Marriage After Baby: Seeking A Marital Boost
Winter is nearly 14-months-old now. I’ve heard that once a baby turns a year old things get "easier". While Winter is becoming more independent, has always been a joy to be around and is beginning to develop quite the personality, I don't know if the word "easier" really rings true for my family right now. I am having to do a lot of cognitive re-framing and instead of wishing or waiting for it to get "easier", I am hoping to and working on finding vitality and resilience when faced with the stress of being a parent.
Not having any family around to help out makes things much harder on us in some regards, as we are constantly striving to find the balance and the time to fit it all in. I would love it if our week consisted of a date night, each being able to workout consistently, time for friends and uninterrupted family time and outings. But there doesn't seem to be enough time in the week or enough money to pay for a nanny to jam it all in. Therefore, we have to be very thoughtful with how we spend our time together as a couple and as individuals, which is very difficult to do after a long workday. Most of the time the last thing I want to do is hold a conversation, play music or a game with Perry or workout after Winter has gone to bed.
I want to clarify before I go any further that Perry and I have so much love for each other. We are in this for the long haul but I would be lying if I said that we haven't had to fight tooth and nail for a better marriage. What I am about to disclose doesn't make us weak or shows signs that we are failing. If anything, I think it shows our dedication to making this marriage not only work, but thrive.
So here it is, Perry and I have decided to start marriage counseling.
We have attended one session so far, and for some reason the topic of that conversation was house cleaning and division of the chores. Don't ask me how or why we got started there, but we did. We came to the understanding that I prefer when we clean as a team and we both spend 20 minutes tackling the list together. Perry prefers if we both clean when it feels most convenient to us throughout the day, so it doesn't have to be this "drop everything and clean" mentality. We haven't quite found the solution to make those preferences blend, but I think being aware of what we each want helps us communicate better when it comes to the chores, because now we can ask for what we want.
I know that it sounds so silly that we are working on division of labor, but I am a firm believer that if we can master communicating effectively about the little things, such as chores, we can master the bigger, more emotional topics too.
Perry and I agreed that we are going to give this counseling thing a try. It felt nice to be heard and not interrupted when we were talking. We both want to go back for a few more rounds until we feel like we have more tools in our toolbelt to tackle the more difficult, heat of the moment issues that may arise.
Perry and I want to model for Winter what it looks like to have a disagreement and then come to a solution in a healthy manner. But we aren't always able to do that right now. I am proud of us for acknowledging this and taking the steps necessary to address it.
Marriage is a choice and I still choose him. Always have, always will.
How has your relationship been strengthened or challenged after having a baby?
Photography by Jessica Mielke