I married my exact opposite. I know they say that's a thing, that opposites attract. It really doesn't make much sense to me since it seems more likely that two people who are similar would be more suited for one another. I'm a spender and he's frugal. I love getting gifts and he thinks that me not spending money on a gift for him is a great gift. He can think about what shoes to buy for a week and I've ordered two pair by the time you finish this sentence. He is patient and I'm impulsive. He can't remember a darn thing and I can't seem to forget anything. He's a staunch republican and I'm somewhere in the middle, leaning left. There are days I wonder what on earth drew us to one another. Honestly, it's hard to tell sometimes.
We have been married for almost 6 years and now share our lives with an amazing toddler. Being parents has changed our relationship a lot. Like most parents, our focus is no longer primarily on ourselves, but on the little human we made. That has changed the dynamic of our marriage more than I expected, making it necessary to put forth a whole lot of extra effort to keep it afloat. It seemed easy to stay close when we could do what we wanted whenever we chose to. Now, we have to plan and arrange and think way ahead.
It might sound like I'm unhappy in my marriage, and you might be right, though not in the way you think. Certainly, there have been times (or weeks or months) where I've been unhappy with my husband and my marriage, but if marriage has taught me anything at all, it's that this thing is not all about me. I find it so easy to blame any unhappiness I feel on my husband. He doesn't take me out enough or he isn't listening well enough or he doesn't do the dishes enough. What I have come to learn is that any of those things may be true, but the real problem is not what he is or isn't doing, it's that I'm trying to balance all of my happiness and fulfillment on his shoulders. That's a burden my husband was never meant to carry. This marriage thing wasn't intended to make me happy and to fulfill those young girl dreams of being in a state of bliss at all times. That sounds harsh, I know. We want marriage to make us happy and fulfill all our needs, it's just not meant to. If all goes well, those things can certainly be a byproduct, but it's not the cure for those things nor should our marriages be the only place we search for them.
As far as I can tell, marriage is supposed to make us better. It's supposed to cause us to grow, to draw nearer and go deeper. Those places are messy and those places are really hard, but that is where you will find growth and redemption. Marriage points us to the One who made it, who showed it to us in it's truest form, on the cross. Marriage really is death. It's death to selfishness. That is such a hard lesson to learn. Every day I'm reminded of how selfish I am and the rest of my life won't be enough time to rid me of it. If anything, I feel more selfish now than I did when we were first married. It's a wonderful blessing that I have such a patient and gracious person for a spouse because I'm hoping that in another 6 years from now, I've moved at least an inch in the right direction. No doubt we will have weathered some storms together by that time and with great success I hope, with the breath to tell the story.
(note: if you're going through a rough patch, please reach out to someone. Whether it's a friend or family member, talk it through. If you don't have anyone you feel you can talk to, send me an email. I'd love to talk it through with you. This marriage thing is really hard, let's do it well together.)
Since I've started writing this blog, my marriage seems like it's healthier. I can only attribute the success to our commitment to eating dinner together, free from distractions. I look forward to the time we get to connect with one another. It's a really special time for us and has allowed us to feel closer to one another. So, make your spouse some tacos, put the phones away and talk. It will make a difference, even if a slow one.
butternut squash tacos
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- a couple pinches freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/4 large red onion, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Tapatio (or more if you want more heat)
- 1 cup of cilantro leaves, torn
- 8 small corn tortillas
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
- Toss the butternut squash with the paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and oil. Spread it out evenly on the foil lined baking sheet and bake until well browned, about 45 minutes to an hour. Shake the pan to toss the squash a couple times during the cooking time.
- Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise with the Tapatio and set aside. (I realize mayonnaise on tacos sounds pretty weird, but it just adds a little bit of a cool and creamy. It's delicious, but feel free to use sour cream or leave it out completely!)
- When the squash is done, heat a skillet over medium high heat and quickly heat up the tortillas.
- To assemble, place two tortillas on each of four plates. Spread a dollop of spicy mayo on each tortilla, topping with a handful of squash, a sprinkle of avocado and onion. Top with some cilantro and feta. Add a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and a dash of Tapatio if you'd like a little more spice.
Note: if you have extra squash left over (you likely will) you can toss it into a salad for lunch the next day, or put it in a scramble for breakfast with a little goat cheese. You can also make these portable frittatas and swap out the sweet potato for the butternut squash.