I remember the day we got married.
As fast as the day went, I recall just trying to soak everything in, the butterflies, the tears of happiness, the laughter, and the love. There is something so profound in standing before God, your family, and friends, and creating a new journey… a life together as one.
We were kneeling on the alter, with his hands extended above us the priest said, “May God bless you abundantly with children.” That was one of the many blessings he bestowed upon us that evening. Looking back, this one stands out because we had no idea what would be in store for us when he said those words.
Eleven months later we found out we were expecting our first child. A beautiful baby girl! When she was born in July of 2012, we were overwhelmed with the love that parenthood brought to our lives. When I held that baby girl for the first time I felt an overwhelming love for her. What a miracle that the love between my husband and I could create something so perfect. When we got home and adjusted to our new life as a family of three it was definitely tough.
Fast forward 19 months later and our son was born February of 2014. Having two kids under two was a challenge, but we loved that they would grow up together and have a close-knit bond. Ten short months later we found out we were expecting…again. We started 2015 with a surprise like no other. Our first ultrasound showed we were expecting twins!
I remember getting in the car with my hubby that afternoon for the 45-minute drive home. Both of us were in complete shock. There was complete silence in the car. As my mind was racing about how our family was going from four to six my husband grabbed my hand to bring me back to the present. We knew our life was going in a very unique direction. We didn’t have all the answers that day, but we knew that God was calling us to this life and we had a great deal of comfort in that.
Since then, our marriage and lives have been a whirlwind. A whirlwind of love that I never knew could grow deeper, with struggles, successes, and a whole lot of diapers.
Here’s how having four kids in four years made our marriage stronger.
The saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work,” couldn’t be any truer in our home. With four little ones, we have to tag team pretty much everything…mornings, meals, playtime, chores, bath time, and bedtime stories. We either split the responsibilities or take turns. To stay on schedule and get everything accomplished in a timely manner, it takes both of us helping equally. It’s not a one man show. We’re in this together and it’s important not to forget to not only work together, but to grow together.
Give each other grace
All parents know how daunting it is to go with periods of not getting enough sleep. This and other life stresses can easily wear us down. We might say or do things we don’t mean. When tensions are high take a step back before engaging in the conversation. Our spouse might just need some time to themselves to decompress or even nap! Learning to give each other some grace has been one of the toughest yet rewarding things we can do for each other. “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2
Appreciating the small things
I’ve come to appreciate the small gestures that my spouse does on a daily basis. When you get married and have kids it’s so easy to get into a routine and a schedule. Many times, life becomes predicable. One thing I’ve learned is to appreciate the small everyday things that my husband does. I’m always sure to tell him thank you for washing the dishes after dinner, when he cuts the grass every week in the summer, when he changes diapers, and even takes the trash out. All these acts show me he truly loves and cares for me and our family. But it’s also important that I acknowledge them and show my appreciation for all that he does.
Sharing an extraordinary bond
These days our society considers four kids to be a “large” family. We’re so fortunate to have created this life together. Our life is unique and not very many people get to experience this. No one has walked in our shoes. These experiences together are something that has molded and bonded us. It’s important when we look toward the future not to forget what we’ve walked through as a couple.
One of the hardest things in life for most of us is to totally tear down the walls around our hearts. Having two C Sections back to back and then to realize we were carrying twins really scared me. I was worried about all the high risks that come with being pregnant with twins. I was anxious and wondered if my body could physically handle carrying them to term. Those fears grew, and I wondered if I was mentally and emotionally ready to handle life after the babies were born. When I told my husband my fears and really put myself out there, I felt like he began to really know where my fears were coming from. We were able to pray together, and asked God to watch over us. Once you are vulnerable and transparent with your spouse about your thoughts and fears it can bring your marriage to a deeper level.
Before we were married and talked about kids, I would joke that I would be the strict parent and my husband would be the fun one. I would envision my children asking me for a cookie. I would say no and then they would go ask dad. Of course, he would say yes, and even eat a cookie with them!
Fast forward to the present and I could not have been more wrong! The thing that I love most is that we stand united in everything we do, but especially with the kids. Standing united with the unending list of decisions we have to make shows our kids and others around us that we have a mutual respect for each other.
Having a good foundation for your family begins with your marriage. Make a decision to show up every day. If you find yourself in the trenches, fight like heck to dig your way out with your spouse. Remember that the struggles that you face together will only make your bond grow stronger.
Each season of life brings new blessings as well as challenges. Having these four babies has really rocked our marriage. It has made us appreciate the time we have together and not take it for granted. Whether it is a quick morning kiss, some time to talk and dream about the future, or just watching our beautiful family grow, I’ve come to cherish these times. We have a crazy life, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is better to have a partner than to go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. If one falls down the other helps. Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A triple braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Guest post by: Gretchen Dauzat
Gretchen Dauzat is a wife, mom to 4, entrepreneur, and writer. Her passion is to empower moms to realize, cultivate, and pursue their passions beyond motherhood. When not folding loads of laundry, you can find her having a dance party with her family or listening to a great audiobook. Follow her on Instagram at gretchendauzat.