Growing Together While Growing a Family

Monday, July 13, 2015

You know how most people want to be married for about 5 years before having children so they can spend time growing and doing fun married people stuff? Well my honey and I kind of had an opposite idea. We thought it would be a ton of fun to get going with the baby business and grow together while we grow our family. Then we will be young when they leave and the adventures as just 2 can begin. So many people, well almost everyone we meet, ask us why did we start so young and do we feel like we ever missed out on learning each other. So let me tell you a little about how we grow as a couple while growing a family.

1. We pursue each other, constantly. Almost in a stalker type of way really. That sounds creepy but it works! I never forget to remember my man. When I 1st wake up I pray for him and text him a really corny but totally truthful message. I also try and send him a verse or a word of encouragement that I believe God put on my heart for him while I was praying. I also try and remember him throughout my day. If I am out and about and I see something he likes I will pick it up for him. Even if its an almond joy attached to a cute little note. He has a complete different way of pursuing me. He picks up where I am slacking especially since being pregnant again. Sometimes I wake up to a spotless house and a cup of coffee. That is like new diamond earrings to me lol. He plans surprise dates for me and plants secret gifts around the house at random. These are some of the things that work for us and keep things exciting. So pursuing each other makes us not feel forgotten even though we are bringing children into this world and they obviously need a lot of our time and attention.  I know this looks different for every couple but the result is equally as beautiful. Never stop pursuing.

2. We encourage each other's dreams. Nathaniel and I are both dreamers. We have huge ideas and a ton of goals. I feared having children would interfere or put that on standby but God gave us a different direction. Instead, our babies are new ambition and drive for us.  So we encourage each other to pursue the desires God has given us. My husband pushes me to write when I have free time because he knows I want to be an author. I push my husband to continue in school and even help him when he needs it. This keeps us growing together because we are reminded to be for each other at all times. Our visions merge and just like us, they have become one.  If I could sum this up in a 1 liner I'd say; Encouragement in marriage is like sun for plants, absolutely necessary if you want to see it thrive.

3. We play on the same team. I call us Team Rich all the time and people always say I'm corny but I seriously see us this way. Just like a team we come together and we make a strategy. We plan how we are going to conquer and win. If teammates are not walking in one accord the team will not be victorious. So whether it is parenting, planning for the future, or even what is on our calendar for the month, we come together and work it out as a team. This really helps us grow in oneness and makes it feel like we always have each other's backs. Almost like looking at him with a smirk and saying "I got you boo!" In this we are thinking of our children because seeing unity in their parents will help them to be strong and trust us more. We can tell them do as we say and as we do. 

4. We practice the love language strategy. If you've never read or heard of The 5 Love Languages I would encourage you to read it or even take the test online. This is a way to learn your love language and it helps your spouse know how to love you. Naturally, we love our spouse how we want to be loved and when it doesn't work we get confused. This was definitely a problem in our marriage and something we constantly work on now that we have this knowledge. My highest needs (according to the love languages) are words of affirmation and physical touch, which are not Nathaniel's. This means I need him to love me in this way and I need to show him love in the way that pleases him, acts of service. I seriously can't stress enough how much this has helped us and how it constantly challenges us. I would say this is the hardest part for me in marriage but doing it makes me have so much more humility and reminds me what my marriage is worth. This helps our parenting because we watch for Noah's love language and will pursue him in that way for his whole life. Oh and all the other littles God brings to us. 

5. Lastly but most importantly, we seek God together. Of course this is really our #1 way of growing together because God literally brought us together. I wrote our love story a while ago and it explains how we would not be together without God working in our lives. Seeking God together keeps us on the same page, gives us the desire to encourage each other, helps us love selflessly, and reminds us to always pursue one another. Reading the bible keeps us accountable to the truth of what marriage should look like. Someone once told me that when we started having children we would encounter problems. The bible reminded us that children are a blessing. I have failed my husband and he has failed me, the bible reminded us that we are to be stewards of the grace and forgiveness that God gives us. This is true for all of the problems we encounter and even the the good times. We are reminded to love when it's good and love harder when it's not. God also gives us the ability to love our babies and we have fallen more in love since they started coming. 

We are halfway to baby #2 and I feel closer to my husband than I did our whole 1 year without the extra Richardsons. Through Christ we are growing together while growing a family. As we allow Him to be in control of when the children come He proves to make it good. My husband is my best friend, my most beloved human, my biggest supporter, and the only one my heart wants. It is possible to be in one accord and have children, only when you serve the God of the impossible. 

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