Because we were so young when we got married, many people assumed one of two things: I was pregnant, or it wouldn't last. Just to clarify, I wasn't pregnant, and we knew our kind of love was the lasting kind. In fact, at that point, we didn't want children at all (as you can imagine this was a huge source of tension between us and those hoping we would make them grandparents). We knew we wanted to have a dog, but kids - no way (neither of us even knew how to keep plants alive at that point). For the first few years of our marriage, we lived in the smoky mountains of North Carolina. Mountain people are a totally different breed -- explaining our experience there would take up three blogs -- but we made friends (mostly imports like us and bachelors from my husband's work) and enjoyed our carefree lifestyle. We had two decent incomes and rent was cheap. We were in driving distance from the lazy beaches of Charleston, the exciting rat race of Atlanta, and the quirky hippie-ness of Asheville. We took advantage of these luxuries quite often. We went to music festivals, drank too many margaritas, went white water rafting, buried our feet in the sand, shopped until we dropped, listened to live music at bars until closing time, entertained friends often, and watched the mountaintops hide in the fog from a cozy seat on our front porch. Moving 16 hours away from our families taught us to depend on one another, to truly become one, and to work together as a team. I am so thankful for time we spent in North Carolina.
We eventually became dis enamored with the beauty of the mountains, a little less patient with the "Wizard of Oz" remarks, and a lot more homesick for the vast plains of Kansas. Kansas was always home, from the beginning we felt like we were only temporarily in North Carolina, and always made sure everyone knew we were from the Midwest. We prayed, plead, and prayed some more for the opportunity to come back home and God was faithful. God is always faithful. We moved to central Kansas and were absolutely thrilled to be only three hours from family. We instantly felt at home in this quaint little town. We quickly bought a house, I enrolled in cosmetology school, and we adopted Daisy. We still had no desire to become parents. Our Daisy was plenty. Owning a house proved to be much more expensive than we were used to, and, especially while I was in school, it took some major adjusting to get used to a new, more limited, lifestyle. We made it through, and my engineer husband made me several 'cost analysis spreadsheets' to help me understand why we couldn't spend money the way we used to. I told him I appreciated his efforts but that I would stab him in the eye with a spoon if he made me look at one more spreadsheet. I later apologized.
I graduated from cosmetology school and landed a job at what I was told was the best salon in town. Again, it would take three blogs for me to explain to you exactly why this was absolutely not the best salon in town -- I'll just be nice for now and say I'm thankful for the opportunities it provided me and even more thankful to not be employed there anymore. It's interesting the amount of strain a horrible work environment can put on a marriage. I generally left work in tears and was too physically and emotionally exhausted to offer any kindness to my poor husband. I am so thankful that he stood by my side during that awful season. He deserves an award. Really he does.
I finally decided to leave my job but was locked into a contract (do not ever sign a non-compete contract with your employer) and couldn't work in another salon in the county. Briefly I worked out of town but gas was so expensive that I, with a heavy heart, left the beauty industry and wound up working in the medical records department at an outpatient mental health facility. While I missed my clients and the artistic freedom my work used to allow me, it was so nice to finally be working normal hours, to have weekends off, to be able to eat dinner with my husband, and to not have the drama of a terrible job weighing me down... weighing us down. It was at this point that we joined our church and made the choice to put each other first, not carreers, not selfish needs, but each other.
Be on the lookout for Marriage and Motherhood: Part 2. And remember... you're In Good Company.