‘We got pregnant before marriage. I was told, ‘Your marriage is going to fail.’ I felt hopeless. I told my husband, ‘I just can’t continue anymore.’  

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“My husband and I never had the luxury of knowing what marriage would have been like before kids. While we were dating, we found out that we were pregnant very early on. Right away, life as we knew it changed forever.

Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver
Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver

There were no hot dates and passion. I only knew marriage as my husband holding my hair back as I struggled with extreme morning sickness. I only knew marriage as preparing for a new life, life as the three (now four) of us. Instead of spending quality time with my husband, I know, all too well, the days of sprinting inside to get the screaming hoodlums into the bath while my son finds these moments as prime opportunity to rush ahead of us and pee beside the potty.

My marriage with my husband has always included my children. Sometimes, I wonder what it would have been like to travel, to not feel nauseated from pregnancy on my wedding day. I wonder what it would have been like to be financially prepared for children, or prepared for children at all. But the life we have created has been so uniquely ours and I wouldn’t change it for the world (although I would’ve loved for wedding photos that do not include a baby bump).

Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver
Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver

We were told by some, ‘Your marriage is going to fail.’ That we were setting ourselves up for it. After all, we started out with more stress than other relationships. But that is also the reason why we have the strong bond we do today. My husband and I knew the work we would have to put into not only raising a family together, but not letting the stress of our life being on the fast track tear us apart. We were first parents in a marriage, but before marriage we were lovers.

I remember one Christmas breaking down on the floor and telling my husband, ‘I just can’t continue anymore.’ Money came out of our bank account that we did not plan for and we had to put off purchasing our family Christmas tree. Finances were tight and we had recently gone through a miscarriage. I felt like I was not giving my children the life they should have. In that moment, I felt hopeless and trapped.

So, my husband went into our bedroom and found the loose change that he had been collecting for a few years. He exchanged it for cash and came home with a bottle of champagne, and enough to go the next morning and purchase a Christmas tree. He never stopped fighting for me, he never stopped loving me despite my doubt in that moment. He met me where I was and continued to promise me that no matter what we went through, our family would always be his biggest priority. It is in those dark and challenging moments that we chose each other and remembered our vows. Because of those hard moments, I love my husband deeper.

Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver

My husband isn’t perfect, and neither am I, but he has always been so amazing at the little things. Planning big trips, fancy dates, gift giving. Love notes on the kitchen counter beside a cup of coffee to greet me in the mornings, a bottle of wine beside a pallet on the floor for movie nights, cooking my favorite meal for my birthday, cleaning his pores with me at night. He is great about finding time for me and loving me in the simple ways. When you are parents to 2 under 2, you have to get creative.

Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver

Since marrying Evan, Valentine’s Day has been one of my favorite days out of the year. He does the same thing each year because he knows it’s what I love. He puts a roast in the slow cooker before leaving for work in the morning, along with a sweet note and money telling me to take myself and the kids to Starbucks. In those notes, he always talks about his appreciation for me and what I do for him and the kids. Those little letters always make me feel seen.

Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver

Valentine’s Day is the one day a year I manage to shower, curl my hair, and put on makeup (mom life). We never plan on going anywhere, but it’s still fun to get dressed up for our date night in. My husband comes home with flowers for my daughter and I. He always hands them to my son to give to me. Once we put the kids to bed, we eat our pot roast together and watch movies. It’s a very simple day, but we love it all the same. What I love so much about that day is it reminds me that everyday can be that way. We can always feel that connected because we bond over the little things.

Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver
Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver

I have come to realize that marriage and parenting are very similar. When you say goodbye to one season, you are entering into another. You will have seasons of rest and seasons of challenge. Both take 100 percent dedication. But fill your heart with an unspeakable amount of love. Both at times make you question your sanity.

My husband and I were both unlikely parents. We never imagined when we were dating that this would be the path that our relationship would take. But, I thank God for the challenges and the people that we became through them. Because of those challenges I am wife, a mother, and so very loved.”

Courtesy of Ashleigh Beaver

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashleigh Beaver of Matriarchs and Maids. You can follow her journey on Instagram here. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Read more from Ashleigh:

‘No, mommy. You obey ME!’ My son was LOSING. HIS. MIND. Tears were flowing, arms flailing. He threw his sandwich on the ground in protest. All I could think was, ‘I’m failing.’

‘Everyone poops during labor,’ she warned. It was my first time. I couldn’t stop asking questions. ‘Is it normal my water hasn’t broken yet?’ ‘Should I push? When do I push?’

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