Thursday, March 5, 2015

When parenthood makes marriage hard

When you are pregnant you get loads of advice from friends who have children. They tell you about sleepless nights, colic, and the lack of showering. Want to know what people don't tell you about having a baby? It can make marriage hard. 

In the 8.5 years I've been married, my husband and I have pretty much always been on the same page. For all the big life stuff we've seen eye to eye. We don't argue often and I think have had 3 "fights" in the course of our marriage.  

One of the lessons we took away from our pre-marital counseling was the importance of communication. It took some time, but we got really good at this. Don't hold onto anger, don't keep accounts of how you've been wronged. Bring it up, get it out, talk it through, love one another and move forward. Roger that. Somehow in the haze of having a newborn, our strategy got muddled. Suddenly it's not just the two of you. Suddenly there is this little person who needs every ounce of your attention and care. 

When our son arrived, we both threw ourselves into active, hands-on, compassionate parenting. Our focus shifted dramatically onto his care and nurturing. Care for baby, eat, sleep, repeat. There just didn't seem to be enough hours in the day for anything more. When there was time there seemed to be so much that needed to be done...

  • Sleeping (sweet Jesus, yes!)
  • Household chores
  • Work 
  • Paying Bills
  • Showering
  • Feeding yourself
  • and oh yeah, maybe some sexy time?
When your baby doesn't nap longer than an hour at any given time, that's a lot to try to accomplish. We certainly weren't using that valuable time to communicate and over time, it started to show.

A few weeks ago, I realized things just didn't feel right with us. There was a tension. We were still going through all the motions, but something was off. I could sense unhappiness in my husband and I knew that I wasn't happy either. So after putting our son down for a nap, my husband looked at me and asked, "Everything okay?" and I teared up and honestly replied that it wasn't.

I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty, but what unfolded in the next 60 minutes was just what we needed. We sat at the table, holding hands with the baby monitor buzzing quietly between us. I laid out where I needed support, how I was feeling unhappy and unfulfilled and he told me how he felt pressure and stress and what he needed from me. I did some ugly crying, because it's what I do and we talked about changes we wanted to make. Instantly I felt that tension subside. 

In the days since we have made it a priority to really talk. Not the surface stuff, "did you take out the recycling?" "don't forget to drop off that check" but really talking to each other and checking in on how things are going. Even if it's just 5 minutes in the evening after Arlo goes to bed. We put down our phones and check-in. It's crazy how much that seemingly simple task has helped.

Marriage is hard, y'all. It takes work and effort and honestly I don't always feel like I have anything left to give my marriage at the end of the day. 12.5 months in and we're still figuring out how to be us + a baby. We probably will be for a while and that's okay. After all, nothing worth having comes easy, right? 

I'd love to hear from you. How do you nurture your relationship?


  1. Thank you for sharing Lindsey. Real communication really is so important, so many couples don't realize that. Continuing to date your spouse is so crucial to a healthy and happy marriage, and having real conversations is part of that courting process.

    1. You are so right! We've started having date lunches on the days our son goes to Mother's Day Out. Now daytime dates are some of my favorites!

  2. Love this! Made me cry. Been there, done that! (a couple times over) my advice: Hot tub. It's been tremendous. No tv. No phones. Just the two of you, a monitor, & beer.

    1. Hot tub and beer sounds just about perfect. :) Thanks for chiming in!

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