Tag Archives: marriage

Talking the Talk

When you have two toddlers, it’s hard to find time to talk — really, really talk — with your partner. I mean, Mr. B and I talk. We talk about our days. We talk about our budget. We talk about our weekend plans. But we don’t really talk about The Big Stuff. You know, the stuff we used to talk about pre-kids. Or, really, pre-marriage.

There’s a special kind of conversation that takes place when you’re in the first chapter of a relationship — The Big Stuff. Hopes. Fears. Dreams. Goals. These kinds of conversations are the stuff relationships and new love are made from. The results of these conversations are, to a certain extent, the reason you fall in love with someone.

At least, that’s how it worked for me.

Mr. B and I used to have the most fantastic conversations. Some of this was due to the way we fell in love with each other — online, through late-night conversations via text, chat, email and, sometimes, even phone calls. Working opposite shifts and living in different cities made conversation a crucial building block in our relationship. Looking at us now, I’m certain you’d never believe we once stayed up until 4 a.m. just walking the streets talking. (Shocking, I know! I mean, just yesterday we called it a night and went to bed at 9:30 after I woke up to the sound of Mr. B snoring on the couch next to me.)

Want further proof we used to young and fun once — staying up until all hours, playing dress up and just being plain silly?

All this to say that Mr. B and I have been talking lately — about more than what’s for dinner. But, to be honest, we do talk about that a lot. And breakfast, too. Because breakfast is really important.

Communication can be tough — marriage can be tough. And I think Mr. B and I have had to work at it harder in the last six months than we ever have. (It certainly doesn’t help that I’ve been dealing with mental health issues of my own.) So much about our life together has been about the kids — what’s going on with them, what they’re currently getting into in the other room, what they need — that, not only have we neglected ourselves as individuals, we’ve neglected ourselves as a couple.

We’re working hard to change that. And part of that is talking more. Real, purposeful talking — setting aside time to actually have a conversation with each other that can’t be interrupted by a needy kid (or one who’s so stinkin’ cute we have to drop everything we’re doing and just marvel at our little creation).

Some of the conversations are ugly — because no matter how much I try to work on my emotional intelligence, all of my feelings look like tears. And some of the conversations are really, really beautiful — how life-giving is it to have someone open his soul wide up and share his biggest, pie-in-the-skyiest dream with you?

We talk about how we can do better as partners, as parents. We talk about where we want to be in five weeks, five months and five years. We talk about our next chapter, our next home. We talk about reindeer and children’s books and coffee and hammocks. We talk about what our future together looks like — and what our future as individuals looks like. And, yes, of course we talk about our kids.

As we spend more time talking — and making real conversation a priority — we’re getting better at it. We’re rediscovering that warm feeling we had in the beginning when we were connecting on a different plane. Communication is starting to flow more smoothly and happen more spontaneously. But, like everything, it’s definitely taking practice and a little patience as we dust the rust off.

I can already tell that things between us are starting to click a little better. We’re reconnecting to the “we” we used to be — with the addition of at least one fun new topic to add to our conversations:

The kids



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Flashback Friday: Six Months Ago Today

Some wedding shots

I never tire of looking through our wedding pictures. They are perfect reflections of the immense amounts of joy and love we were feeling that day.

Six months ago I married the kindest, strongest, most generous man I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. And I am so blessed, and so honored, to call him “husband.”

An excerpt of the vows I gave Mr. B that day:

I wasn’t expecting you. I couldn’t possibly have planned for you. If I were writing this love story, I probably couldn’t have written you. But you have been the most welcome blessing and gift of chance that I have ever received ….

You have come into my life and helped me write a happily ever after that I didn’t know could exist …

I fell in love with your gentleness, your kindness. And with those warm, welcoming arms of yours that have come to mean home …. Bobby, where I am weak you are strong. And when I struggle to be the person I want to be, you hold me up ….

I look forward to living many more adventures for many, many years to come with my partner, my best friend and the love of my life by my side. I can’t promise it’s always going to be fun. I can’t promise it’s always going to be easy. But I can promise that there will always be love. And gummy bears ….

You know that I’m a little obsessive when it comes to planning and looking at all the “what ifs” before moving forward. But with you? To quote myself the day after I met you, “ … all I want to do is jump and dance and dive right in.” I can’t wait to jump and dance and dive with you. (Mr. B), I am so glad it’s you. I love you. So big.

My love for this man grows bigger, deeper, stronger every day. I’m so lucky — and so very happy — that he is my partner in life. For always. And forever.


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Save the Last Plank for Me

Quite possibly the question I’ve heard most over the past three months is “How’s married life?” (Well … maybe the one I’ve heard second most often, after “When are you going to start having kids?”*)

Well, let me tell you: Mr. B and I are settling into our married routine quite nicely.

Because Mr. B and I work opposite shifts, we don’t have a ton of time together. But we make the most of that time, filling it with very exciting and adventurous things.

  • Laundry
  • Dishes
  • Grocery shopping
  • Taking care of the needy kids cats
  • Budgets
  • Watching the Lions

As much as that sounds boring to some — and as much as I joke about our lives being one big adventure — it’s what I’ve wanted since the second I met Mr. B. I wanted a life with him. Where we had the “fun” stuff and the run-of-the-mill boring life stuff. Where we could build a home together. Where we could be part of each other’s lives. Where we could create our family — in whatever form that may take. Where we could just … well … be.

Out for a walk

Out for a walk with my Mr. B.

That’s not to say it’s all chores and list-making. There are a lot of lovely walks and cups of coffee and breakfasts in bed and PDAs and snuggly nights watching movies where Mr. B watches movies and I fall asleep on him.

It’s exactly what “married” means to me.

One of my favorite family “traditions” we’ve sort of stumbled into is our Sunday gym date. Every Sunday, we wake up and eat breakfast in bed. Then we put on our gym clothes and head out for a little weight-lifting session at the gym. We warm-up on the ellipticals, side-by-side. Then a quick smooch and we head our separate ways. He does his thing; I do mine.

Once we’ve finished, we meet one more time for our end-of-the-workout tradition: The Last Plank.

And then we go home. To our home.


Sweaty, obligatory post-gym photo

I feel incredibly blessed to have a husband who not only is supportive of my health and fitness efforts — but really understands the importance of my training, whether it’s a two-hour run on a Saturday morning or an hour-long session in the gym. (I think because he probably knows it makes me a happier person — though I doubt he’d ever admit to knowing that.)

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” ~Elle Woods, “Legally Blonde”

What’s more, he’s fully participating in his very own health and fitness efforts, meaning it’s one other thing we can share — and another way we can support each other. We each have our own goals, and we’re both working on them — separately and together.

While the only person who can make a change in your life is yourself, it sure does help to have someone on your side, cheering you on and loving you no matter what.

So, yeah, married life is everything I ever expected it to be. Oh, heck, it’s even better than I could have ever imagined. How could it not be? I have this amazing man by my side:

A honeymoon smooch

A honeymoon smooch

*To answer this question while I’m at it: In due time.


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On Being Married

Mr. and Mrs. B

One of my very favorite wedding photos.

Mr. B and I are coming up on three weeks married. And, clearly, that makes us experts on marriage.

Or not.

Really, can anyone ever be an expert on marriage?

In fact, it’s still weird to think about being someone’s wife, having a husband, being married. I mean, my gosh, I’m a “Mrs.”

And every time I get another piece of mail with my new name on it, I hide it away because it still looks weird. Mom says it will always look weird. But a weird I’ll get used to, I suppose. If someone were to call me by my married name, I doubt I’d answer. Yet.

Mr. B and I are still settling into our life together. He’s just started a new job, and we’re still working on merging our two separate homes to create our new “together home.” So there’s a lot to do until we really feel like we’re settling into our routine instead of two separate routines that happen to pass in the night.

But, in the short three weeks we’ve been married, some things have become very clear:

  • Two people make a lot more dirty laundry than one person
  • What is annoying to one person is not the same thing that’s annoying to another person — and vice versa
  • “Decorating” can, apparently, mean two different things
  • Two people make a lot more garbage than one person
  • Being married is sometimes nighttime snuggles and whispering sweet nothings, sometimes it’s waking up to a clogged toilet and a note on the toilet seat that says “don’t use the toilet, it needs to be plunged and I didn’t want to wake you to find the plunger”*
  • Compromise is important — even when it comes to what brand of toilet paper to buy
  • Grocery shopping just got A LOT more interesting
  • My wardrobe just doubled! (Yes, I’m writing this post on the couch, snuggled up in Mr. B’s T-shirt and wearing his socks to keep my toesies toasty. Shhh … don’t tell him.)

And, most importantly:

  • Life truly is better — and a lot more fun — with my best friend, the love of my life, by my side
spinning at wedding

He can always make me laugh.

*Still feel bad about that, Mr. B

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A Look Back

On my run tonight, I was partially distracted. With thoughts of weddings and babies (not yet, though), family and friends. And then my thoughts drifted to our love story — how it came to be, how it continues to unfold. And I was led to revisit some of those early memories of this relationship that has forever changed my life — in the best way possible.

I keep a separate, private blog where I write more personal posts for myself. In it, there are years and years of history. Of love and a broken heart. Of happiness and sadness. But, most importantly, it is home to the chronicle of my relationship with Mr. B — and all of the thoughts (overthinking) that went along with it in the early days.

Mr. B and Me

One of our first pictures together … he told me he didn’t like to have his picture taken. Funny, I couldn’t get him to stop smiling for the camera.

When I looked back over some of those posts today, I find it very obvious that this love was the one my life was meant to have. Take these posts from Sept. 25 last year (the day after I met Mr. B):

  • I just want to stay in bed all day, knowing that (most likely) nothing that happens today can top yesterday.
  • It Is a lot easier to open your heart to new, exciting adventures when it’s not full of resent and sadness. Learning how to forgive and move on is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
  • Today makes me grin. Ear. To. Ear.
  • Sometimes things happen that are so good I don’t talk about them. I just want to keep the goodness to myself.

And then there was the post that I wrote as I was sitting in the airport, on my way to London for a week, shortly after meeting Mr. B:

  • In the span of one week, I had two first dates. One was, meh. One has turned into something that feels almost magical. I almost don’t recognize myself — skipping and humming and daydreaming.
  • My stomach hurts all the time, like I just want to throw up — are these the “butterflies”?
  • With about 300 emails back and forth and countless hours on the phone and texting, I know more about this man in the span of three weeks than the one I dated for three years and shared a home with.
  • I’m a planner, a list-maker, a look-before-you-leaper, and all I want to do is jump and dance and dive right in.
  • This trip to London, this one-week hiatus from this whirlwind experience is both sad and welcome. I’ll miss the morning phone calls and the last “good nights” but I think the space, the time to think will be good.
  • Is it possible to like someone this much so soon? Is this kind of a connection real, or is it going to fade faster than a firefly? Does it matter? Why can’t I just enjoy the ride while it lasts — no matter how long that will be?

And then there was the post I wrote on Oct. 10 — the first time Mr. B made his appearance on my blog.

After years of wishing my life could be better, I found myself wonderfully content exactly where I was — blessed anew every morning I woke up, able to have another day.

And then something happened that knocked me off my feet. Something that stopped my life and completely changed the game. I met Mr. B. Funny how when you truly care for yourself, you open yourself up to be cared for by someone else. Not because you need it but because you are worth it.

I truly believe that when you send love out into the world, it’s returned to you — 5-, 10-, 15-fold. Now, I’ve given my fair share of love into the world. But this? It certainly feels like more than my 15-fold.

So here I sit, just a month after meeting the person I never knew I should be looking for, wondering how it all happened. Life is moving fast — spinning and turning and sweeping me up. This list-maker, spreadsheet-lover, day-planner-adorer is finding herself lost in the moment. She’s trying hard to stay out of her head and live life as it comes. It’s throwing her off balance and taking her outside of her comfort zone. But you know what? It’s the best feeling in the world.

It’s funny. Mr. B still makes my heart skip a beat when I see him after a long week apart, the world spinning under my feet until he sweeps me up in his arms in that first “welcome home” hug.

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The Name Game

I have never wanted to change my last name. Born a Warren, always a Warren. And I wear the name with pride. It’s my family’s history, and our roots run deep. I’ve always loved that I can walk into a farm show anywhere in the Midwest and hear someone say, “You’re a Warren, aren’t you?” And it is with pride and a true sense of honor that I say, “Yes, yes I am.”

And I’ve always been pretty certain in one thing: I would not change my name when I got married. Whomever I married would become my partner, and we would create a life together — but I wanted to hold on to that connection to who I’ve always been. My name was a major plot element in my story.

The naming of kids never really came into play because, quite honestly, at that point, I’d had my fill of kids. I grew up in a daycare home, and was an aunt by the time I was 10. And now I have 13 nieces and nephews and one great-nephew. For a 31-year-old, that’s a lot. And it kinda kidded me out.

But then something changed.

I started thinking about having kids. One day. Some day. Because, who was I kidding?, I love kids way too much. They make life … well … better. Even on their worst days.

And then, I met a man I couldn’t think of spending my life without. And I wanted to make a family with him, to build a life with him. To share something with him that I’d never shared with anyone before.  And I wanted to write a new story with him, as Mr. and Mrs. B.

Decisions, Decisions

Deciding to change my name wasn’t an easy decision. And it most certainly wasn’t one I took lightly. I mean, not only is it how I’ve defined myself for 31 years, it’s a lot of paperwork. (And I have so much beautiful “W” stationery that soon will have no home in my stationery box.) Quite honestly, it shocked me when I realized that the pro list of changing my name heavily outweighed the con list. Admittedly, I’d be lying if I said that moving way up in the alphabet wasn’t a factor in the decision.

One of the biggest items on that list, though? I want to share the same name as my children and my husband. And, truth be told, hyphenated names have always sorta stressed me out. For no specific reason. Other than I’m weird.

And giving up my middle name and making my maiden name my new middle name? Out of the question. Because when my parents chose my middle name, they made magic happen.

Let me assure you, I am making this decision to change my name all by myself. This decision is mine and mine alone. There is no pressure from Mr. B — if there were, we probably wouldn’t be together anyway. I know what he would prefer, and I know what I think about the situation. And what I’ve decided doesn’t make him love me any less. To be sure, whether I change my name or keep it the same has no bearing on how “equal” my relationship is with Mr. B. And it won’t make me any less of a woman or daughter or wife or mother or sister or friend or human or feminist.


Someone asked me if I see myself changing who I am as I enter this new chapter of my life’s story, as I become Mrs. B. And, to be honest, I do. I see myself becoming someone new. Because every single day I am becoming someone new. And every single chapter of my life is being written as I live it, to make a whole, complete human story. I should be changed by my experiences — we ALL should be. My past, my present, my future are all part of me and of who I am, who I will be. And the person I am today is different from the person I will be tomorrow. No, my core beliefs and values won’t change; the essence of who I am won’t change.

The same is true for Mr. B. Just because he’s not changing his name doesn’t mean he’s not going to change. Because we both are; we’re both going to change as our lives change together. And we’re committed to growing and to changing together.

Just as I will become a wife, a partner and (hopefully) a mother, Mr. B will be becoming a husband, a partner and (hopefully) a father. And we’ll do that whether I’m Mrs. B or Ms. W.

What’s In A Name?

Am I sad that I will no longer carry my family’s surname? I am. But I am so very happy about the beauty of carrying all that my family has given me into the new arm of my family I will build with Mr. B.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
~”Romeo and Juliet”

Changing my name doesn’t make me any less a Warren, just as not carrying my mother’s maiden name doesn’t make me any less a Wilson. And changing my last name doesn’t strip me of the eyelashes that I inherited from my dad or change the way my squinkle nose makes me look just like my mom. It doesn’t change the way my brothers will always be able to make me laugh or how my sisters will always be my best friends. It doesn’t make me any less proud of my nieces and nephews when they prove what kind, caring and beautiful human beings they are becoming.

My name is part of me, sure. But it doesn’t define me or who my family is. Because, as I said: Once a Warren, always a Warren.

My Family

My life is overflowing with love and family, and changing my name — or not — changes none of it.

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