Stop Yelling and Start Talking: Marriage After Children

Can you still remember the way you felt about your spouse when you first met?  I remember very vividly the feelings of ‘falling in love’.  A magical, euphoric whirlwind that embodied our first weeks, even months, together.  There really isn’t another feeling like it and it’s one that many of us continue to chase after, to keep the rush, the high, going.

The days tick by, then the months, the years.  You wed, many times you add a child or a few to the mix.  Over time the person that you knew wholly inside and out feels like a stranger.  The space across the bed seems very far.  You become nervous to reach out and touch the person whose chest you fell asleep on every night. Somehow the person that you created a family with feels foreign to you.  And you reach a crossroads.

AcrosstheBedIf you’re committed to your spouse, to the vows you made to one another, you long desperately to fix what feels broken.  You still feel love.  The nervous feelings of a new relationship return, but are tinged with loneliness, desperation, and thankfully hope.  Maybe your loneliness and hurt turn to anger and you start to lash out against the same person you so desperately long to be close to again.  Maybe it turns to indifference as you feel like this is how it is – that ‘growing up’  (or growing old together) just changes things.  But deep down, those feelings of falling in love are still there.  And if you put forth the effort, they can strengthen and grow instead of weakening or fading all together.

When you’re new parents, all your energy is focused on your children.  It’s no longer a priority to ‘impress’ your spouse or make time for one another.  Perhaps it should be.  If you aren’t strong in your marriage, you aren’t as strong in your parenthood.  Taking time for each other is as important as taking time for your children and togetherness as a family.

This is where I admit what I don’t want to – my relationship was growing weak.  I was filled with resentment and had turned my hurt to anger.  I was not ‘just mommy’.  I did not want to be seen as ‘just their mom’.  I was longing for him to see me as the person he changed his world for.  I needed to know and to feel that he still saw the untamed spirit in my eyes.  I didn’t want to feel like my husband was a stranger anymore.  Yes, we had changed, but at the core, we were and are the same.

And so, instead of continuing to stew in my anger, I stopped yelling and started talking.  I voiced what I felt and explained what I needed.  I asked to be told what he felt and what he needed.  I asked him to walk down memory lane with me and tell me what memories he holds on to – and shared mine with him.  Memories of the same life, felt differently, but remembered fondly.  In doing so, the euphoric feelings returned.  The late night giggles and the “I can’t believe we did that(s)” brought us back to one another.  It all came back fast.  And it doesn’t have to end or change.  It can grow.

EachOthersYou are not ‘just a mother’ and he is not ‘just a father’.  You are each others.  You can be a solid fortress of support and strength for each other and your children.  You can still be ‘that’ couple.  A room full of people and when your eyes lock – no one else exist.  The knowing glances, the shiver the goes up your arm and down your spine when he touches your hand and pulls you close to him.  You are his – this love is your’s to share.  Envelop yourselves in it, feel it to your core, and do not give up on each other.

This is our love, this was the seed that was planted somewhere in time before we ever met.  And we’re choosing to nurture it, to feel it, to grow it.  This is ours…

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