So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

I thought that if I stopped looking out for myself, no one else would look out for me—so I had to be strong and selfish in my marriage. I needed to demand extra time to sleep, I wanted date nights, and I absolutely had to express every irritation that crossed my mind when I noticed the house was a mess and that errands had not been completed, per my instructions. 

“You forgot to call the window repair company again?” I would say in my most condescending voice, as if only a person with dementia should be allowed to forget things. 

“Why is there still laundry in the washer?” I would sigh as I walked past the odor of wet clothes that had been sitting all day. 

“Didn’t you hear the baby crying?” I would roll over and let him wake up because I deserved the sleep more. 

All of these statements added the bitter taste of disappointment and cruelty to our marriage each time I spoke them. And I wasn’t interested in hearing his response to anything because I didn’t think his word was worth much anymore. This meant I was content to leave my unkind words lingering in the air as I stomped away into the next room and slammed the door. 

But it’s not like he was innocent, either. Leaving my messages unanswered all day when we lived apart, yet responding instantly to girls on Facebook. Telling me to deal with his family’s rudeness instead of standing up for me. Refusing to plan date nights but meticulously setting up all the details of his next fishing trip. We were keeping score, and it wasn’t good. 

Marriage is about compromise but someone always feels like they compromise more. Some days that’s true, which is why overall balance is so important but how exactly does a couple achieve that ultimate level of happiness? I don’t know but I have a feeling that it starts by letting go of the mentality that you’re the only person with needs and wants. 

When my husband gave up a nice job offer to stay home with our son, the dynamic in our home changed in more ways than expected. 

First, I was no longer the only one who took care of the house. When we both worked, we would both help out but it was mostly me maintaining the order with a few sessions of nagging here and there to reel him into the chores. Now, he tries to do all the dishes, laundry and vacuuming before I get home. That’s not always possible because he can’t multitask like I do when I’m watching our son but he keeps it on his list even on weekends or after we are all in bed. 

The next thing that surprised me was that my patience improved. It took a few days of me crying and sleeping on the couch from being so angry, but he finally realized that I cannot be supermom with a full-time job, a toddler, two dogs, a husband and a second baby on the way. It was just not possible. This second pregnancy didn’t allow me to sleep or eat and once or twice I ended up in the hospital. My body was telling me it wasn’t possible to do everything I once did and I had to start listening before it started affecting my pregnancy and my sanity. He began cooking meals for me every day and tried at least five different methods to help me get more rest at night, from moving the television into our room to researching sleep aids and experimenting with our bedroom lighting. The first night I finally was able to sleep without waking up every two hours with anxiety or stress, I was so grateful that I told him he could play video games instead of watching TV with me. And within a few days I didn’t even bother to chastise him for the messy home our child had obviously been playing in all day. I was starting to tolerate all the things that used to drive me crazy because I was finally realizing they weren’t a big deal. 

The more I let go of the little things, the more willing my husband was to help with the big things. 

My mom stayed with us for a month to help me out, but for my husband it was just four weeks of constant judgment and insults. Yet, he would extend an olive branch each time my mom began acting petty and taking it out on me or my son. He drove her to appointments at 6 a.m. and took her to the airport at 2 a.m. He grilled for her when she said she had a craving for ribs. 

I had stopped complaining about date nights because I hated to be reminded of the fact that my husband didn’t care to think of these on his own. Yet one day he told me we were going to a basketball game and that his dad would be babysitting so I didn’t have to worry about any of the planning. I was so happy to be out of the house and doing something that didn’t drain me of all my mental energy that I agreed to let him travel without me next year to a video game event in Texas. 

You see, the more we started doing things for each other instead of putting ourselves first, the better each of us felt and it reflected in the way we spoke to each other and behaved around our son. When I stopped obsessing over the things that keep me calm, he started paying attention to those things for me and stopped obsessing over other things.

It’s never perfect (and he still doesn’t have the best memory) but all of these little things combined made a huge difference in our marriage. It didn’t give us the ideal marriage but it placed us in a position where we could better handle the challenges because we conditioned ourselves to think differently. We were not in permanent self-defense mode and we wrote rules that are still taped to our fridge which remind us of traps to avoid that might lead us right back to the selfish place we were:

1. No lying

2. No fighting in front of the child.

3. No insulting family members.

4. No complaining to others about marriage.

5. No condescending remarks. 

6. No threatening divorce. 

I’m no psychologist but it’s usually a few steps that land you straight into a pitfall and now that we are in a marriage where a kid who hasn’t brushed his teeth or a husband who hasn’t received physical attention doesn’t equal someone threatening divorce, it’s easier for each of us to pull our strengths together to make the most of a challenging but beautiful life. 

And the score cards? Well, those can stay tucked away at the bottom of the trash can. 

Susana Kuehne

Susana Kuehne is an engineer who writes to inspire others to lead a smarter and kinder life.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading

5 Tips For Dealing With a Toxic Mother-in-Law

In: Grown Children, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Woman frustrated with her mother in law

Many people admit to having difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships with their in-laws, however having a toxic mother-in-law can be especially tricky when balancing a relationship with your spouse. I have five simple tips that can help put you on a happier and healthier path when dealing with a toxic mother-in-law. 1. You don’t have to like your mother-in-law, or even be friends. Establish clear boundaries with your spouse. Let him know that it is OK for him to maintain a relationship with his mother without involving you. By doing this you can eliminate the pressure to please your mother-in-law;...

Keep Reading

To the Mother of My Son’s Future Wife

In: Grown Children, Inspiration, Kids, Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
marriage, wife, husband, grown children, www.herviewfromhome.com

To the mother of my son’s future wife, I’m in the midst of dirty diapers and temper tantrums, but I do have days where I think about the future and what it will look like for my son. I wonder who he will be, what he will do and probably most of all, who he will love. I wonder about the type of woman he will bring home to meet us one day. I have my own thoughts on the type of person I wish my son would fall in love with, but we all know that the heart wants...

Keep Reading

Sometimes the Middle Child Needs a Little Extra Love

In: Kids, Motherhood, Relationships
middle child mother www.herviewfromhome.com

Mamas, look after your middles. Those babies who are born second, third, fourth or so in the birth order. The ones who are sandwiched between the idolized older sibling and the teeny tiny baby who stole everyone’s hearts. They need you more than you know. They need a little extra love from time to time. A hug and a “good job” here and there just to remind them that nobody has taken their spot in your heart since you added to your family. Try to remember they weren’t given a choice of their place in the lineup. If given the...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.