weighty words and late night ramblings

I'm having trouble sleeping.  I go through waves, sometimes months, sometimes weeks, where I have trouble getting to sleep.  Tonight I laid awake thinking about that final conversation Brandon and I had before we (he) drifted.  It wasn't the best of conversations, and I was leading it.  We were both tired, it was late, it was not the time to be having the conversation that I wouldn't let end.  All the while he's saying the usual bit "it'll be better in the morning," "we are both tired," "I love you so much.  too much."

I'm glad he's sleeping.  Maybe a bit jealous.  I wish I could jump in his dream.  But I can't, so instead I'm wearing his maroon bathrobe and my granny glasses (that I once thought a wise purchase) that are so large the lines on the computer screen bow, and am writing this.

among other things that are keeping me up (a test I'm bound to fail tomorrow, doctors appointments I don't want to schedule, thank you cards that must be written) a conversation I had with a classmate keeps finding it's way back.

We don't know each other well.  It's a once a week class in a subject I could care less about, but we were walking in the same direction so I made conversation.  When the question of "what next?" turned to me, my answer was a pathetic mumble of "well....plan a...would love to...but...my husband.....or plan z...but....could be moving.....grad school?.....it's complicated".  He responded that he hated seeing people give up their dreams because a spouse was involved.  we came to our fork in the road and parted directions, we even shook hands first (?).  But that was that.  My spouse was getting in the way of my dreams.

the truth is, my dreams change.  and it's probably a good thing they do.  I no longer have the slightest desire to be a prima-ballerina, the first woman president, or a shrink.  They've all been big big dreams.  accomplishments, success, leadership.  ya know, "it girl" dreams.

I guess the difference of my dream now is I just want to be "his girl".  k, before this gets all sappy sap let me say: marriage has been the hardest thing in my life so far.  I often look around and think "maybe it's just us.  everyone else seems to be so good at this."  But the more likely truth is, we mostly see the pretty side of people's lives.  Marriage does something unnatural to you.  We are wont to live singular lives, it's the natural way.  We look out for ourselves, our interests, we make dreams that start with "I".  Marriage forces two individual to merge dreams.  Sometimes it works out smoothly like "oh, you like shopping at DI? Me too!" sometimes it's weird, for example, I became a baseball fan.  practically overnight.  Sometimes it's competitive: we still can't agree on a paint color for the hallway.  And sometimes it's impossible.  my life was going this way, his life was going that way.  So do we pick a place in the middle?  Jump back and forth between two destinations?  Do a 180?  sacrifice seems like a weighty word, but it's fitting.  sacrifice is what it takes.  and sacrifice is what I want to give it.  When I take a step back and evaluate (usually after a nice de-tox bath provided by a desperate husband in hopes to soak some sense into me) I realize our quarrels are typically about 1 thing: the stubbornness of not wanting to give up the other person's dream.

I don't know how to navigate this.  I don't have the answers.  But I'll control what I can control and know what I know.  And what I can control is whether or not I love him and what I know is that I do.

photo credit: Matt Clayton


  1. claire, you are right. i've learned that as well. sacrifice is what it takes. sometimes things just work out the way you both want it to, but thats not always the occasion.

    also, i love this gorgeous photos.

    i hope you were able to get some sleep.


  2. I don't think you will ever realize how much I needed to hear this today.

  3. "maybe it's just us. everyone else seems to be so good at this."

    I can definitely relate. I think most any human on earth can.

    It's funny though, because after reading your blog I've always seen you two as part of the "everyone else" that's so good at being married and in love and doing creative things, who always have the adorable house and the best style.

    Which, I mean, I still think that. But I don't know why it's always such a shocker to find out that other people have struggles and challenges, too.

    But I appreciate you writing honest things like this. It helps remind me that comparing my life to other people's lives is a major waste of energy.

    This probably doesn't even matter, since I don't really know you. But from what I do know, you're driven and determined and majorly talented and so obviously capable of making a major difference in this world. You will. I really think that.

    And I agree about sacrifice. I don't think love can exist without it.


    Hoping You Sleep Soon

  4. You are so not alone, dear. This marriage thing has been a big challenge for me. Wonderful, but the hardest thing I've ever done. We are both still painfully far from making it about "us" instead of "I". I relate in so so many ways.

  5. I understand--as we're looking at grad schools right now (and a baby in just a week or two), balancing each others' dreams has been a challenge.

    Trust me--you're not alone in that. And the great thing is--when you sacrifice for each other, and let the other person sacrifice for you (which is harder for me, actually), I know you'll just grow closer together.

    The best of luck to you, claire.

  6. ive never read anything re: marriage more eloquently worded. it's like you pulled this right out of my brain.

  7. I'm your newest follower and am so glad that I found your blog. I wrote a post kind of like this the other night, when I couldn't sleep and I could just hear the snores of my husband next to me.
    I agree with you that dreams change and evolve, because once you commit yourself to someone else, then your goals change to include the both of you.
    Marriage is hard :/ Honestly it's all about being open-minded, communicating with one another, healthy fighting, and fun dates :)

    Hope you can sleep better tonight.
    -Bri Rios

  8. Thank you for this sweet cousin! I know I can't relate yet (95 days!), but it is so nice to hear another side to things besides "marriage is so easy/perfect/wonderful/effortless!". and I know it will be wonderful to be married to my sweetheart forever and ever, but even now, as we are learning to communicate on the simple things, its good to know that it doesn't change overnight.
    And I appreciate your words about your dreams changing. I completely agree! Me and Josh are practically opposites, but for some crazy reason we just work! And my dreams, as well as his I'm sure, have changed as we grow to love each other and the life we have regardless of individual interests.

    Take care, and I love you!

  9. Beautiful words. It is hard. Dreams are complicated. Keeping loving each other. :)

  10. I've been thinking a lot about this post, and I totally agree. I have the opportunity to study abroad during the summer in London for 6 photo credits, but of course, being married and all, it would be difficult for me to just drop everything and leave Ryan for six weeks. I was pretty sad that this opportunity showed up too late in my life. I was pretty devastated at the time, but I know that it's the right thing for me to stay with him. Plus, hello, I'd miss him like crazy! But yeah, it's just really nice to know that I'm not alone in this :)
    And dang, marriage is hard. But worth it.

  11. Claire, I love this.... seriously this is exactly the same way I have been feeling lately. It's super hard trying to align your dream with your spouse's. We will be moving away for my husband's schooling within the next couple of years and that leaves me starting over wherever we end up. Marriage is hard, and is likely to be hard for everyone. But like you said, sacrifice is what it takes. As long as your dreams are still to be with each other, everything else will fall into place.

    Xo. Nicole