We all know that our marriage is going to change after we have children.
You hear the warnings thrown at you by other parents. You smile every time someone reminds you of the importance of putting your marriage first.
The fact that my marriage changed after having children wasn’t at all surprising.
What was surprising was the depth of the change.
No, we don’t get to go out anymore without secretly keeping an eye on the time because we need to relieve the babysitter.
There are no more Sunday morning lie-ins without a second thought.
But that didn’t surprise me. I expected those changes.
I didn’t expect the resentment.
When I am so exhausted that my entire body aches for sleep and my son wakes me forty five minutes before my alarm is going to go off because he had a bad dream I feel resentment. Why didn’t he wake his Dad? Why is it always me? I drag myself out of bed and comfort my son, we snuggle and I shush him back to sleep knowing full well that I am now up for the day and I am resentful.
I didn’t expect the anger.
When I am disciplining my kids for misbehaving at the dinner table and in he walks questioning why I’m disciplining and deciding that he knows better, I lose it. I question how on earth I can be married to this person. How I am going to live the rest of my life with this person.
It’s usually in the moments when the resentment and anger are just starting to take over when something happens to remind me of why I chose him.
It was when I was elbow deep in dishes and the kids were running around the house fighting that I turned around wondering where he disappeared to. The resentment starts creeping in as I search the house. I open the garage door, to take out the garbage and I catch a glimpse of him roll by on the sidewalk in front of the house. I step outside, wondering why he’s outside instead of inside helping me and then it hits me. As he wobbles by on his brand new roller blades, I realize he’s teaching himself to roller blade so that he can play street hockey with our son and my heart melts.
I’m reminded of how our marriage has changed.
It’s no longer about just the two of us anymore. Our world has grown so much.
We show each other love in different ways.
When we are lying in bed - backs to each other, barely speaking - but one of us reaches out to pat the others hand.
When one of us have reached our limits and the other steps in to take over, whispering “go take a break” to the other.
When he picks up the ice cream I like when he goes grocery shopping or when I buy the coffee he likes, even though it costs twice as much as the other brand.
When we sit on opposite ends of the couch at the end of a long week and talk, about everything and about nothing at all.
Our life has changed so drastically since we first said I do, but I love it.
Life is chaotic and stressful and just plain hard and sometimes that leads to feelings that aren’t all wrapped in sunshine.
The biggest lesson that I have learned about marriage since having kids is that love can still shine so brightly through the clouds.
Every day I am reminded that I chose the right man to share my life with.
Valentine’s Day came and went again this year without any big fanfare.
We spent Valentine’s Day tag-teaming our responsibilities. One of us chauffeuring to tap class, the other cooking dinner at home. There were school lunches to pack and a doctor’s appointment to attend.
And we did it all together. That’s how my marriage has changed since having kids, we have become the hardest working, winning-est team of all and in my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine having a better teammate on my side.