will be before you say “I do.”

Jim and I have shared our share of hardships. We had only known each other for about three years when we got married, and our courtship was only eight months long, followed by a four-month engagement and then our wedding. Also, I was 21 and Jim was 19 when we got married. That’s young. Our parents married young and were a little wary about our decision because their marriages didn’t work out. But they consented (and, let’s face it, we wouldn’t have listened if they hadn’t), and we were wed. A few years after we got married we talked about what we would do if we had it to do over again. We agreed that we’d probably still have gotten married, but probably not that young. Neither of us regrets marrying the other, at all, but had realized that we were not as mature as we thought we were when we got married.

We’ve also both changed a LOT since we got married, which for some couples tears them apart. For us, it almost did. But we were able to take our differences and embrace each other and our differences and make it work – a feat of which we’re both very proud. We, essentially, came into adulthood together. We were told the first year of marriage would be the hardest. We were apart for about two months of our first year of marriage due to Jim’s job, and lived in three different states and four different homes by the time we celebrated our first anniversary. Then we were told our second year of marriage would be the hardest because the honeymoon stage is over. It was hard, but we were happy. Then we spent another five months apart in our third year of marriage. Then we moved to another country where we’ve celebrated four, five, and six years of marriage. Things were never easy, in part because of Jim’s job and all of the moving, and in part because of the maturity we lacked in the beginning. And marriage was always a lot more work than I thought it would be, frankly. The fifth year of our marriage was the hardest. Things almost came to a head after our fifth anniversary, and we were both uncertain of our future together, despite loving each other more than life itself, despite working so hard at marriage, and despite having vowed to never let divorce enter our minds.

Then we worked it out. And we got stronger. And we realized that just because we were so very different, we had in common what counted – our love and our faith. And even though we are complete opposites, having little in common would allow both of us to grow. We both conceded that we would do whatever it took to be together. And we grew even closer. And we found that we shared more personality traits than we thought. We learned that the ways in which we had changed as we had both grown up over the past five and a half years could be the source of our staying together, rather than letting us tear it apart.

Now, more than a year and one GIANT trial behind us (but more often than not still in the forefront of our minds), we are stronger than ever. Individually the last year or so was one of growth for each of us, wherein we discovered what we wanted to do with our lives, how our career aspirations had inspired us, and how we wanted to grow and learn and be better for our growing child. Together, we aspired to be more loving and to get along better, longed to inspire a great capacity for love in our little girl, and to be better together so that she would never doubt how much we loved each other, even when we had rough times in the future, which we were not so naïve to believe wouldn’t exist, and we wound up experiencing in ways we hadn’t imagined.

But instead of arguing and staying mad for hours or days, we argue and resolve it and deal with it in a grown-up and healthy manner. Instead of letting outside things bother us until we take it out on each other, we talk and vent and laugh and hug and cry together often. Instead of getting on each other’s nerves, we are open with one another about needing time alone in our own thoughts, out of the house, or in the house in the same or a different room from the other. Instead of placing irrational blame on one another for what happened to Angel, we share the grief and burden of our loss and hold tightly to one another during our time of need. Instead of letting something like our daughter’s death be the end of our marriage, we let it bring us even closer together. Instead of looking at the negative and allowing ourselves to be torn apart (individually and together), we hold each other up when we can and crumble together when we can’t, then build each other back up, and look to the future and hope for better days with fond memories of our sweet girl.

I am more thankful for Jim than I ever could be, and I love him more than life itself. Before we ever started our courtship back in 2002, I knew that he was the man for me because he was my friend. Then he was my best friend. Then he was my best friend and my boyfriend. Then he was still my best friend and became my husband. We both realized that when we had our hardest times we had forgotten to be friends. We don’t forget anymore. He’s all I need. I long for my child to be back in my arms or back in my belly where she was safe. I long for my future children to be here now. I love and miss dearly my family – especially my siblings and parents. I am so thankful for my friends and the wonderful support system we’ve had here in Japan through our tragedy. But Jim is all I really need. I’m so glad he’s here.

Marriage has always been a source of concern for me. My husband and I both come from split families, and though we are well-adjusted and love all of our parents and don’t judge the decisions they’ve made, we have always vowed to never consider divorce, never let anything get the better of our relationship, and to never let our children see us fight. But let’s face it: before you get married you have an idea of what marriage will be like, and after you get married you realize that it’s not really much like you expected. Some things are much, much better, but there are a lot more hardships to marriage than people tell you there will be before you say “I do.”

Jim and I have shared our share of hardships. We had only known each other for about three years when we got married, and our courtship was only eight months long, followed by a four-month engagement and then our wedding. Also, I was 21 and Jim was 19 when we got married. That’s young. Our parents married young and were a little wary about our decision because their marriages didn’t work out. But they consented (and, let’s face it, we wouldn’t have listened if they hadn’t), and we were wed. A few years after we got married we talked about what we would do if we had it to do over again. We agreed that we’d probably still have gotten married, but probably not that young. Neither of us regrets marrying the other, at all, but had realized that we were not as mature as we thought we were when we got married.

We’ve also both changed a LOT since we got married, which for some couples tears them apart. For us, it almost did. But we were able to take our differences and embrace each other and our differences and make it work – a feat of which we’re both very proud. We, essentially, came into adulthood together. We were told the first year of marriage would be the hardest. We were apart for about two months of our first year of marriage due to Jim’s job, and lived in three different states and four different homes by the time we celebrated our first anniversary. Then we were told our second year of marriage would be the hardest because the honeymoon stage is over. It was hard, but we were happy. Then we spent another five months apart in our third year of marriage. Then we moved to another country where we’ve celebrated four, five, and six years of marriage. Things were never easy, in part because of Jim’s job and all of the moving, and in part because of the maturity we lacked in the beginning. And marriage was always a lot more work than I thought it would be, frankly. The fifth year of our marriage was the hardest. Things almost came to a head after our fifth anniversary, and we were both uncertain of our future together, despite loving each other more than life itself, despite working so hard at marriage, and despite having vowed to never let divorce enter our minds.

Then we worked it out. And we got stronger. And we realized that just because we were so very different, we had in common what counted – our love and our faith. And even though we are complete opposites, having little in common would allow both of us to grow. We both conceded that we would do whatever it took to be together. And we grew even closer. And we found that we shared more personality traits than we thought. We learned that the ways in which we had changed as we had both grown up over the past five and a half years could be the source of our staying together, rather than letting us tear it apart.

Now, more than a year and one GIANT trial behind us (but more often than not still in the forefront of our minds), we are stronger than ever. Individually the last year or so was one of growth for each of us, wherein we discovered what we wanted to do with our lives, how our career aspirations had inspired us, and how we wanted to grow and learn and be better for our growing child. Together, we aspired to be more loving and to get along better, longed to inspire a great capacity for love in our little girl, and to be better together so that she would never doubt how much we loved each other, even when we had rough times in the future, which we were not so naïve to believe wouldn’t exist, and we wound up experiencing in ways we hadn’t imagined.

But instead of arguing and staying mad for hours or days, we argue and resolve it and deal with it in a grown-up and healthy manner. Instead of letting outside things bother us until we take it out on each other, we talk and vent and laugh and hug and cry together often. Instead of getting on each other’s nerves, we are open with one another about needing time alone in our own thoughts, out of the house, or in the house in the same or a different room from the other. Instead of placing irrational blame on one another for what happened to Angel, we share the grief and burden of our loss and hold tightly to one another during our time of need. Instead of letting something like our daughter’s death be the end of our marriage, we let it bring us even closer together. Instead of looking at the negative and allowing ourselves to be torn apart (individually and together), we hold each other up when we can and crumble together when we can’t, then build each other back up, and look to the future and hope for better days with fond memories of our sweet girl.

I am more thankful for Jim than I ever could be, and I love him more than life itself. Before we ever started our courtship back in 2002, I knew that he was the man for me because he was my friend. Then he was my best friend. Then he was my best friend and my boyfriend. Then he was still my best friend and became my husband. We both realized that when we had our hardest times we had forgotten to be friends. We don’t forget anymore. He’s all I need. I long for my child to be back in my arms or back in my belly where she was safe. I long for my future children to be here now. I love and miss dearly my family – especially my siblings and parents. I am so thankful for my friends and the wonderful support system we’ve had here in Japan through our tragedy. But Jim is all I really need. I’m so glad he’s here.

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3 Responses to “All I Need”

  1. Cyn Says:

    Tara I love reading your blog because you are so real and really pour your feelings into your words. I’m so happy you have Jim a wonderful man in your life and he’s so blessed to have you a wonderful woman in his life. I hate the old saying things happen for a reason but look at you two. You have both come through so much and yet you both are stronger for it. I pray that God blesses you for now on with nothing but love and joy. I can’t wait to read that book you’re going to write.

  2. Leigh Says:

    I’m really proud of you! (I read back over my previous comment, and gosh, I sounded insensitive!) I can tell by your writing, hear in your words, that you are making the best out of a terrible, terrible situation. You go, girl!

    Our marriage years 2-5 were in Japan. We were apart 2 1/2 years of our first five! We literally landed in Japan, John checked in, came back to the TLF for lunch and told me he was going to Korea for nine months! I hit the floor! As I look back now…gosh, what I’d give for a couple of those simple years. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything, but we learned to be a “couple” back then. We hit 23 years on Sunday, and I wish we had more of that unity. I miss it..life gets in the way…jobs…bills…responsibilities.

    Hold onto each other! Peace to you…and Jim.

  3. Patty Says:

    Tara…
    Such is life…we are always changing and growing…and it is so lovely when we grow together with our spouses.
    I’m so glad you and Jim have each other!!!!!!


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