So it turns out that our major life decisions are not completely up to either one of us. We're both working to take a lot of things on faith, to relax our senses of responsibility and to trust that things will work out happily.
Donald and I had a breakthrough conversation in the car during a long drive this past weekend and it dawned on me in yoga this morning what my resulting action has been.
I have chosen, very consciously and openly, to put my marriage first.
You see, it turns out that I was so focused on getting what I wanted (babies!) that I wasn't respecting Donald's wishes and preferences. While I intended only to nudge Donald in the direction of having children sooner rather than later, instead it turned into subtle (and not so subtle) acts of coercion.
Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't force anything or give him ultimatums or sperm-jack him. Nothing like that. It was simply in the way that I talked and acted that made him feel like I hadn't heard him clearly, made him feel that his feelings didn't matter.
And here I thought I had this communication thing all figured out.
The breakthrough conversation was really difficult. I learned that Donald felt disrespected by me, which I didn't like hearing about myself. I apologized. I learned that Donald and I significantly disagree about our timeline of having children and purchasing a home. I learned that this may mean that we aren't going to have children as soon as I would like to (yesterday).
Donald's preference is that we have a home before any little ones arrive. My preference is that we have children when we're ready (now) and let everything else get figured out, including the purchase of our first home.
These preferences are not mutually exclusive until you see that we don't have the money for a down payment yet. Remember, Donald was unemployed for over a year and I'm currently minimally self-employed (more on that later). It gets even more difficult when you understand that we would prefer to put 20% down on our first home so that we can get the best interest rate.
This basically means that we are at least a year away from purchasing our first home. I turn 30 in November. I know plenty of women are having children after 30, and I also know that the general advice is to have one's first child by that age. It's just another thing to factor in.
To be fair to Donald, he wants children. His baby timeline is for me to be pregnant before the end of the year. So we're on the same page there.
The real hiccup is the house, which connects to my job. If I could manage to make money in my new e-lancing endeavors, then we would be that much closer to our first home. Right now, I have about five hours of work a week. I'm marketing myself as an editor, proofreader, and virtual assistant. I've been networking hard this week with people who know me and my skills, so hopefully some more work will come my way soon.
Or my dream job with my favorite non-profit could come through. They're still unsure about their funding. As most people are these days.
It would be easy to blame the economy for all of this - Donald's company's failure and unemployment (including the loss of our original house down payment fund), my current minimal employment, and our delay in starting a family. It would be easy to blame Donald for these things, too.
Blame doesn't make anyone feel better though. Neither does feeling sorry for myself or turning myself into a martyr.
Which is why I have chosen to put my marriage first. It is one of the things in my life that is really good, that I don't want to ever be without. It is something that I can depend on and lean on. It resides in the realm of the known.
Everything else that we're considering is in the realm of the unknown. We have no idea what will happen when we journey down any of these potential paths.
And that is why Donald and I as a team come first. We will need every bit of our married strength to take any of these next steps. And we're going to do it together, with respect for each others' views and feelings, and with a balance of faith and responsibility.
Because that's how we roll.