My wife and I have a newborn, and even though it’s our third child, we still don’t have parenthood figured out. Each of our children has been different — they’ve required different tricks to get them to sleep, get them to nurse and force gas out of their bodies (this is probably too much information, but I’ve never been so happy to hear burps and farts in my life).
We actually had a low-grade degree of fear at the prospect of having a third child —so much that we waited four years before trying. Our fears weren’t unfounded. We knew how a baby would turn our lives upside down, inconvenience us and sometimes bring out our worst. But we did it anyway — thank God.
Once our son arrived it was just as hard as we remembered, but it was worth it. He’s ours, and it’s not an option to pass off the responsibility to anyone else. Might as well make the best of it; he’s not going anywhere. And as we’ve surrendered to the inconveniences of our new reality, it’s helped us relax, love and learn to be okay with someone needing us so much.
I think marriage is like child-raising for a lot of people. There’s so much fear associated with it.
What if I marry the wrong person?
What if I lose my attraction for my spouse?
What if this slows down my career?
What if somebody better comes along?
What if the romance dies after a couple of years?
Sure, all of these scenarios are possible, but with love comes risk, and it’s a risk you promise not to run from. It’s like adopting a new person into your family, but instead of bringing in a new child, you introduce a new spouse. And you and your spouse become responsible for raising a newborn marriage, with all its growing pains, inconveniences and intrusions into your life.
If you seek and find the pathway to marriage, it will require a certain recklessness, a willingness to disregard the possibility that your vows will turn your life upside down. There’s no way around it — it really will radically change your life, and that’s okay. As we surrender to the difficulty of uniting with our new adopted family member, God’s grace will help us grow in our ability to relax, love and learn to accept someone needing us so much.
Photo credit: Carrie Dorian Photography