Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Wheel: Balancing Marriage Before and After Baby

Sadly, children is one of the top five reasons couples get divorced. Not having children I'm not exactly sure why that is, but that statistic sorta frightens me.

When I was on my trip with The Blogrollers in Chicago I met a lot of women who had been married longer than I had. One thing I took the time to ask them was how they made their marriage work.

Most women were at a loss for words when it came to describing the technique. From what I hear, once you have kids it can make time together more difficult and stressful. Most of the women I talked to said it was a struggle getting their husbands to help out around the house.

Luckily for me, that's not a problem with us... Yet. To be honest, I'm the one getting begged and pleaded with to help. It's actually been that way the entire time we've been married. I've done the laundry maybe a handful of times, and the dishes... I think three times. So seeing we're an odd couple when it comes to that it has me wondering what our battles will be when a baby comes into the picture.

I think it'll be waking up at night... As we both love to sleep. When we first got Snoop I was the one who got up in the middle of the night to let him go to the bathroom. Now though, my husband is the one that remembers to walk (and feed) him every day.

Thinking about all of this and after reading my friend's Newly Identified blog post about marriage, it made me think about what makes OUR marriage work now.

One of the biggest, most obvious things is communication. We try not to go to bed angry, but sometimes that's not always possible. But when we wake up the next day usually we've cooled off enough to talk about whatever the problem is. Sometimes communication means tears (on my part) but at least it's getting it all out there. Neither of us are too proud to say "I'm sorry," and I can't think of any problem or disagreement we haven't been able to handle.

Sure, there are things that bug the HECK out of me, but I've learned to adjust to them, and not let it get to me. I think that's important--Accepting who they are, and remembering why you fell in love and got married. Sometimes that thing you loved about them changes, but that's ok. I think you've gotta be willing to grow and change together.

But most of all... The advice I think works best in any relationship, is advice I shared in a small hotel room in Chicago with five other wonderful women. The opportunity to share it came up when one of the women said sometimes it's hard to continue to get closer together as you grow older, because you change and sometimes grow apart. In answer to that I shared the advice I was given before we got married and I've promised to never forget.

My future-husband at the time, and I were described as spokes on a wheel. Sometimes we'd be far apart on this wheel and sometimes we'd be close together. But what will be sure to pull us closer together more than anything else is what's in the center of that post... The center being Christ.

He told us if we both work toward getting closer to Christ we'd also be getting closer to each other at the same time.

I'm not sure exactly how having a child will change our marriage. There are the obvious things like sleep and time, but I wonder what kind of toll it will take on us. I love spending time with my husband now, and sometimes that already can be short. How will I continue to make alone time for us?

Last night after a long day we went babysitting. We were both already tired and a little cranky, but our little friend was wide awake and ready to play. Not long after we got there, we were both getting tired. We took turns playing with him while the other rested our eyes.

During my his, my husband was playing with J, but he was being SO loud! I mean, WAY louder than the laughing baby. I shhhed him, and he told me that is what it was going to be like after we have a baby.

His words made me think... Seeing he'll be a fun and entertaining dad is encouraging, but obnoxiously loud? Hmmm. I hope our love for the Lord can keep us from driving each other crazy after kids!

I've heard children can bring you closer together but I've also heard they can drive you further apart. What do you do to keep your marriage going strong? Those with children--How do you make it so your children bring you closer together? What are the major changes in your relationship after having kids? I'd LOVE your input!