So, you have a new baby who has come to join your married life, and now you are a family of 3 (or more!). There's no doubt about it, it's a beautiful thing! As time ticks on, however, you start to notice how much it begins to change your relationship with your partner. You realize that you may not snuggle as much as you used to because there's a new life who demands to be snuggled all the time! Perhaps those quick tussles in the bed together occur a little less frequently... or not at all! Adult conversations that once stimulated your mind and added richness to your relationship are far and few between! And when you do manage to get in some time to talk to one another, you notice the conversation is always about the baby! Chores seem to pile up, alone time is nonexistent, and, before you know it, your spouse becomes a stranger to you.
Hi everyone! Welcome to our 3rd blog visit on the "Trials of the Working Parent" Blog Book Tour! As you might have figured out, today's topic is all about marriage and how our children can affect the intimate relationship we have with our partner. Before we go much farther, however, I just want to say thank you to Mindy, here at The Adventures of the StuCrew for hosting me on the tour! Now let's do some honest chatting about being married... with children!
I was trolling Pinterest the other night (what else is new?). And I came across this:
It stopped me in my scrolling tracks.
I just stared at it. For longer than was probably necessary.
I'd be a liar if I said I was ALWAYS happy to be around Stu. I'd be lying if I said that our marriage is perfect, flawless, full of absolute love and respect.
But still. Even with the rough times, this bothers me.
I don't want my husband to feel this way. Perhaps it's super retro, old school, antifeminist of me to think that he should be happy to come home. My job is the house/kids/food. My job is to make the house a peaceful place.
It is my goal to make sure he feels relief when he walks in the door at night. I want him to feel 10 pounds of stress lift off him when he gets home.
This (seemingly) antiquated way of thinking is something I struggle with. It's not always easy. Sometimes I want to punch him in the face and yell at him. Sometimes I want to scream I am tired too! Sometimes I don't want him to even walk through the door because I am so upset about something.
But then I think what if he doesn't come home? What if he wants to leave me?
Is that possibility worth it?
For me, for my kids, for us right now, it's not.
So I will try to make this meme fundamentally untrue for Stu.
The life of a stay-at-home-mom is so glam. I feel my life and marriage are pretty well summed up in this text.
I love this guy. It's so nice that he gets me.
Spouses are supposed to be partners. Supposed to be on the same team. Supposed to be one unit.
For us, it's easy to slip into the rut of roommates. Or passing ships. Or worse, judgmental acquaintances.
Now that we have identified a problem, let's do something about it.
In my opinion, it is the little things that make the biggest difference.
For me, it's not going the entire day without Stu communication. I need him to reach out to me during the day - something easy, like a phone or two call when he's in the car driving, a kiss and a hug before he leaves in the morning.
For him, I send him texts during the day - pics of the kids, an "I love you" message, an encouraging word or two about how awesome he is for working hard.
I think when we reach out to each other during the day, as brief and boring as the calls may be, it is enough to strengthen the bond. That bit during the day, when we have energy, is a great connection. It is enough to help me feel secure that the zombie who comes home at night does love me. I find I don't need as much at night from him when I get pieces of him during the day.
It's the time of year when my Facebook feed fills up with all the #thankful for posts or #blessed posts. I scroll through friends sharing their love. I read the grateful challenges, where you're supposed to post daily about things you are happy to have. I see the profile pictures have been changed to have "Thankful for us" or something to that effect stamped on them.
All that's awesome. Really.
I, too, feel #blessed.
But, for us, this week is more about smack-talk. You see, it's rivalry week. My Florida State Seminoles will be whooping Stu's Florida Gators on Saturday night.
Stu and I are in a great place right now. I don't think we have been this close in a long time. As I have mentioned, or alluded to, in previous posts, we have battled our share of stress. Stress for us has come in the form of financial troubles, outsiders thinking they are more important than they are, outsiders behaving inappropriately with my husband, and more, but those are the big ones. These stresses have caused a major riff between me and Stu.
I read somewhere that the problem in relationships is "unmet expectations." Everything else (stress, cheating, divorce, fighting, etc.) is a result of unmet expectations. I could not agree more with this. (Read this article, it's fantastic. It'll change the way you look at your problems.) And Stu and I became so disjointed we were never telling the other what our expectations were/are. The lack of communication is like adding fuel to a pile of wood. One little spark and the whole thing goes up. Then a simple problem (the little spark) is now a wildly out of control fire.
Stu and I have been seeing a counselor for several years. It helps me to talk (or yell) about things. It helps us to talk to each other when there is a moderator. A third party was invaluable to us for a long time. We needed someone else to keep us on track in conversations. We needed someone to make sure the other was heard.