I think the key to a happy marriage is to get rid of the picture in your head of what a happy marriage should look like. Like erase it. Permanently. And while your at it, I would also let go of the image of what your marriage looked like before children because that has also forever changed. Lets face it, marriage is hard just on it’s own, without kids. You take two people from very different backgrounds who handle situations very differently and you basically put them in a confined space. For life. And once you start to learn each others ins and outs, BAM you have kids and it’s a whole new ball game.
Parenting is marriage On steroids. The stakes are high. The love and level of emotions are something that is unimaginable and indescribable. It’s beautiful and hard and consuming all at the same time. And there is no break. There is not much time to tend to your marriage because you are literally never alone with your own thought unless it’s after hours and your child is asleep. And no one in their right mind wants to sit and “talk” after being on the clock all damn day. So any issues in your marriage get swept under the rug and don’t get dealt with in a timely manner. I know that things at my house are usually great until they aren’t. Most of the time I can’t even pinpoint when the little things become big things because it happens so fast and out of the blue.
The truth is, as parents, you fight more about stupid things because you are mentally and physically drained.
All of your energy now goes to the children and let’s face it, you are surviving in under less than desirable conditions. Saying parents are sleep deprived is an understatement. When people with kids tell you that you will not sleep for 18 years after you have a child they are not lying. My child is four and still wakes up three times a night needing something. And that’s just one kid. I think parents with multiple kids must be surviving in a constant state of exhaustion.
To top it all off, you’re physically not up to par. Our bodies are nothing like they used to be before kids. Or at least mine isn’t. My body has aged tremendously and my stamina has declined. You cannot always eat a healthy meal and there isn’t a ton of time to hit the gym or pop in a yoga class.
There just isn’t enough time in the damn day.
You just aren’t at your best, plain and simple. In fact, your best has completely morphed into something else.
I think my point here is that marriage is harder after kids and its supposed to be. I think the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can set ourselves free of unrealistic expectations. I’m no marriage expert nor do I have my PHD in parenting but I have a lot of very close girlfriends and let me tell you that marriage is hard for everyone, some people just hide it better then other. We all fight with our husbands. We all play games. We all stand on our high moral ground sometimes. We all have gone to bed angry. We all struggle sometimes.
I wrote this blog as a release and reassurance that it is OK that it’s hard sometimes and to remind myself daily to be better. To be a better listener. To be a better communicater. To be a better wife. Because I know I can be. I feel like sometimes it’s easy to get caught in the details of parenting and forget what brought you together in the beginning. And it’s love. You are in this together, forever. You made a life together and no one can ever take that away from you. So focus on that. Focus on the good. Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t hold on to any negative energy.
Let that sh*t go.
And figure out what the picture of your marriage is now and be Ok with it. Create a new image if you don’t like the one you have. Be an example for your kids. Be the marriage they hope to have one day. In my random motivation for this post I decided to make a mission statement for my marriage. I’m going to put it on the fridge and read it everyday.
“To strive to be better, everyday. And when we are struggling, to find the joy in the chaos. And to always try to put each other first, after God.”