It was our 5th anniversary. I was a few months pregnant with our 2nd child and we had a toddler at our newly purchased home.

I think we went out for dinner, but honestly I can’t really remember.

See, I was tired that year. In fact, I was tired for almost a decade.  It was deeply, overwhelmingly exhausted.   My body was tired, my brain was tired.  Every part of my soul was fighting to keep myself present and alive.

I remember back to that time period how hard it was. How my husband and I would attempt to move around each other in our home, both of us dissatisfied.  I remember sitting in the dark with him in our hot tub where he would lay out his complaints about our relationship. How our romance was gone. How I was gone.

I remember listening and trying really, really hard to hear it, to understand and to want to solve the issues. But I was too tired.

I was in the trenches with kids, and home, and trying so desperately to find out who I was as a mother, attempting to land on my feet after being knocked off it by two pregnancies.

I remember just wanting this stage to be OVER. To have our life out of the “building” phase, to know HOW many kids we were going to have, where we were going to be, so that I could spend time living instead of surviving.

Back then we didn’t fight a lot, the hubby and I, but we also didn’t “mesh” very well.  We loved each other, but there was a struggle for each of us to find our role in our partnership.  We were building something, but we honestly didn’t know what and we kept getting our responsibilities mixed up.

We had babies, we worked, and we tried really hard to maintain our relationship.

But the babies needed to be fed, to be loved, to be played with.  Diapers needed changing, kids needed to be dropped off and picked up and someone ALWAYS needed something.

By the end of most days there was nothing left in me. Not even a tiny bit. I had every ounce of anything already given out to our three young kids.  I rolled into bed exhausted, my brain done GIVING and ANSWERING and PROVIDING. I was empty.

We were great parents. We spent time with our kids, together as a family. We went on adventures, and invested in their lives.  And there was nothing left for “us.”

We hit rock bottom, probably more than once, and each time clawed our way back up, until eventually we stopped trying to live like that and put everything at risk, our relationship, our investments, our everything, so we could find some peace.

But we survived, my husband and I.  I’m not sure how, but last night as we celebrated our 15th anniversary, we reminisced about those hard days.  I remembered what it was like to always be saying “no, not tonight honey” because I just couldn’t handle sharing any more of me.  I remember what it was like to wish I knew what he was thinking and how he truly felt.

We sat together last night, enjoying a bottle of wine and talking.  There are no mysteries left in our relationships, we know pretty much everything about each other. Together in the past 10 years we have tackled demons, sat together in the dark and struggled through the uncomfortable parts of our relationship, each taken responsibility for our feelings and made changes to better ourselves.

We made plans last night for family holidays and shared our thoughts on our life as it is.  We both exhaled sighs of relief that we made it to this place where our kids are more independent and we have a stable foundation for our life.  We wished we had found this sooner, but both recognize all the things that needed to happen so we would.

We know what our life is now, and we know how we are living it.  We know our relationship and how to work together as partners to give everyone what they need.  We know each others personalities, thoughts and feelings, sometimes better than we know our own.

When we were first married we had ideas for our life, which turned into sketches, and then we spent 10 years of manual labour building and sweating.  We now feel we are in the life we imagined, just adding the finishing touches, but spending most of our time living, and not building these days.

We have been waiting for this stage for 15 years, ever since that day we said “I Do.” Waiting to have the time to actually be partners together.  Waiting to have a life.

And it is here, and we are living it.

(This post originally appeared on Three Chickens and a Boat.)


A mom who knew there had to be more than an overwhelming suburban life filled with good jobs and soccer practices, Julie swept her family off onto a small island in BC to start over! Craving a life of fulfillment she blogs about facing fears and courageously going after your dreams! She believes that if you do something, you should do it fully: eat butter, sweat hard and laugh till you pee. Julie’s blog is filled with stories of how her family adapts and continues to strive for a fulfilled life… while enjoying a few perks along the way!


  1. Thank you SO much for sharing your story Julie. 15 years! Congratulations. I’m on year 8 and feel like we are finally cleaning off the mud and dirt from the trenches. We pulled the pin on our child grenade 4 years ago and it’s been…interesting. Haha. I laugh now, but a couple years ago, I was far from laughing.

    I totally understand the feeling of simply existing and getting through. Not having enough of YOU to give. Babies take it all, and it’s hard to have anything left for yourself…let alone you husband. On top of that, I live abroad so I didn’t have my close friends or family nearby. This make life even harder.

    Here’s to you though *raising my glass*…to making it through the trenches and coming out the other end.

    I look forward to celebrating 15 years with my husband and looking back on this shit show called life and having a good laugh. -cheers!

  2. Thanks for describing where I am at and my relationship is at so well. I’ve been married 5.5 years, just had my second child and so much of what you are saying is resonating. It’s nice to know that, at some point in the future, it might not all be such hard work!!

  3. Lovely, Julie! We have our 15th this year and I can relate to this. My boys are still pretty young (8 and 10), and sometimes I still feel like I have nothing left to share, but I can see the relief coming. They are getting more independent. I understand how so many people can throw in the towel. It can feel like you cannot even breathe sometimes, and being single might seem like the only way out. But like you we are finding new life in our partnership as we begin to move past the ever-exhausting baby/toddler/little boy years. I wish you another 15 years and beyond!!

  4. Just read this and loved it. Corey and I are celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary and our life is the same. We’ve been through so much and it’s funny how much you can endure. Love really plays no part in it. We’ve always loved each other, but the hard times took work getting through. Some days are better than others. I think though Julie that’s key in marrying your best friend and you obviously married yours! Great post!

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