I will foot-pop forever for Sean. He’s my true love: forever and always.
I feel so blessed to share each day with my best friend: my husband, Sean. We first became an “item” during the Summer of 2005, later becoming husband and wife on May 3, 2008 (a beautiful day I’ll always remember and cherish).
While Sean and I have had so many wonderful, days full of much laughter and plenty of rainbows, I think it goes without saying that in spending over a decade in marriage: Sean and I have also journeyed through dark times as well. Our marriage has seen many seasons.
Our Journey: Full of Many “Seasons”
Sean’s and I have been thorough many seasons together as a couple. Seasons in all aspects.
When I say “annual seasons,” I mean those that are quite literally a result of the earth circling the sun. Those types of seasons have generally been easy for us to weather through. Particularly now that we live in California, where seasons are not as drastic and are generally pretty “easy” on us. For those who may be reading this and don’t know our full history, let me be clear: Sean and I have seen our fair share of harsh seasons growing up and living in the Midwest through for a quarter-century or so years, followed by a three-year period in New York. 😉
Despite having weathered through some pretty harsh (and long!) winters, I still stand firm in my belief that annual “seasons” are generally easier to weather through than other “seasons” encountered in life.
“Why,” you ask?
Well, in our experience, we were able to navigate through even the less-than-desired seasons without losing our minds (for us: that means winter…particularly during our time in MN, which were often long, drawn out, and harsh…at times, entailing 20-below-zero or sometimes colder temperatures!). Because they were inevitable and unavoidable; therefore, we were able to prepare ourselves, accept what came, and strive to make the most of whatever weather with which we were faced.
And, with the exception of the occasional Nor’easter, blizzard, near-hurrican-turned-tropical-storm, and earthquake, we knew what to expect and prepare ourselves for.
Also, what’s great about “annual seasons” is there is always something to look forward to in each season: such as the excitement of fresh blossoms of spring, apple and pumpkin picking in the fall, lake-time in the summer, or planned (and necessary) beach-destination trips to escape the winter blues. Even the harsh winter season holds promise and excitement, such as the nostalgia and traditions of the Christmas season, the first dusting of snow, and cozying up in front of a warm fire (for me: often book in hand).
Seasons of New Beginnings, Celebrations, and Plenty
The easiest and most enjoyable seasons to weather through have been those that bring excitement and promise: such as those of new beginnings, celebration, and plenty. Sean and I have had so many wonderful experiences and have built lasting memories together, of which I am SO thankful.
Our wedding and honeymoon, our welcoming fur-baby Chloe into our family. Our move and time spent in New York. Our move to our now “home” of San Francisco, where we’ve dug our roots down deep.
Our trips exploring different parts of the world (one of our favorite hobbies together as a couple). Such as week-end road-trips exploring the West Cost and various parts of wine country. Or international travel to places such as Japan, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, Greece, UK, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, and various places in the Caribbean. And trips to various parts of the US. We have a never-ending list of places to which we want to venture, and our passports are always ready and awaiting new stamps to symbolically match our passion for adventure and experiencing new cultures together.
The new friendships gained throughout the years, the welcoming of new babies (and fur babies!). Cherished memories made with our friends-made-family. Holidays and trips celebrated with family members and friends. Our creating “new” holiday traditions that are purely our “own.”
These are only some of the many things that jump to mind as I think about the joyous times together.
However, as I’m sure you can relate…
Life together is not a summation of one happy moment to the next. Life includes the “ups,” the “downs,” and the “somewhere-in-betweens.”.
As with any marriage, we have inevitably also found ourselves in the “not-so-desirable” seasons of life. The rough patches, the valleys. The dark periods. The seasons of lack.
Seasons of Hardship and Struggle
The hard seasons are often those you can’t plan for. Those you can’t see coming until they’re knocking at your door. Those wherein you may find yourself smack-dab in the middle and desperate to escape: circumstances that are unplanned, unexpected, and unrequested.
To name a few: seasons of heartbreak, loss, and health issues. Times of struggle, grief, sadness, depression, and anxiety. Seasons of financial hardship, loneliness, and emotional torment.
Sean and I have weathered through our fill of hard seasons. While we have had so many things to be thankful for – our years together have also been marked by the “valleys” and thin periods.
Misunderstandings between family members, lost friendships, the death of close family members and friends. An unexpected lay-off and tight-financial period during an economic downturn. Heartbreak, devastation, and grief as we have watched loved ones “come out” and attempt to embrace their previously hidden identities, only to be met with hate and cruelty in an often homophobic world.
Isolation and loneliness resulting from “remote” work-arrangements (in my previous role, a whole country separating me from my fellow work colleagues). Exhaustion and exasperation due to incredibly demanding work schedules (particularly for Sean, in the incredibly unpredictable and busy world of mergers and acquisitions). Health issues, infertility, the grueling process of adoption.
And the hardest, most grueling season of all: the past three years or so, as Sean and I have joined forces to wage war against my battle with anorexia (read more about that in my blog post: My Undoing: Ruined for Redemption).
We’ve also had many times where Sean and I do not see “eye-to-eye” or our own egos cause the other to experience strife (to put it kindly). I consider ourselves blessed in the fact that more often than not, Sean and I are genuinely happy together and are each other’s best ally. However, I want you to know that our marriage also has moments wherein we don’t “feel” loving toward one another. We, too, have had our many moments that never made the highlight reel of social media.
Hardships and trials are never easy; however, these are often times wherein we grow the most.
There are times wherein loving the other means selflessly putting one’s own interests on the back-burner and loving the other even when he/she doesn’t want to. It hasn’t been easy, but over the years, we have seen how selflessness, sacrificial love, and challenging seasons encourage our relational roots to grow deeper still. That is, if we are willing to put in the work and do not give in to our own selfish desires or claim defeat to the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
When challenges arise, instead of grumbling, complaining, and blaming, we do our best to work together to conquer them as a unified force. When we feel the desire to attack one another, we try to remember that we are on the same team: the enemy is not each other, but rather the challenge, circumstances, or attacks from the evil forces that we are up against.
When one falters, instead of lashing out at the other, it means offering loving correction and using assertive communication. When one’s feelings are hurt, it means discussing these feelings openly so they can be worked through, rather than grudgingly burying them. When one person needs extra support: it means the other is willing to offer it, even if it requires sacrifice. When one has a horrible day, it means the other is willing to offer loving comfort, even if he/she is tired, drained, and just wants a break.
Drought seasons are not easy, they’re never yearned for, and once they pass they are typically not pined after. However, the hard times together are often the times wherein Sean and I have grown closest. The challenges draw us closer to God, which in turn draws us closer to one another.
Instead of ruining us, the hard seasons our marriage has weathered through have actually been opportunities to strengthen us: both each individually and together as a couple.
Not in spite of it all, but because of it all: we are closer today than when we started our journey.
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I’m so happy to be Sean’s wife and closest companion. I can confidently say we will be together forever… ’til death do us part. Our love is a true love that I wouldn’t limit to “stand the test of time” – but instead, a love that will continue to grow richer and deeper.
Over the years, we’ve had our seasons. The good, the bad, the mundane. Throughout it all, one thing has remained true: my love and admiration for Sean.
I am so appreciative for my husband and the incredible support and selfless love he continuously provides me. Through thick and thin, through abundance and plenty. This man is my man forever.
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My Encouragement to You
My purpose in sharing this post about our marriage is to show you that while Sean and I are very much in love and cherish our relationship together, our marriage has not been (and is not, and never will be) perfect.
Also, if you are tempted to believe that my life is free of struggle or somehow more glamorous than your own, I want to be open about the fact that indeed…it is not.
My life – and Sean’s and my marriage – have seen some very real, very exhausting seasons. I share this with you so you can see living proof that it’s possible to go through very difficult, dark seasons (seasons that seemingly go on FOREVER and will not end). The tunnel through the challenging season you find yourself may in fact be very long and dark…but know this: there is always light at the end of it.
During hard seasons, support from others can be a saving grace. We’re meant to live in community and connection. The irony is seasons of struggle and hardship can tempt us to want to become recluses and isolate ourselves. Please, please, please – if this is where your current reality finds you, please seek out support from others. Family, friends, online support groups – anything. Just seek out connection, in whatever form it may be.
For me that entailed Sean, close family and friends, accountability partners, folks in my Bible study and church, support from various professionals in the area of mental health (e.g., therapist, intensive outpatient, a nutritionist, and various online support communities).
Remember: there’s no shame in asking for help. And you are not “weak” or a “burden” if you are in need of some assistance. Rather, I dare-say others (and hopefully you) will find it to be quite courageous.
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May you view challenges as opportunities for growth.
May you seek out gratitude in whatever season you face.
May you know you are fully loved and enough, just as you are.