If y'all have followed my blog long enough, you already know some of the marriage struggles Nick and I faced when we lived in Massachusetts. I like to call that phase of our marriage the "7 year itch". It's real y'all! Mix the "7 year itch" with the stress of getting out of the Marine Corps, losing half our income because of it, having a new baby, and moving a strange, unfamiliar (and cold) place...it was a recipe for disaster. I think it was the lowest point in our marriage thus far (and with a lifetime ahead of us, I'm sure there will be many more lows). I remember driving 45 minutes to Boston in the middle of the night from my quiet suburban home with Mattis in just a diaper and Dannika half asleep to go yell at Nick. Yell at him for getting drunk at a work function. Yell at him for not coming home. I remember driving to his office in fury, in the cold, with both my kids at 1 (maybe 2) in the morning with every intention of causing hell. I remember showing up at his office at Boston University (Mattis in just a diaper in my arms and Dannika behind me) and seeing him passed out on the floor wreaking of booze. I angrily woke him up (probably kicked him). Instead of the conversation I had envisioned in my head on the drive there, he was too drunk to have a coherent conversation with me. Instead, I left his office with a drunken promise from him that he'd be home in the morning, and a broken heart.
He came home the next morning as promised, and we sat on the floor in our kitchen and talked. We realized our marriage needed repair, and I needed repair. I hadn't realized how much getting out of the Marine Corps had damaged my ego and my pride. I went from being a Staff NCO in charge of Marines to feeling like the most insignificant person in the world. I learned later that this is a common feeling most veterans go through when they exit the service.
Marriage is tough, and it's not everything you always see on my social media. I think Nick and I have an amazing marriage, and a strong foundation to get us through the tough times. After our low point, Nick and I decided to do counseling. I did counseling for myself and dealt with the issues I had with my "identity loss" from being a Marine to a "house wife". We did couples counseling together to work through our issues. I basically resented Nick for getting to live the life I used to live, and he was feeling guilty because of it.
One of the things that Nick and I did to reconnect during this time was just have coffee together every morning before he went to work and before the kids were up. That meant getting up at 4AM every morning. We are morning people, but 4AM is still rough. We chose the early mornings vice the evenings because it is easier to wake up than to stay up (when you're tired). Those mornings were my favorite. We prayed together, for each other, and we just had coffee and talked about whatever. We slowly began to reconnect, and I honestly believe our marriage has never been stronger since then.
When we moved to Texas, we were in such a great place in our marriage that we have just sorta "forgot" to continue nurturing our marriage. When things are good, it's easy to forget to maintain. We are still in a GREAT place, but I want to make sure we stay where we are. I decided to start a couples bible study book together for the New Year. Nick and I decided to wake up early every morning like we used to, drink coffee, pray, talk, and do our bible study together.
I chose this book by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke.
I read a book by Jefferson Bethke a while ago called "Jesus > Religion", and I absolutely loved it.
This book is one of the best books I've read that is relateable to the "modern day Christian".
He's not so "grandpa's church", but he's also not "Cheesy mega church Joel Osteen" either.
He's real, compassionate, loving, and tells the truth.
It's the reason why I chose to do this book with Nick.
I plan on blogging about it, and letting y'all know my thoughts about it so keep up!
I'm really excited to be doing this!
Oh, and as far the "First Kill" part of the title of this blog...
Dannika shot her first deer...all by herself....no help from Nick...