Ashleigh Slater is the first to be featured in the new series, "Inspire: Women Who Create." Ashleigh is a writer, editor, and homeschooling mama to four. I came across Ashleigh's personal blog during my own early blogging days sometime back in 2005. Currently, I work with her in a more professional capacity writing for the website she created: Ungrind. We even got to meet in real life once when she visited Baltimore for a conference!
Ashleigh writes about marriage with practical wisdom and humor in her new book, Team Us: Marriage Together. Check out my full review here. Today, she is writing about how a marriage relationship is always evolving and we can choose to either grow together or apart.
Before sharing her guest post today, I had this question for her:
As a busy home educating mom of four, how do you make time to consistently work from home as a writer?
Instituting quiet time almost every afternoon has been one of the keys for me to consistently working from home as a writer. My kid don’t nap anymore (my three-year-old recently gave it up), so it’s a time of quiet in their rooms where they play or read or listen to “Adventures in Odyssey.” Normally, it lasts about two hours. This is when I can really focus intensely on writing or blogging or the work on my plate. After quiet time, if I’m needing more work time, the kids can do crafts or play or maybe watch a movie. I’m readily available to them, but still working. If I have a lot of projects or didn’t get as much done as I hoped, then I may work after the kids’ bedtime a bit before Ted and I spend time together. I actually wrote a blog post on this subject recently and shared a few other things I do to balance kids and work. Check it out here: http://ashleighslater.com/4-proven-ways-balance-kids-home-work/
Let's welcome Ashleigh as she writes about changing together or growing apart in marriage.
The Ted I’m married to today isn’t the same Ted I married almost 12 years ago.
Sure, he has the same blue eyes. The same crazy hair worthy of his middle name Wolfgang. Yes, he still often stuns people with his dry, witty sense of humor. And, all these years later, his passion for soy sauce and politics (not necessarily in that order) remains rock solid.
But he’s also changed over the years.
He now eats leftovers instead of cereal for breakfast. He gets seriously excited to watch obscure black-and-white films like Crisis (all you Cary Grant fans out there may know that one). And, best of all, he now understands why adults go to Disney World … without their children. Although that one’s easier said than done.
The thing is, he’ll tell you the same thing about me. The Ashleigh he’s married to today isn’t the same Ashleigh he married almost 12 years ago. I’ve changed too.
Fortunately, our changes have brought us closer together. They’ve resulted in more points of connection. More shared interests. More mutual dreams. But I know that’s not always the case for couples.
I’d venture to guess that you and your husband have also changed since that day you promised “I do.” Because the reality is that none of us is static. So as long as we’re living, we all change. Without exception. (God, the Changeless One, is the only one who’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.) Which means none of our relationships is static. They change too. Including our marriages.
So if change is inevitable, how can we better embrace it in our husbands and ultimately in our marriages?
I believe by being intentional to change together. Side by side. Hand in hand. Over the years, that’s what Ted and I have sought to do.
This doesn’t mean you’ll both change in exactly all of the same ways. Ted and I haven’t. Want an example? When it comes to music, he didn’t like dub step or scream-o when we got married. These days, he plays both at high volumes. Me? I tolerate them because I love him. (Except when our kids are winding down for bed. Then, not so much.)
Yep, almost twelve years later, we’re still two different people with two different personalities. Because the truth is, marriage wouldn’t be quite as much fun (or perhaps as challenging at times either) if we were identical; if our personalities merged. But what changing, together, does mean is there’ll be less of a chance we’ll wake up one morning and wonder how we became strangers.
What’s one way you and your husband can be intentional to change together?
An easy place to start is by seeking out and developing new common interests. New things you love to do together. By taking the time to literally share in the other’s “joy” by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something they like. Sushi, classic movies, camping, or perhaps even Dragon Con. You might just discover you like it too. Who knew?
I predict that 12 years from now, Ted won’t be the same Ted he is today. And I won’t be the same Ashleigh. Once again, we’ll have changed. But my hope is that we’ll have continued to change together. Side by side and hand in hand. A chapter or two later, our characters will change, the plot will develop, but we’ll still be co-starring in it together.
Ashleigh Slater is the author of the book, Team Us: Marriage Togetherfrom Moody Publishers. As the founder and editor of the webzine Ungrind and a regular contributor at several popular blogs and websites, she unites the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application to encourage readers. She has 20 years of writing experience and a master’s degree in communication. Ashleigh and her husband, Ted, have been married for twelve years. They have four daughters and reside in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more, visit AshleighSlater.com.