The 6th Anniversary

My mom has told me several times that she thinks years 5-7 are the hardest in a marriage, and I always took that to mean it would be the years when we, as a couple, have to work the hardest to like each other. I used to be a Marilyn Monroe fangirl and thought it would be a seven year itch type situation with one of us questioning exactly why we chose the other as a life partner.

But that isn’t it at all, at least not for us. If anything my attachment to TH has deepened over the years, and the more time goes by the I wonder how I was able to get it so right when I was as immature as I was. However, I would rate these years as the hardest yet because of the circumstances of our life right now. I picture our situation like that of a garden, filled with flowers and weeds. Some things we love, and want to keep, and that means we have less time together because we need to tend to other responsibilities. Other things are noxious, uninvited and unwanted, but need to be taken care if we want to clear the path between us.



The new job is not quite what we thought it was going to be. Not bad, just different. Certainly more working hours than we anticipated. As I think about moving through year seven I’m working to set realistic expectations and thinking about how we can nurture our relationship even if we can’t physically be together as much as we would like. We’ll be in the same plot, sifting through the dirt and the worms. And even if we aren’t doing it side-by-side we’ll still be working at it together. What we’ve grown together is pretty freaking magical if you ask me.

I still choose you, Favorite.

The 1st Anniversary
The 2nd Anniversary
The 3rd Anniversary
The 4th Anniversary
The 5th Anniversary

21 thoughts on “The 6th Anniversary

  1. Happy Anniversary! Our 6th is coming up in December and I agree that the last few years have been the hardest for us, though also because of circumstances rather than distance between us. If anything, I love him more for having to slug through these awful times with him.

    Jenna Reply:

    I can’t imagine starting over with someone who doesn’t know my quirks, know how I handle different situations. And there are so many layers of effort between us by now. I now that he’s really trying, and he can see the same in me (most of the time). That’s what keeps us going.

  2. Happy Anniversary!

    The end of this post makes me wonder whether there’s any similarity to our situations, so this is a genuine question: do you think TH has the personality to allow him to set firm limits at work, or is he more of an all-in, never-leave-a-project-half-done, see-it-through-to-the-end type? My SO wants to be home earlier in the evening, but is a bit of a perfectionist at work (and everyone knows they can count on him) and he can’t always leave in time to be home for dinner. Women who have to pick up their kids from daycare at 6 PM have to leave no matter what state their work is in. It’s been something we’ve talked about a lot. We structured in one day where he had to pick up the kids so there was at least one day I wasn’t wondering when he’d be home. Just wondering whether the work schedule is all imposed from outside or is partly self-imposed.

    Jenna Reply:

    I’m still not sure about this, I think about it a lot. As with most things in life, it’s complicated and can’t be boiled down to one distinct thing. I think there’s something in there about fully exploring capacity and potential, and I think his employers must see that in him. Retirement savings are VERY important to him, more-so than anyone I’ve ever known, and so there’s a lot of drive to shore that up as quickly as possible. I think there’s also dependability, humility, integrity, and desire-to-grow also at play.

    I think our 1950s marriage arrangement complicates things even further. He doesn’t have any responsibilities that are time sensitive except his work. Everything else can be punted to me, and that allows him to keep taking on things at work because he has his life partner at home who can do the rest. It makes me feel like I’m failing at feminism because I am further contibuting to the problem with the American, and in particular the Silicon Valley, workplace. They shouldn’t be able to work this way, but they can, because we (spouses, mostly wives) pick up everything else for them in order to do so.

    K Reply:

    But isn’t feminism about having the ability to make that choice (SAHM, no kids, working out of the home etc etc)? And surely if it didn’t work for your family then you’d make changes?

    Frances Reply:

    I agree, K. Even SAHMs have more flexibility nowadays, because we can also out-source to childcare, cleaning services, home delivery meals etc. I think the “1950s” lifestyle lived in this decade is far more feminist-friendly than the original version, where the wife was required to shop each morning in order to keep fresh food in the house, housework was gruelling manual labour, and dinner must be on the table at a set time with wife, children and house all gleaming with perfection when Daddy came home.
    For the many women who don’t enjoy being an SAHM, they have the freedom to build a better relationship with their children when they are working mothers. We have these options now – we are very lucky!
    I have recently started following this blog, and I feel that Jenna is still exploring which is the right option for her… Hopefully this forum will help her find the answers.

    Ellen Reply:

    Jenna is right though that these choices do contribute to the culture of the workplace, in a way that does not exactly advance the cause of feminism. When TH and other workers are able to offload all of the household management and childcare tasks to their spouses, they can then put in longer and longer hours and have more of their focus on work.

    I don’t think anyone should feel bad about that setup if that’s what works for them, but it does make it harder for people who don’t have someone at home to shoulder those domestic burdens (e.g., many working moms) or people who want a better work-life balance to compete in that environment.

    Sis Reply:

    Isn’t that part of the point of being a stay-at-home spouse, though? I have no doubt that the men who stay at home (there are more now than ever) also take on more of the household management and childcare tasks so that their spouse can focus more on work. Obviously, there are cases where this is taken to the extreme, but the split between responsibilities honestly seems to be a key part of the whole 1 stay at home spouse/1 working spouse arrangement.

    Ellen Reply:

    Definitely, that’s a huge benefit of having a stay-at-home spouse, and like I said I don’t think any individual or family should feel guilty or bad if that is the arrangement that works best for them (leaving aside the point of whether it is an arrangement that Jenna herself is happy with, and whether TH would be happy with any other arrangement.) And of course I don’t think that choosing that lifestyle means that you are “failing at feminism.”

    My only point was that yeah, a workplace that is built around the assumption that the worker has zero domestic responsibilities due to the unpaid domestic labor of their spouse kind of sucks from a feminist perspective (which is not the only metric by which one should evaluate their choices.)

    K Reply:

    Then say no? TH and other workers offload that stuff because they can (and they choose to), there’s nothing stopping them (or their families) from working in a different line of work or shifting to a career that isn’t so demanding of their time.

    Everybody has the ability to make choices and you can’t boast about the monetary benefits and lifestyle perks (daycare, overseas trips and pursuing expensive hobbies) and then complain about what is essentially allowing yourself to be a victim of your own choices.

    K Reply:

    That came out harsher than I meant it to, I was merely trying to say that we all need to own our choices and make changes if we need to!

    Mallory Reply:

    Just a third ditto. Feminism is not solely about being a working woman, it’s about having the choice to do what you want and need with your own life. I’m sad that you have such a narrow viewpoint on that. I worked a few years after college, then had kids (and yes, I’m Mormon, and I comfortably made that choice with my husband on the timing for family that we wanted). I want to stay home with them, my husband’s income can allow me to do so, so I do. Anything changes (my husband can’t work, we need more money, I get sick of being home, I desire to get back into my field), and I’ll be going back. The fact that I know I have that option, even if I don’t choose to use it, makes me just as much a modern woman as the corporate girl climbing the ladder.

  3. Happy Anniversary sissy! Still feel so lucky to have been a part of such a special day – love you both! xoxo

  4. Happy anniversary Jenna! We just celebrated our 6th last month – not all the years were easy (layoffs and a move 3 months into marriage, 4 moves since then) but they were worth it. Cheers to you two!

    Jenna Reply:

    Those blogging days where we were all getting married and blogging about it were the golden years, weren’t they? I miss that sort of blogging.

  5. Happy anniversary to you and TH!

    My BFF and I were just having this conversation over the weekend. Her hubby has been working ridiculous hours – leaves the house at 6AM, comes home at 9PM, then still working into the night. He loves his job, and it’s rewarding to put in the work and see the progress, but she’s hating the situation because they don’t have any time together. It’s one thing to be a good employee, but her hubby is working very hard for what? To make profits for someone else basically. Hopefully the company will recognize his efforts and compensate him for it in the end, but everyone is telling him that he needs to work harder on spending time with the wife instead. Work/life balance!! 🙂

    Jenna Reply:

    Your BFF’s situation sounds a lot like mine! I do get frustrated with conversations that simplify work/life balance. Sometimes there are situations that don’t allow for work/life balance, and should all of those be passed up? I’m not sure. We don’t know exactly what they are yet, but this next year of hard would could lead to some really great opportunities in the future. Already we are at a place we didn’t know would be possible for us! It’s hard not to look back and think “I like where we are now. Just a bit more work and we’ll get even farther.” BUT I think that is the mentality of all sorts of people with hundreds of millions of dollars, and who really needs that much money? (I am not implying that I think we will ever have hundreds of millions, btw) Where is the point where you look at the rung of the ladder you’re at and think “This is good. I’ve made it to a good spot and I’m going to stick it out here and say that I’ve gathered enough.”

    I guess how we will see as we round the corner past year 7. For now, we’re happy together. Even if we don’t get to see each other all that much. I try to look at the positive and see how it allows me to write and respond to these blog posts!

    Zoe Reply:

    If you’re both OK with the situation, then that’s all that matters. For some people the work/life balance tilts more towards one way. When is it time to stop? I guess it depends on what goals you have and what it’ll take to achieve them. To continue to gather indefinitely and see just how far you can go is also a goal in itself, I suppose. :T

  6. Happy anniversary! I’ve been reading your blog for years, and wonder whether or not you and TH have considered doing some sort of vow renewal or “second wedding” now that you’ve left the LDS church? I just know that was such an integral part of your marriage ceremony, that I wonder how you feel about it now that the religious aspect has really changed? Feel free to ignore the question if you don’t want to answer!

    Jenna Reply:

    TH doesn’t have any attachment to the idea, but I would like to have some sort of ceremony within the near future. I want to control what I wear, where it happens, what we say/promise to each other. All of those things were things I didn’t get to choose for myself when we were married and it would feel very freeing to take ownership of our relationship in that symbolic way.

    Eve Reply:

    I’d feel the same way as you. Even though I had a lot of say in my own wedding (and it turned out to be a pretty incredible event), I think I might want to do a vow renewal (maybe at the 10-year mark?) and make it 100% “us.” I’m sure you’ll be able to get your husband on board if it’s important to you, which it sounds like it is!

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