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{3} of THIRTY

3. Describe your relationship with your spouse.

Wow. This is a really hard one for me. I've really been thinking a lot about this one and what I would want my kids to know about Jason and my relationship. Not to sound like Facebook here or anything but our relationship really should be labeled as "It's Complicated".

First and foremost, I have to say that we really do love each other. Despite how things might look or what our actions would speak to. For the last 3 1/2 years (and most of our relationship), we've really struggled. We've almost called it quits too many times to count. A lot of tears, and unforgivable things that we are trying to work through and forgive. Its actually really hard at this point to have any hope that we'll make it through, and I'm not typically one to say that. But we are trying and I have faith that working things out is the right thing to do. And we both love Brazos more than anything in this world (as will we love the new one coming into the family), and neither one of us could stand to be apart from him. As bad as it sounds, even if he's (they're) the only reason we stick it out, I think its a darn good reason as long as there's a chance.

In the beginning, it felt like pure perfection. I didn't know a relationship could be so fun and great. I really let myself relax and trust and truly be loved. But, those first months/year were filled with a lot of lies, insecurities, and half truths that I had no idea about. I was too naive to know the signs or questions to ask, and he was too scared to tell me. When all the truths came out, we were already married and baby on the way - not a great moment to think ending it was the best call. Plus, I stubbornly thought we could be fixed.

Right now, its a lot of ups and downs. The downs feel more prominent, only because we are coming off of a really bad low. The ups are getting better though and happening more often. He's getting help, I'm getting help. I was so desperate last summer that I got our families involved, which makes the decision to stay together really...difficult. Family and friends aren't happy with things but we are just doing what is best for our family. Well, trying anyway.

Back to the question - how would *I* describe my relationship with my spouse? At this moment, there is a lot of mistrust. I keep myself very protected and it kind of feels like a game. I'm always watching, waiting, anticipating. Calculating how he will react, how should I react. I have to keep my game face on all the time and I have to keep my psychiatrist hat on in all conversations and keep my emotional responses out. I feel like I'm always tip-toeing and juggling around all the emotional "time-bombs" that are lurking around every corner. All at the same time, trying to maintain a positive attitude about things. We only have our real conversations through text messaging - the ones where we need to discuss things. Its safer that way, to keep us from saying the nasty quips that you automatically want to lash out during disagreements. All the while, trying to remind myself that this is about my happiness too. Basically, its frustrating, exhausting, and scary. But when the good moments do swoop in, [and they do] its really great. On top of all the relationship hoopla that's going on, Jason is in school, with a full course-load, getting his doctorate, and I am working full time to support our family and for the most part, am a single parent.

So what do I say to my children? I am hoping that things will change by the time my children are old enough to ask these types of questions. I really want to tell them that all these really hard times were the best thing to happen to both of us and we have a great relationship to show for it and to provide as an example to them of what marriage should be. To show them that the really great things are working fighting for and working hard to get. That's my hope.

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