With all of the upcoming focus on Valentine’s Day, it made me realize that I haven’t talked about my marriage in a while. I know why I haven’t. It’s because I haven’t had much positive to share about it. Because we’re kind of just okay.
Despite my goals to spend time with my husband, the few moments we get are few and far between. And they just seem lost in the day to day operation of raising 3 kids. One or at best two special moments per week do little to counteract all of the daily things that chip away at our relationship.
Without that emotional connection, we are quick to disagree with each other or be defensive when the other is making a point. It’s amazing how badly we misunderstand each other. We pick at each other’s parenting. We make negative assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.
The kids are really going through a lot, which pushes both of our buttons. I am extra worn out from our son beginning his terrible two’s and our 4-year-old daughter being quite a handful. Emotions are pretty volatile in our house these days, and the screaming and crying really does wear on the nerves. Even the teen, who’s very well behaved, has been pretty emotional as well.
We used to be so much better at keeping up with our relationship. One or the other would bring up little issues as they came up. Now, we have a hard time finding an opportunity to talk, even in the evenings, because the teen goes to bed when we do. If we wait until after she goes to bed, it feels like we are bringing up a whole bunch of negative stuff right before bed. The result? So much stuff goes unsaid, causing resentments and misunderstandings.
I know my husband feels like the kids take up too much of my time and energy. And for me, it seems impossible to give him the attention he wants when I’ve got one screaming and other talking non-stop. Despite being very similar people, we tend to have very different ideas about parenting which causes friction at times. And frankly, I am exhausted.
It’s just hard. I don’t think it’s exactly what either of us pictured this phase of child rearing would be like.
We love each other and in retrospect, it was good that we spent 6 years working on our relationship before having kids. But right now, we are just hanging in there. Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t given up on us. We are just muscling through these tougher phases with the kids, waiting for time to pass and things to get better. And I know it will get easier as our youngest gets older and more self-sufficient.
Remembering that all relationships have their natural ebbs and flows really help. If we expected that it would be love and roses all the time, this season would probably seem like a deal killer. We are committed to our marriage for the long haul and know that we will have plenty of time for us when the kids are grown.
What about you? Does your marriage take a backseat when you’re busy with the kids? How do you stay committed for the long haul?