So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

You’d think by age 37, I’d learn when to shut my mouth. I should know that sometimes silence avoids the mudslide that can occur when you have to have the last word. Instead of leaving things as-is, opening your mouth makes conflicts sticky, and often overflowing out-of-control. Instead of getting one last jab in, we all need to learn to just chill the heck out, and choose our battles—just like we do with our kids.

Last week, the hubs and I got into it. He wanted to save some money by ripping up the kitchen floor before putting new hardwoods in. “Your time is worth the money it will cost,” I warned him. “It will be more difficult than it looks.”

But he persisted and attempted the task.

It did not go well. He damaged our new cabinets while nails and staples sat exposed for our small children to step on. Freaking perfect.

He began to sweat, swear, and become visibly frustrated. He flung his hands up in the air. “I’m done,” he said wiping his forehead.

“It’s OK,” I said. “A real man knows when to throw in the towel.”

I continued to do my best to build his ego back up. He couldn’t have felt much worse after the failed attempt.

But within minutes, I messed up. My big, fat, Greek mouth—yeah, I couldn’t seal it.

“Is it too early to say it?” I asked.

“Say what?” he said.

“That I was right.”

I mean, I was right. But he knew that—that’s why he felt so horrible. I didn’t need to smear it all over his already sweaty face. The evening spiraled downward from there—as expected. I wore my hard armor, and because of my mouth, he put his back on, too. We went through all of the phases of a marital fight: the silent treatment, the passive aggressive jabs, and then the blowout.

But later that night, we finally spoke to each other like normal adults who care about each other. Yes, I said those magical words that I find myself saying all too often lately: “I’m sorry. I should have just shut my mouth and left it alone.”

“I’m sorry, too,” my husband said. “I don’t know what I was trying to prove.”

Marriage is no joke. But it’s important to remember that it is a union, not a competition. The point is to be united, not to puff out your chest and say, “I win.” The next time you know that your partner feels bad, don’t drive that knife in deeper, and then twist it. Why make the wound bleed more? Why not just hurry up and put the Band-Aid on it?

It’s nonsense if you don’t.

In marriage, we must learn to choose our battles just like we do with our strong-willed toddlers. We can’t win at everything. So, there’s no use trying. Swallowing our pride is something all partners must do in a marriage—because that’s the only way we all won’t end up killing each other.

Yes, my husband and I, we both acted like idiots—my husband through his actions and me with my big yapper. After 10 years of marriage, we’re still trying to navigate this sometimes-tricky marriage gig we’re in. We could have hopped over all of that extra arguing if I would have just let his mistake ride by shutting my mouth. Marriage is not a competition of who’s doing what better. It’s not keeping score at all. It’s learning to just let things slide—to avoid the mudslide when you can. In the end, it’s better to let the feeling of knowing you’re right sit within you, instead of dragging both you and your partner through the mud.

Angela Anagnost-Repke

Angela-Anagnost Repke is a writer and writing instructor dedicated to raising two empathetic children. She hopes that her graduate degrees in English and counseling help her do just that. Since the pandemic, Angela and her family have been rejuvenated by nature and moved to northern Michigan to allow the waves of Lake Michigan to calm their spirits. She has been published in Good Housekeeping, Good Morning America, ABC News, Parents, Romper, and many more. She is currently at-work on her nonfiction parenting book, Wild Things by Nature: How an Unscientific Parent Can Give Nature to Their Wild Things. Follow Angela on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram  

I’m So Thankful For This Little Family

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler boy and infant girl, color photo

I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, and praying for a life like I have now. Praying for a man to love me, to be loyal to me, to want a family with me, to provide for me, to show me what stability felt like and what it felt like to not ever have to worry . . . and here he is right in front of me. I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, praying for a house I could make a home and raise my family in. Here it is right in front of me. But most of...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Still Remember Who We Are

In: Marriage
Bride and groom kissing, color photo

Sometimes it might seem like I’ve forgotten about us—amid the cluster feeding and the baseball practices. In the heaps of diapers or the bubbly bath water. In this phase when my body is not my own, and it isn’t yours either. RELATED: Dear Husband, I Loved You First When my mind is too tired to string together another thought, and my voice is lost from whispering, not sweet nothings, but another lullaby. But I still remember who we are. Mirror souls, an unstoppable force, two hearts entangled—and we are conquering this part together because our relationship will go through seasons....

Keep Reading

I’m Just a Little Boy, but Daddy You’re Teaching Me How to Be a Man

In: Fatherhood, Marriage
Daddy on the floor playing with son, color photo

I’m only a little boy, still too young to tie my own shoes or make my own breakfast. My days are filled with playtime, snacks, lots of hugs from Mommy, and plenty of tickles from you, Daddy. Right now, my life revolves around me and you and Mommy. I don’t know much about the world outside our home yet. I haven’t learned about responsibility or self-discipline or sacrifice. I haven’t had to find my place in the world yet. But I guess I’m pretty lucky because even though you may not know it, you’ve already begun teaching me everything I...

Keep Reading

You’re the Father You Never Had and I’m So Proud of You

In: Fatherhood, Marriage
Dad and kids walking on beach

Can I tell you about my husband? He’s amazing. He’s kind and doting and loves Jesus, but perhaps his most endearing trait is the absolutely incredible father he is.  In our early days of dating, he was crippled by the fear of what type of father he would be. To him, fatherhood was burdensome, grumbling, abandonment, and fighting for the final dollar during tax season. His experience as a son crippled his anticipation as a father.  But I knew it all along—what an incredible dad he would be. Although I must admit, he has often far surpassed what I even...

Keep Reading

I Always Had an Excuse for My Excessive Drinking

In: Living, Marriage
Woman drinking wine

I remember the first time my husband sat me down and looked me in the eye and told me he was concerned about my drinking, about four years ago. It was after a particularly late, drunken Saturday night, and he approached me in our bedroom the next morning while our three kids were innocently watching TV downstairs. I don’t remember where we had been or who we had been with the night before, but it was probably much of the same drunken scene that we always found ourselves in, with the same people. What I do remember is the look...

Keep Reading

Spaghetti Sauce Faith

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Mother and little girl holding a bowl of spaghetti, color photo

It was Sunday afternoon, and I was loading my grocery cart higher than I ever had in my life. My husband and I, along with our two kids under two years old, had been living with his parents for three months. We moved from our Florida home to look for a house in Georgia, and they graciously took us in. This was the day I loaded up on groceries—filling an empty refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. My shopping list was all the things. I needed to buy the smallest of table ingredients like salt and garlic powder to the big things...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I’m Sorry for Expecting Perfection

In: Marriage
Couple embracing on beach

Dear Husband, There is a picture of a piece of burnt toast on my Facebook wall. It’s quite ugly. It’s the kind of toast that if it popped out of the toaster, I would try to scrape off all the black bits, probably making a mess over the countertop and in the kitchen sink in the process. And if the charred stuff never came off, I’d begrudgingly (because I don’t like to waste food) throw that toast in the garbage and make myself a new piece. That’s how burnt this piece of toast is. But it’s not my piece of...

Keep Reading

I Always Pack the Snack, and Other Ways Parenting is Never 50/50

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Mother lying on couch with children, black-and-white photo

I hate it. The idea of unequal roles irritates me to no end. Two years ago, I would never have believed it would come to this. The workload with my children will never be equally shared between my husband and me, and although I wish it weren’t true, I have finally come to terms with the notion that I will be the lead parent. “It will never be 50/50,” my husband said the other night, and as the words were coming out of his mouth, I believed him. It had been a bad day. Picking and arguing over who did...

Keep Reading

I Love the Way You Make Me Laugh

In: Marriage
Couple laughing

I love how you make me laugh. Like . . . love, love it.  You get that gleam in your eye—the one that could light up a city block, and I know what’s coming next.  I know I’m about to absolutely adore every word you deliver in that perfect execution of yours. I know the muscles on my face and in my stomach are about to hurt in an eager kind of way. I know I’m going to fall in love with you all over again. Right then. Right there. Really, it isn’t just the words. Don’t get me wrong, they...

Keep Reading

Divorce Made My Ex-Husband and Me Better Parents

In: Living, Marriage
Mom dropping child off with dad

When I married my husband, I could not imagine a life without him in it. We met at such a young age, and essentially, we grew up together. We molded one another and connected on such a deep level. With such a deep love, we decided the next step in life would be to get married and start a family. We wanted to create a life where we could watch our children grow, and we could grow old together.  Before having children, I don’t think anyone is prepared for the overwhelming love you experience for your child. You never realize...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime