Originally published 8/5/2015

Today is our anniversary. Ryan and I have been married for 9 years, and he is my partner in every sense of the word. We are a team, and this has been a long 9 years for us. The only reason we have been able to keep moving forward through everything life has thrown at us these 9 long years is because we are a team. He is, and always has been, my rock, and I am so thankful for him every day.

August 5, 2006

About two years ago, I failed Ryan. I stopped allowing him to be my rock, and I let our situation defeat me. I felt broken, and helpless, and alone in the neverending battle to get ahead. We were living in Ryan’s parents’ basement – all four of us – and had been for two years. It had been a very long two years, and I simply could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like things were never going to get better, I felt like a failure as a wife and a mother, I felt unbearable guilt at the stupid mistakes I had made for so many years that had gotten us into this situation to begin with, I felt immense pressure to solve the problem myself – without Ryan’s help, and at some point I started to believe that I was no longer in love with my husband. For three months, we unofficially separated (I lived with a very good friend during this time while Ryan and the boys stayed with his parents). It was my decision. Ryan supported the decision, but I know how crippling it was for him, and how much unhappiness it caused him and the boys – though he will never fully admit it to me. We went to counseling, but it only served to strengthen my resolve that this marriage was over, and it was magnifying my depression with every session.

My rock bottom (and, funnily, the thing that saved me) was shortly after New Year’s Day 2014, when my friend asked me to move out. (I had long overstayed my welcome.) I felt utterly and completely alone, and with no money saved and nowhere else to go, I had to turn back to Ryan and ask for help. And he was there for me. He was there for me even after everything I had put him through, after everything I had put the boys through. And it was only then, back in that basement, looking around at all the things I had to be so thankful for that I had taken for granted, that I understood how much I still did love my husband – that it was myself I didn’t love, with all my perceived failures. Ryan, always my rock, helped me to learn to love myself again. Ryan gave me hope, showed me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and made me realize that I couldn’t keep feeling like I had to fix everything on my own – that I had to let us be a team.

This week, as our anniversary approached, we weren’t thinking about where we would go for dinner tonight or how we would celebrate. Truthfully, we had both forgotten it was even coming up. This week, we were worried about our bills, which are piling up and threatening to block out the light again – due to my inability to do math, apparently, and my failure to realize how spending 1/2 of Ryan’s salary on daycare this summer was going to affect us. I was beginning to feel, again, like this was my problem to solve, and I set out to solve it. But Ryan reminded me – as he does – that we are a team, and so, to solve this problem and get out of the damned tunnel altogether, we are both getting second jobs (he has an interview on Saturday for a PT job, I have a *crosses fingers* promising opportunity working from home evenings and weekends) so we can work to get ahead of our bills and tackle our debts together. It’s not going to be fun, it’s going to mean more sacrifices, less time together, less time to play with the boys, more trusting them to act a little older than they really should – but that’s what it means to be a team. Because at the end of the day, you do what you have to do.

I’m hopeful that with this next step, we might finally be able to put some of these things that have haunted us for the past 9 years behind us for good, so we can insure the future is brighter – for the whole team.

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