I’ve been with my husband for what feels like a long time now. We know each other. In fact, I’d almost say we know it all at this point. There are few stories left unshared and to my knowledge, no quirks left uncovered. One zigs, the other zags to fill the gap. It’s a nice place.
In the beginning of most relationships there is caution and tension. You never want to reveal too much at once. You do the ‘romantic’ things. Unplanned weekend getaways, dinner, movies, flowers…Some of these things carry over into marriage, maybe even some carry on if you choose to have kids. And then one day, you discover a closeness you didn’t have before.
This happened more slowly than I would’ve imagined for me. I honestly didn’t realize we could be closer. It just happened. My husband has seen me go through sickness, health, better and worse. He’s experienced these same things, we’ve experienced it all together.
There was a time when I was uncomfortable talking about some things with my husband. I didn’t want to discuss all of childbirth with him so I didn’t. The talk of waters breaking grossed him out…once upon a time before he was officially ‘daddy’. He was there through my labors and deliveries. He held our ‘slime’ covered newborns, even helped me nurse when I lamented that you needed three hands to pull it off. Somewhere between being afraid to talk about the graphic details of birth and actually being in the midst of it, walls came down. When you reach a point where you can say out loud that your vagina hurts and your husband just goes and gets another padcicle (those are a thing, postpartum mamas probably know), that’s a whole other kind of love. Romantic? No, but it is certainly love.
What parenthood CAN do for spouses is almost miraculous. You’re sense of shame disappears and a bond forms. A bond not only between you and baby – between you, baby, and your spouse. You are partners now, in more than a marriage. You’re partners in the running of your family. You probably weren’t wholly immature before you had kids. I don’t care if you were 20 or 40 when they came, they will mature you. You’ll start to talk in sing-song voices, but you’ll have little time for movie nights or arguments about which band is better. Going to bed before 10 won’t be so crazy anymore. You’ll be what you once called ‘old’.
Your roles in parenthood will make intimacy difficult at times. Your children won’t care that you planned this night for weeks. Tonight is going to be the one night out of months that they will not sleep. If they see you hold hands, they’ll often get right in the middle because they want to hold both your hands. And that’s okay, it’s good. If they see you kiss and you’re lucky, they’ll want a kiss. Or they’ll be older and just say, “Ewwww.” Yes, intimacy is different, but can mean so much more. When your partner can look at you and tell what’s wrong without words, it’s nice.
Closeness and intimacy (in the true sense, not just the carnal) don’t happen overnight. It’s an ever-evolving process. It takes happiness, defeat, and the gamut of emotions and life experiences. To be ‘in love’ isn’t enough. To be immersed in your lives together, fully invested emotionally, physically, and mentally…that’s the key. And that was our ticket to bringing down walls and experiencing our piece of happiness.