I met and began dating Jeremy ten years ago. I had gotten out of a verbally/emotionally abusive relationship eight months prior to meeting him, so when I started dating Jeremy I was surprised at how EASY it all was. There were no head games, no name calling, and no reason to be anything but myself. It was just, “you like me? I like you too. Cool. Let’s do this.” And we never fought. Ever. It wasn’t until we got married that we started having disagreements. But really, let’s be honest, having kids is what has brought on the biggest amount of disagreements.
I learned a lot about myself and my husband after having children. I learned (and he did too…) that I’m terrible with keeping my cool when the baby is crying. I get very flustered. And I learned that my husband still expects us to be on time wherever we go. Even though we have two extra little people to dress and a ton of stuff to (over) pack. Our biggest challenge after having kids is understanding that our communication with each other had to change. We never fought while we were dating because we were always on the same page, able to read each other’s minds, and know what the other would do in that certain situation. Because we’re a lot alike. But all that changed after having kids. A lot of times we’re not on the same page anymore. Sometimes we’re not even in the same book.
“Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”
“I think so, Brain, but how will the kids fit into the car seats with their water wings still on?”
Praying together, we get. Date nights, we get. And we communicate just fine on our dates. But we can’t live for the date nights. We can’t let our marriage fall and expect a date to catch and recover what we have. Date nights are a fine tune-up in a marriage, not a safety net. So what keeps our marriage alive after having kids? Accepting that we have to learn how to communicate with each other all over again. And more specifically, daily communication in a way that’s respectful to each other. I’ll admit that I’m not used to asking Jeremy to do something. He was very good at anticipating my needs before the kids came along. But now that we have extra stressors in our marriage, our way of communicating has had to change. We both had to learn to speak our needs out loud and not in an annoyed or resentful tone.
Another issue we’ve had is trying to have a REAL conversation with so many distractions going on. One thing that’s helpful, and it’s something we started when we were dating, is talking to each other on the phone every day. Jeremy calls me at lunch and every time he’s on his way home from work. That has made a HUGE difference in the amount of time that we get to talk to one another. It’s great because it gives us a chance to talk about how our days are going without being interrupted by the kids. Because, let’s face it, as soon as daddy gets home the kids swear up and down that NONE of their needs are being met and daddy is the only one who can save them now! And yes, sometimes I DO have to interrupt our phone conversation to discipline the kids. But I know Jeremy understands.
The key to making all of this work is remembering that my husband is my teammate. My best friend. Not my enemy. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. But no matter what, we are in this thing together. And together we made one awesome family.