. . . for Lauren and Lauren: Marriage after baby

February 16, 2014

Marriage after baby

 

I've happen to read a few posts lately about marriage after having a baby.  Most of them that I've read recently talk about how much more in love they are after having a baby.  How strong their relationship is and how amazing it's made their marriage.  

I read these posts and have to wonder how honest they are really being.  Then I wonder if there is something Chris and I are doing wrong.  

Let me start by saying that I am confident in the fact that I think Chris and I have a wonderful marriage. We've been married for over eight years and I think we have learned to balance each other out, communicate extremely well and have always been pretty satisfied with our relationship.  While of course not perfect, I feel like overall we have a strong, solid marriage.  


But I have to say that having a baby has made our marriage harder.  I'm not sure if it's because we were together so long and so used to each other being our only priorities or what, but it has definitely brought it's challenges.  We used to spend weekends hanging out together, having some time to ourselves, and being able to do whatever we'd like.  Together or alone.  While our lives were busy and filled with commitments, and we had to work at it sometimes, we always had time for each other. 

Sometimes now it seems almost impossible to find time to really connect and have full conversations.  Once we put Addilyn to bed, eat dinner and clean up the house a little, all I usually want to do sit on the couch and watch tv.  I'm tired from taking care of Addilyn all day and Chris is tired from work.  

I feel like my life now is all about Addilyn, which is great, but it's easy for me to find my sole identity in being Addilyn's mom.  I forget that my identity is also a wife and that should be even more important and I was a wife first.  It's easy to want to just sit and watch tv after a day of tending to Addilyn.  It's easy for me to want my space after having a seven month old attached to me all day long.  But those aren't good for my marriage. 


I love Chris more than anything and seeing him become a dad has been one of my favorite things about him. He couldn't love Addilyn any more and is the perfect dad for her.  I love watching him love his daughter and couldn't ask for a better man to enter parenthood with.  

I think marriage takes work no matter what.  Kids or not.  Stress or not.  But it's clear that having a baby makes it more challenging to find time to connect and to make sure we are putting each other first.  I feel like it seems silly to have to plan and schedule time to connect and talk but I think if we don't, it won't happen as much as we want.  

We decided that at least once a week we are going to not watch tv and do something together.  Play games, read a book, make a nice meal together once Addilyn goes to bed.  And have intentional conversations. Like these questions.  It's nice to sit and relax together but doing that night after night doesn't make our marriage stronger.   

Addilyn could not be more important to me and I love her more than I can even express.  But I love Chris more.  If our marriage isn't our first priority then we're going to get stuck in parents roles and not in our roles as each other's best friend.   I want to be an example to Addilyn of what a solid marriage is, like my parents did for me.  I want it to be so evident to her how much we love each other.  Some day down the line our kids are going to grow up and leave and I want to be left with a marriage that has been growing since the first year we got married.  

Marriage takes work and I'm thankful that we're both committed to working on it. 

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36 comments:

Savanna said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Jeremy and I have never had problems in our marriage, in fact it has always come rather easily to us but we have struggled after having each kiddo. Not the divorced kind of trouble but we get out of sync. We stop functioning as one. Eventuality it builds and we sit in bed talking for hours and just getting everything out. And then remember, other than have God at the center, communication is what makes us work. Having a new baby is hard, it is hard on everything. Yes I love my husband more now than before but I think it is just a different kind of love.

All of that to say, you are not alone. I think some probably do have a better marriage after having kids. For us it was hard on us because we were completely fulfilled before kids. Kids just made it different.

Now I am rambling so I will sign off. ;-)

Rebecca @ Mommy in Heels said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Marriage is hard. Plain and simple. It became a lot harder for my husband and I after we had our first. We had some pretty rough patches, like super rough. But, we talked (to each other, our friends, our parents...which was almost harder than talking to each other) and realized we weren't making each other a priority. You are so not alone! We just have to work harder now to make time for each other! Like you, some nights we wait to eat after the girls go to bed and have our own "date night." I mean, there are still days where I go to bed thinking 'I don't even think we kissed today!" But tomorrow is a new day, clean slate! I think the best marriages are the ones that are work, because it means you're trying! Ok...novel done :) Hehehe. Loved your post (obviously) :)

malary said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I love your honesty so much!! It is always refreshing to read your posts and know I am not alone. It has definitely been hard for us since having a baby but you are so right about making each other top priority because one day the kids will be grown and it will just be us again!

Kate at Green Fashionista said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Thank you so much for such an honest post. My husband and I have been married for 4 years, and we talk about starting our family all the time, but I'm so scared of how much it'll change "us". I'm dedicated to maintaining my wife roll, as that came first, but I'm afraid I'll miss how easy it was just being "us". I'm excited to head down the road of becoming a family, and love hearing real couple's stories of how their relationship evolved after becoming parents.

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I appreciate your honesty, Lauren, and I think you're right. The fact that you guys have been married for eight years adds that extra layer of difficulty in adjusting. I've been with my husband for eight years (dating and married), and I KNOW that having a baby will be an adjustment for us. A welcomed one... but a difficult one, I'm sure. I don't think you're doing anything "wrong." You're just being honest! THANK YOU.

Leanne Redding said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Thank you so much. I was going to write a similar post. I adore my husband and he adores me but I would definitely say our marriage isn't necessarily "better" for having kids. It's harder, less invested in, and not as fun in regards to our relationship. We used to be very spontaneous our 4 years pre-kids. It was very hard to adjust. And now we are adjusting to two with is even more of a change because they are rarely asleep at the same time. By the time they are we can barely get through a Big Bang.

Bettina Rae said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I'm pretty sure those other writers aren't being honest. It is bloody hard. We separated last year after growing apart too much after having our boy. I'm glad you guys are making that time before it comes to that. We are back together now and learnt a lot about ourselves and each other from the separation. Things are better than ever, but like you said; hard intentional work.


I wrote about it recently if you're interested. http://www.littleoldsouls.com/2014/01/why-separation-might-have-been-best.html

Bettina
x

Jennifer @ Delightfully Noted said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Amen! Ever since the baby our marriage has been tested in ways it never was before. I blame part of it on sleep deprivation! I remember years ago Heidi Klum and Seal were raked over the coals for stating that they try to make their marriage a priority to their children and personally I agreed w/ a lot they had to say (it went along the lines of the better you take care of yourself the better you can take care of others) Now of course we all know how they ended but still I think it's good to recoganize that more effort needs to be made!!

Kayla MKOY said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I so admire you for being so honest, girl. I'm sure it took a lot to write and publish this, but I know so many mothers and wives needed to read this post and not another one that portrays a perfect life, because let's be honest...perfect doesn't exist. I'm SO praying for you and Chris to find extra time to be intentional with each other because you are right! You are not only a momma, but a wife, too. :)

Pamela said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I love this post SO much!!! You are so right, you have to put your spouse/marriage first!!

alittlehopex said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

This is a good honest post.

As you know I'm not a mom. But making time for me and my husband is very little because of his work schedule. He works 2 jobs and between that he sleeps. I rarely get date night. The most I get is a tv show together now and then. It makes it rough. I love my husband he is my very best friend and we do have a strong marriage meaning we have tough times and make it through - but time with your spouse is really important.
Hopefully, when it gets nice out walking outside or doing outdoor activities will be nice for you - cabin fever and all! :)

- Manda

Jessica said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I feel like I could have written this post! After being together for almost 10 years, I really thought Luke and I had this marriage thing down! But a baby sure shakes things up. Marriage has always been kind of an easy thing for us, and having a baby really threw us for a loop. It's easy to snap at each other when we're tired and stressed and the baby is screaming. I also realized lately that I had been only caring about Scarlett's needs and not Luke's. But I realized that one of Scarlett's main needs is to have two parents who really love each other, and can model what a good relationship looks like. One of the main things that has helped us is having date nights every month or two, and putting Scarlett to bed a little earlier so we have more quality time together. Great post!

Bethany said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

As usual, I relate completely with this post! Once Allie goes down I just veg on my computer or in front of the TV, and so does Ben, and we've had to make a concerted effort to spend time together! It takes work, but that's okay! p.s. I love the pictures of the three of you in bed and Addilyn in her sleepsack. The yawn pic is my fave!

maria said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Katie, you have such a gift of honesty! I can relate to almost every post you write and this one is no exception.
Marriage is hard work, especially after baby, it's beautiful work,but it's hard!
xo

Jen said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

The newborn season is tough & draining! But I promise it will get easier for you & Chris to connect. Eventually you can turn on a show & spend time behind a locked door. ;) Soon she'll be begging for you to go on a date so she can play with a babysitter & you won't feel bad about going out.

Heather @ Heathers Hurrah said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I definitely agree with where you are coming from, and I also agree that marriage is harder with children (in some ways, at least). Like you, I love watching my husband as a father and we have no major deal-breaker issues or anything like that, but you just don't have the same level of time to commit to each other when children are in the picture requiring time and energy too. I am sure that it does eventually get easier, and I think that it also requires more work, but is definitely worth it. The main thing that works for us is trying to have at least one date night, just the two of us, a month. :) The idea of taking time to re-connect is great too...we usually try to do something like board games or playing Wii together :)

Brianne Bracco said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I think this is a great post my friend. And finding time for yourselves is important. Aaron and I are trying to set in better habits as well....after dinner the phones and computers are put away and its our time to hang out together :)

Helene in Between said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

such a great post Katie. I don't think they are being honest. i would think it would be harder, there is a brand new life in your lives! that you're responsible for! it's hectic and your time is spent differently. thanks so much for the honesty!

Kelsey said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

This is normal! On one hand my hormones evened out after each child so I really loved Brad again (pregnancy was NOT good for us). And then on the other hand, I was exhausted and it felt like those days of marriage were just going through the motions. :/ Looking back, I wish we would've invested the money to go on a regular date night. Like every couple weeks. It would've been so worth it! Also, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Now that the kids are older and sleeping much better, it's nice to have "normal" time together!! Hang in there! xoxo, Kelsey

Jessica said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Marriage is a choice.

Katherine P said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Yes! It's definitely hard to find your equilibrium after a baby. I've had a really hard time making the switch from mom to wife - especially when we was really little. That part is easier now but it still gets hard to actually spend time together versus collapsing in exhaustion after everyone's in bed! You're doing great!

Allison said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I just love your honesty Katie! I can only imagine how much your priorities shift back and forth from your responsibilities as both a mom and wife! I'm sure you handle it beautifully!

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

There's no question that marriage changes after kids. I think it's more about how you handle those changes that matters, not the fact that it does change. Recognizing the differences and being intentional about not letting them get in the way of your relationship is the perfect first step! Keep smiling, too :)

nancy @ adore to adorn said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I have to applaud you for being honest and relatable in this post. While I have not yet had kids of my own I can understand and respect the extra time and effort a marriage needs after a baby is born. After all, numbers change and so does your attention. The down time you had isn't necessarily there anymore and that might cut into time you have with your spouse. It's tough. It's challenging.

Personally, I also wonder how a relationship must change after a baby is born. How can it not change? The goal is to come out the other side stronger. But, it's tough when reading other blog posts that seem to capture only the positive without touching on the challenges. This is especially curious to me after meeting an acquaintance we had not seen in a while and bumping into her randomly after she had a baby. The baby is precious but she suddenly went into the fact at how drastic her and her husband's relationship changed. They stopped talking because their attention went to the baby. And since their living quarters are small, they literally stopped talking after the baby fell asleep. This combined with different schedules put them on a bad track. They are now in counseling to make sure they get back on track.

So...perhaps this is an extreme case but, it does make me realize that not everything comes out rosy and I appreciate your post so much.

Sorry for this comment to be so long!

xo,
nancy

Denise said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Appreciate your honesty.

Curious Runner said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Love your honesty here. I'm sure many of us can relate to this too... I certainly can :) You are a wonderful wife (i'm sure) and a wonderful mother, your family is lucky to have you :)

The Lady Okie said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

It's nice to hear a different perspective on this. I too have read a lot of those types of posts. I think it's okay to say it's hard. That doesn't mean you have a bad marriage. I thought that a lot about Jordan and I after our first year, and all my friends were like, "It's so easy!" and I wondered what we were doing wrong because it was really hard.

My name is Lydia said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

ughhoooww... not to belittle the gravity of having a baby, but i feel exactly like this but with school and work. dallas and i work and have school all day, by the time we get home every night (re: NIGHT), most nights we just get on our computers and look at facebook and watch tv reruns. it's pathetic, and we've only been married for seven months. but i also feel the same as you - that marriage takes work but is worth it. here's to sticking to it.

Erin said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Yes, yes, and yes. Nodding enthusiastically to all parts. We just started reading "Moments With You" devotions and then discussing them over dinner or whenever--it has led to some intentional conversations that otherwise would have been trumped by things like Downton Abbey. They all come with a marriage-related reading and then a question; most have been good. It's nice.

Laura said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I can really see how it would be hard to make time for each other during this season of life. I am proud of you for sharing this struggle, because I know there are other moms out there who are dealing with this too! I'll have to remember this one day when I'm stressed about this very thing. Remember, this is just a season!

Agnes Mayer said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I love the honesty of your post. Yes having children makes a marriage so much harder, and if people are honest with themselves, they will admit to that. Children makes a marriage harder, but that's reality. Nothing is perfect, marriage takes a lot of hard work and that's where your vows come in " For better or worse". If you can survive the first few years of your child's life then your marriage can survive. It takes a lot of hard work but in the end, it will make your marriage stronger.

Thank you for this honest and realistic post.

Agi:)

vodkainfusedlemonade.com

Nicole @ Haute Runner said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Great post! While I do believe that having children has made my marriage stronger and I love my husband more after seeing him become a parent, it is so important to work on your marriage every day.

We try to do date nights once a month and have an unplugged night where we play games or just hang out without distraction. It's hard to make the time but it's so important.

J and A said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Love this post Katie. Soooo true. Is hard to concentrate on our marriage when we feel exhausted, stretched to our limit and overwhelmed at times but it's really sooo important to invest in it. Love your honesty.

Megan C said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Great post and so true! Things change when you have a kid and I have noticed that my husband and I really have to work at spending time together. I love that you were so honest because many people do not share that.

Brandie Lane said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Honest post. For my marriage, we have to find intentional joy for our common privilege of enjoying our children as our first priority. It gets easier as your baby gets older and you realize how fast the seasons change, and how much you conquered as parents. We always take time to spend quality time without our children. We have to. For us and for our children.

Meg {henninglove} said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

marriage after baby. my opinion is that those who are like everything is great is trying to hide the fact that maybe they aren't or put a front. i appreciate your honesty lauren on this opinion and even after 1 month in, it is a struggle and i am ok admitting that. just throwing my two cents out there