Of course, I love my husband. I love him with all of my heart. I cannot fathom a life without him. Yet, through the trials and tribulations of life, a question evolves as to whether or not love itself is enough to make it through the roller coaster of life. Will we survive the ride and come out as strong as the days when we were consumed by the excitement and anticipation of one another and our future? Our seat belts are fastened, we’ve taken off, we’ve been through some loops, but are we still holding hands?
Sleepless nights, financial woes, endless responsibilities of parenthood, career changes, cross-country moves, cyclical bedtime tantrums, and personal life crises all bring me to the conclusion that, no, love in it’s purest form is simply not enough.
After years together, the beat starts to skip and the broken record starts to play.
Love you. See you tonight. Have a great day. We say it every morning. Words that seem so promising and concrete but can, in reality, be so empty and meaningless.
What happened to the passion? The romance? The paralyzing need to have you by my side every second of every day?
Well, passion is still there, it’s just disguised. The sparkling energy has simply been rerouted in the direction of other things. Things such as raising children and climbing the career ladder. Hey, the stamina for those things has to come from somewhere.
The romance is still there too.It’s just via Netflix now. Watching love triangles unfold and feeling the butterflies of fictional characters in the comfort of our own home, in the quiet of the night, with a glass of wine is pretty darn romantic to me these days. Vicarious living will suffice for now, as meeting the high expectations of old fashioned romance sounds exhausting.
The need to have you next to me 24/7 has been replaced with the dire need NOT to be touched for a while, after a long day of being physically suffocated by our tiny, sticky-fingered offspring. Personal space is a privilege, not a right these days.
Does any of this sound familiar to anyone else? It’s love in the time of parenthood and it’s normal. But there are some very important things that can be incorporated into it all to make sure we come out of this as strong as the days when the butterflies were abundant and all-nighters together were intentional.
- Be Goofy. Humor is one of the biggest components of our relationship. If we aren’t laughing, we aren’t connecting. Finding the funny in even the toughest situations keeps stresses at a minimum and helps us stay grounded as a couple.
- Be Smart. Knowledge is power and power is sexy. My husband and I enjoy catching up on the latest current events or researching things that are of interest to both of us. We can spend countless hours discussing facts, entertaining each other’s views, and even playing devil’s advocate. It feels great to step away from the world of parenting and use our minds to connect on a more intellectual level.
- Be Aggressive. I’m not talking 50 Shades of Gray status here. I’m simply referring to the notion that no matter how tough things may get, don’t give up on each other. Fight for your love. Fight for the life you envisioned together. Fight to keep the spark alive whenever it is in danger of dimming. Fight with each other (not physically, of course) – hashing out pent up tensions are healthy for a relationship. And most importantly, fight not to be perfect, but simply to be happy.
- Be Aware. I can always sense when something seems off in our relationship. There is a sense of distance that sets in when we aren’t in sync, a cloud of heaviness when stress is taking over. These things can be expected from any long term relationship. The key is simply to recognize when something is off and do whatever you can to fix it.