Why putting our marriage first was the best decision for our boys.

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military husband and wife kissing; marriage firstFirst comes love, then comes marriage… 16 years ago on a warm Mother’s Day in rural Wisconsin, I took my wedding vows. And let me tell you I was a nervous wreck! I was 21 years old, 7 months pregnant, and no one from my family was in attendance. But when you know the father of your unborn child is activated and going to be deployed to a war zone, you don’t wait or hesitate. This is our story of learning to put our marriage first and why it was the best decision for our boys.

Jeremy and I talked about marriage A LOT while we were dating. We both came from divorced families and knew how hard it was for everyone involved. We would NOT go into a marriage unless we knew it was forever, and having a baby, in our minds, was NOT a reason to marry. But when we got back to our Guard Units, after our basic and advanced training, there was already talk of deployment so immediately we discussed our options. We agreed that we would get married if and only if he was activated.

The phone call came on Tuesday, May 3rd. As he hung up the phone I said “Well, are we going to take the plunge?” He said “I guess”, we moved to the couch, and immediately we both started crying. He pressed his face into my growing belly and with tears rolling down he admitted he was scared and didn’t want to leave his son.

The next five days were a whirlwind… arranging a Justice of the Peace, inviting family and friends not to mention figuring out what we were going to do once he left. Then that following Sunday, May 8th, we were married.

I had moved home to Texas once he left, to give birth to and raise our son with the support of my family around me. I wouldn’t even wish that experience on my worst enemy. I cried myself to sleep countless nights. Every time the phone rang, there was a knock at my door or a new email in my inbox it was simultaneously the scariest and happiest moment of my life.

It could be my Soldier telling me he loved me and he is ok, or it could be the activation of the phone tree alerting me of a tragedy in his company, or worse, someone telling me my Soldier would not be making it home.

young child in father's military hatThe only thing that made me happy was raising our son. We looked forward to waking up every day to send his daddy pictures or videos to see how he was growing. But at night, when the house was quiet, I couldn’t help but think “How am I supposed to raise a man, when I am scared to death?”  But by God’s grace, morning would come again.  And with the morning a smile of pure joy.

As you can imagine, Peyton and I had a very dependent and unique bond. His needs were my purpose. I think it’s natural for all moms to feel that way about their children. And when Jeremy came home, you can imagine, there were some growing pains.

Then two more little Garcia boys came along. With Jeremy missing the newborn/baby stage with our firstborn, he clung to the other boys during that time. Most of our moods, arguments, frustrations, and even happiness rose and fell daily with our boys. We were parents and proud to be, but at night, while they slept all those arguments and all that stress was still there hurting our marriage.

One day we were at our cousin’s house discussing life and our trials, then she said “You should always put your marriage first.”  Jeremy and I looked at each other like, “How have we been doing this all wrong this whole time?”

The light bulb went off, and don’t get me wrong, it dims and even burns out, but we replace it. Ultimately, the foundation for a loving home IS a husband and wife. If we are happy, united as a team, and communicate with each other, our children will only benefit from that.

If we lead by example, the boys would also be happy, be an extension of our team, and communicate with us! We try every day to put each other first, work on our marriage, and grow our love. Putting your marriage first sounds like common sense, but it wasn’t apparent to us until our cousin pointed it out.

It is so easy to get swept up into caring for our helpless children, but you can NOT allow your marriage to become helpless as a side effect. So now I challenge you…Put your marriage first. Actively engage in growing your love and relationship with your spouse. And please share with me how your children have benefited from these changes.

family; marriage first

All my Love, Nichole

More from Nichole: How to fight depression – Don’t overcome; just feel it.

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Nichole is a thirty-something wife and mother currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She was however, born and raised in Texas and lived there until her early 20s. Nichole was a Combat Medic in the US Army and met a boy in her Advanced Training. They were inseparable from the day they met and she moved to the Midwest for love. Their story is a crazy one but it’s theirs and simply because of that, it’s obvs her favorite! Nichole considers herself a Jack of Many Trades, yet Master of None. She works full time in corporate marketing and has a photography business. She loves to take pretty pictures (Squid Photography) and share love through a warm meal. Her schedule is always full and it makes her a little crazy sometimes but she covets all the relationships that have arisen from the chaos. Nichole’s biggest and greatest accomplishment was receiving the title of “Mother”. She and her husband, Jeremy, were triply blessed with handsome boys! Peyton John Michael, their oldest is 14, a high school freshman, and probably smarter than her! Middle son, Piercen Rush is 10, in 4th grade and has the kindest heart! Their youngest Sir Pennington Matthews is 8 going on 18, he is loud and crazy! She claims her house is always a mess, they are always coming or going and she and her husband barely talk about anything in the “Adult” category but she absolutely LOVES her life! And can’t wait to share it with you!

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