I’ve been thinking about my marriage a lot lately.
My husband and I have been together for almost a decade: We met in our twenties, have been married for four years, and for the past year and a half, have been new parents.
Maybe I was just naive, but I didn’t realize how much having a baby would change our relationship. Until recently, I was under the assumption that our marriage would always be ‘business as usual’ – that we would always be the best of friends, no matter what. We always were the best partners in crime: both career driven, social butterflies, and we just understood each other, no questions asked. We were a well oiled machine.
But him and I have both changed a lot in this last year. His focus has been on his career and his child, with multiple new opportunities that make me nervous, and proud. And as for myself, having to relearn who I am as a woman and as a mother has left me fully consumed. All day, my head is filled with thoughts only a mom will understand: “Am I doing this right? Did I ruin her? What can I do better?” I cannot speak for my husband, but at least for myself, I forgot that I had to relearn who I am as a wife, too. I needed to check in on my marriage, and how becoming parents has changed us as a couple.
I mean, it’s kind of obvious that things were going to be different. There is a whole new person in your couple dynamic—Hi Olive—your energy level is low, your priorities have changed, and you’ve been together so long that you’ve entered a comfort zone that lets you assume that (too much) silence is okay.
In all honesty, all my energy is put into being a Good Mother during the day, that by the time the day comes to an end, I am too wiped out to be a Good Wife. I am usually the grumpy-ass wife, or the silent wife, or the take-the-kid-from-me-now wife. I am finding it difficult to balance the two roles with grace.
Someone recently said to me, the relationship with your partner should always come first. Not the one with your child. And I think I understand; when I put in the effort to nurture my marriage, I am protecting the relationship that my child sees the most. I show Olive that our marriage is important, and needs to be worked on. I show her that Mom and Dad put in effort to love each other, to accept, to forgive.
I show OIive that our family is worth it. Because it is.
So, I want to remember to connect with my husband every day. I know we are both tired, and sometimes the last thing you want to do is talk. But, my hope is that if I work on it a little, each day, we’ll never drift too far apart.
Image Credit: That’s me, on my wedding day, and the photo is by the brilliant Max Wanger