Monday, October 7, 2013

Unpacking the past ten years......

Sometimes it is hard to believe that Nathaniel and I have known each other for nearly fifteen years. We were practically children when we met.  Now we have ben married for ten years! We are going to celebrate by taking trip to Tofino later this month - without our children! We are SOOOOO excited. We will be spending two nights at Middle beach Lodge, which is in the middle of nowhere, feasting on delicious food, taking long walks and doing lots... of... other things :0)

I am looking forward to lots uninterrupted time with my husband. Honestly, that is what I miss the most. Our beloved children are continually interrupting us. Sometimes we joke that we will talk when they move out.
Nathaniel and I met at a youth retreat in Nanoose Bay when we were sixteen and eighteen years of age. I had NO idea that liked me, in fact I thought he had a crush on my friend Heidi. I was surprised when I found out years later that he had told one of his friends "I am going to marry that girl". Before the weekend had ended we had exchanged email addresses and had promised to write one another. Within two years we had become good friends and had begun "courting" each other. We lived at least six hours apart and only saw one another at camp retreats or when he  hitchhiked six hours to visit me in Tahsis. My parents were not sure what to think of the long haired hippie that would show up on our doorstep from time to time. I, on the other hand, was smitten! Nathaniel was a breath of fresh air in a town steeped in fear of the unknown. I loved his boldness, zest for life, strength and passion for purity. I felt safe with him. In the months between visits, we would write and talk on the phone. In the years that followed I graduated from high school and attended a six month discipleship training program called YWAM in Kelowna and Taiwan. Nathaniel was just finishing  a year of study at Bible College when I returned. Within a couple of months I had moved to Nanaimo and had enrolled in a two year diploma in human studies A couple weeks after my classes began Nathaniel flew to the Cook Islands for a six month stint with YWAM. We wrote many letters during that time, since we were unable to afford phone calls. When he returned we saw each other for a weekend before I took off to Alberta to work for a  publishing company (selling books door to door). Scary I know, but very lucrative work. When I started school the following year Nathaniel had moved to Nanaimo and had found, not only a place to live, but work as well. For the first time in our relationship, we lived in the same town. It was short lived. Nathaniel quickly realized that  I didn't have as much time for him as he had hoped that I would. He decided to let me do my thing and moved to Kamloops to work as a liftee at Sun peaks Resort. It was a good decision for both of us. It allowed me to focus on my studies, and gave him the chance to live a dream of his. That following summer I recruited him to work for my team and we sold books all summer in Ontario. The day before we left, he proposed. I was astonished! I mean, I knew that it was only a matter of time before we got married, but I never expected him to propose when he did. I said yes, of course, and then proceeded to work 80+ hours a week in Ontario selling those darn books. We worked in separate cities and saw each other on Sundays when our teams would meet to discuss sales techniques. Somehow, in the midst of it all, I managed to plan a wedding with my mother. We returned to B.C in August and were married the first week of October. Together at last! 
Our first two years of marriage were challenging  Our dating relationship had consisted of intense emotional weekends, followed by long periods of distance. Being together on a day to day basis was an experience that we were unaccustomed to. That, combined with the fact that  Nathaniel and I are both  intensely independent  and opinionated meant, that we had our work cut out for us.

We spent the first two years of our marriage living in my parents home and taking care of my younger brother and sister while my parents worked and lived in another city. Nathaniel had just started working on the green chain at a local sawmill and I was attending University an hour away. I did not have my drivers license and biked  to and from my practicum at a safe house for women. I managed to catch a ride with someone to school every morning, but hitched a ride home in the afternoon. Those were lean times, and in hindsight I am so thankful we chose to live in my parents home. Not only did it help my parents out, but it also allowed us to keep our expenses low and save for a down payment. I worked a variety of jobs during that time: everything from raising baby lovebirds to working as a nanny part time. In 2005, Nathaniel and I purchased our first home, a quaint three bedroom townhouse in Maple Ridge. We installed hardwood flooring, painted, overhauled the green space behind our house and replaced all the appliances.  By this time Nathaniel had been promoted in his job and I had been blessed with a great job as a community support worker. We worked hard and played hard during those years. When we weren't two ships passing in the night, we took surf trips down to the Oregon Coast, backpacked the Nootka trail with friends and swam every day during the warmer months. We attended a great church, had a wonderful group of friends and felt connected to our community. Our lives were picture perfect, but didn't feel ready to "settle down" so we sold our home, quit our jobs and put all our earthly belongings in a storage unit.
It was possibly, the best decision we ever made.

We spent the next nine months traipsing the world. It was an incredible experience and something that not only strengthened our marriage but gave us even more insight into each other's  strengths and weakness. I learned that we functioned well as a team, grew closer in stressful situations, and shared the passion for trying new things. I fell in love with my husband all over again.
When we got home, we moved in with my parents, (once again) and started trying for a baby. Nathaniel applied the RCMP and I got a full time job as a Woman Support Worker at the safe house where I had done a practicum  many years beforehand. It was such a blessing that I was able to get enough hours to  qualify for maternity leave. Four months after Amelia was born Nathaniel was accepted into the RCMP Academy and moved to Regina for six months. I took the opportunity to travel internationally and visit my dearest friend in Norway for six weeks. It was an incredible experience!
As much as I adore being a mother, I am so thankful that Nathaniel and I had six years together before we decided to expand our family. In the days and weeks following Amelia's arrival there were many times when Nathaniel and I would stare at one another with a look that meant "what have we done"? Our lives are OVER!!!!
Now, here we are, on the cusp of trying for our third. Wow, things have changed.

When we were both working full time, we rarely saw each other and  I remember how lonely it felt to come home to an empty house nearly every day. I see him SO much more now that I am home with our girls. There are days that we long for simpler, more carefree times, but honestly, our lives are so much richer now. Our children have matured us, deprived us of sleep,  and drive us to insanity on a regular basis, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Thankfully we are still able to carve out a little time for our hobbies. We don't get to date very often, due to finances and time constrictions, but I think we make the best of it. It sounds funny, but I  fantasize about the day my husband will run around Westwood Lake with me and I know that Nathaniel would LOVE to take me hunting some day. Essentially, we have pretty low standards. We don't need a lot to remain "in love". We are content with the simple things in life.
Nathaniel and I have never really been "gushy" or overly romantic, but I can assure you that any definition I may have had about romance in the past has changed.  These days I feel romanced when..... 
1) My hubby comes home from work and does the dishes
2) I get to eat a warm tasty meal that I have not prepared or cooked
3) The laundry is on when I get home from running errands
4) My man takes our girls out swimming so I can have a couple hours of peace and quiet
5) We watch a movie on PVR and eat homemade  popcorn
6) My man wakes up early with our girls so that I can go for a LONG run
7) Nathaniel gives me a head massage at the end of the day when I am FRIED!

That is LOVE baby! Forget the chocolate and flowers.

While we are far from perfect, here are a few reasons why I think our marriage is pretty great....
- We NEVER insult each other or threaten to leave when things are tough. This is a BIG one!
- We give each other a lot of independence to pursue hobbies and ambitions
- We have similar values and goals in life

- We rarely fight, but when we do it is often in the evening when we are both irrational and exhausted. We have learned, though trail and error, that neither of us is coherent enough to talk things out in the evening, so we often break the rule "don't go to bed angry". Usually we wake up the next day, refreshed and wonder "what was the big deal"? Ultimately we have learned that it is NOT wise to engage in heated, or lengthy conversations at the end of the day.
Well, there you have it. The exhaustive story of our lives/relationship.






Anita Grace said...

Wow what a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing Jocelyn, I had no idea about your courting days and that you sold books! I seriously laughed out loud when you said you'd be doing "other things" haha, ain't that the truth!

May God Bless you & your man as you continue to daily walk with Him and love each other. I am so passionate about marriage, especially in the times we live in where so many people do not value it in the same way. Blessings!

Caroline said...

I enjoyed your post. Here I thought I knew your story...I am so glad to have gotten to know you while you lived at your parents house, right around the corner from us. I am also glad I was able to witness you both on your wedding day. It is hard to believe it's been 10 years...Justin was just a babe. Happy Anniversary to you two! Enjoy your weekend away!

Mrs. R said...

Loved reading this! Crazy it's been ten years. So amazing how romance changes its definition over time! Happy Anniversary!