Having children is the ultimate way to put a marriage through a ringer. Between sleepless nights and toddler tantrums, your nerves can become fried quickly and little arguments seem huge. All of your moments alone suddenly disappear or have a ‘nap’ time limit on them. Nighttime is the hardest because you want to spend time together but you’re so exhausted that sleep seems most appealing. Or – you’re so emotionally exhausted that you retreat to separate corners of the house to decompress alone. The relationship you had when you first got married is long gone.
You quench my heart, and love, you quench my mind.
I don’t believe anyone who says having children doesn’t affect a relationship. Our marriage is nothing like it was before Annabelle was born. We used to spend weeknights cuddled on the couch binge watching t.v. and weekends were spent dancing around the dining room. If you think of your marriage like a plant, the poor thing goes months without being watered after you have children. It’s not until we get lucky enough to have a parent come visit that we have a babysitter and our little plant is revived.
Do I think the strength of my marriage has weakened since having children? Absolutely Not. If anything, parenthood has made us stronger than ever.
I don’t think I appreciated being in the same room as someone I love as much as I do now. Over the last month, we’ve struggled with an infant who doesn’t sleep through the night… and if it weren’t for each other, I don’t know how we would be surviving. Whether it’s a quick squeeze of my hand after I return from the nursery, or a pat on my head when he is on his way to rock the baby, we’ve developed a way to silently communicate with one another during rough moments. The silence is not awkward, it is comforting since I feel like we have had to learn to talk with our eyes (toddlers have great hearing) and calm each other by touch. Never underestimate the power of touch…
My husband and I have been together since we were kids – I was 17 when I met him on a cruise and literally fell head over heels in love with him at first sight. Over the last 14 years, we have changed in so many ways, been through multiple ups and downs, fought like cats and dogs, but loved each other fiercely through it all. He stuck by me through the worst – my worst – and I feel like that strengthened my love for him.
Our children have taught us patience that we use with one another, that maybe we lacked before. Our children have taught us to talk instead of yell. Our children have taught us to have fun and be silly and to let our guard down when too often we may have kept it up. The children we brought into this world have changed our dynamic and challenges our relationship constantly. I am forever thankful for those two girls…Through thick and thin, we remain inseparable and that’s what most important.
And for the record, we still dance together on weekends… we just have a few more people in our dance party.
Caitlin Houston is a Connecticut based life and style blogger.