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I’d bet you a million dollars that if you ask happily married couples in their seventies or eighties to describe the easiest phase of their marriage, that none of them would wax poetic about the time when their kids were in diapers. At least this is what I tell myself on a regular basis as a mom with a toddler and a newborn.
Marriage is hard. It’s a commitment to be present with another human every single day for your whole life. It’s not always pretty. It’s much more of a spiritual commitment than the promise of a lifetime of romantic dates.
My husband and I have a saying about parenthood that we keep coming back to. It’s a time when we love today, miss yesterday, and look forward to tomorrow. Our two-year old is adorable (sometimes) but we miss the days when we could just go out to lunch, grab a drink after work, or even just leave the house in silence. And we are excited for when our kids are a little more grown up and independent, and don’t require constant attention and supervision. Even a play date for an hour would be a nice change of pace.
When kids are screaming and I’m beyond sleep deprived, it’s easy to forget why I married my husband. Luckily, it’s also easy to remember too. Sometimes all it takes is a moment of holding hands on the couch or a quick cuddle. Other times, it might take a proper date or doing something we both love together, like hiking or biking or traveling.
And I have moments where I wonder whether it would be easier if I were single. More independence, fewer responsibilities. I’m sometimes jealous of the couples who are engaged and just starting on their journey together. I’m sometimes jealous of friends who are divorced and have more independent time for their own pursuits.
But I signed up for marriage intentionally and with my eyes open. I know that marriage is work. I know that that the depth of our relationship will emerge over time. I know that falling in love with the same person over and over is a different kind of falling in love, but one that will satisfy my mind, body, and spirit over the course of my lifetime.
My husband is totally and completely my best friend. He’s just a best friend who is equally stressed and sleep-deprived as I am. We’re not always at our best but we are trying our best, and have the long game in mind. Needing a break from someone isn’t the same as wanting a break-up.
So yeah, marriage is hard. And it’s especially hard right now with a NO MOMMY toddler and a hungry newborn. But if there was anyone I wanted by my side when things are tough, it’s the guy I chose to be my partner in rainbows, unicorns, poop, and vomit – and everything in between.