NINE | When Your Marriage Looks Different

Marriage After Kids

Today is my ninth wedding anniversary! I still vividly remember the early days and yet here I am, staring down the big ONE-OH.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how children change a marriage. I am in awe of couples who, during the beginning of their marriage, have children in quick succession. Jordan and I both wouldn’t have handled the chaos well. We’re still finding a balance and some days we manage better than others.

I know I am not the only one who has read blog posts and articles on the importance of keeping your marriage at the forefront after children. As someone who is still in the thick of baby-land I am here to share a slightly different perspective, albeit my own perspective.

Even when you love your spouse, there will still be seasons when your marriage won’t be priority number one. Spoiler alert — this doesn’t mean your marriage is in trouble.

Marriage After Kids

I am writing this on Saturday night, the night Jordan and I were supposed to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary. A babysitter was all lined up, but Phoenix took a strange turn (due to teething) Friday night and we didn’t feel comfortable leaving him. He wasn’t eating well, due to a blood blister, and kept breaking out in random crying fits.

Jordan still had a CD release party to attend (which originally we worked into our date night), so after a simple dinner at home he left. I stayed home and an episode of Big Little Lies (I am savoring it slowly) and read a few chapters of Picnic in Provence before going to bed early.

This is not a typical how to keep your marriage #1 even in spite of sleep deprivation. I am writing to say it’s okay if your marriage looks different from what you thought after children. Especially that first year of a child’s life. The first year is tough!

Marriage After Kids

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This difference doesn’t mean you are failing or need to be concerned about your marriage. Jordan and I often communicate to one another about how this season of life is about saying yes to work opportunities, community relationships, and family time. When we’re both not working we want to pour our energy into Phoenix — time alone, this first year, isn’t our main priority. Creating space for the three of us often means Jordan works late after Phoenix is in bed. One day, soon, things will start to turn and we will have more time together.

So, if you wonder how date-nights work when you are exhausted or can’t afford extra childcare or your partner travels a lot or maybe you value time at home because you work long hours, I understand. I, too, am still figuring it out.

Marriage After Kids

I love you, Jordan. Thank you for supporting me and understanding coffee, especially in the morning, is my love language.

Year Five | Year Six | Year Seven | Year Eight

20 thoughts on “NINE | When Your Marriage Looks Different”

  1. Happy 9 years!! Not every season of marriage looks the same or allows for the same habits and celebrations–and I think that’s a good thing. Too much same-ness wouldn’t make for great stories, I always figure.

  2. Happy anniversary! My hubby and I just celebrated our first–we don’t have any little ones yet but he has a 17 and 14-year-old from a previous marriage and even then, balance for us is key. We may have alone time now but even when we don’t, I know it’ll be so worth it. 😉

  3. Happy Anniversary! 9 years! Wow. I’ll gladly take advice from you any day! This is a helpful perspective and I think it’s going to be hard for us to find the balance of meeting our kid’s needs but also prioritizing us. I want our kid to see how much we value each other and our marriage, but not at the expense of him ever feeling anything less than loved.

    1. Prioritizing one another is so different when a child is 3-5-9-12 etc. but this first year? As working parents, sleep is also important. I can compartmentalize really well so while Phoenix is still reliant on us for everything that won’t last forever.

  4. Yes to all of this! I am in this situation right now. Just had baby 2 a few weeks ago and also have a 1 year old. LIFE is insane! We’ve been married for 3 years, hubby has been deployed for 6 months already, gone 11 months last year, and finding time together is almost impossible. I try to remind myself it’s only a season. Thanks for the reminder girl!

  5. Catherine, I love this!! Devin and I work so hard to make sure we’re still enjoying life together as best friends & spouses (though we’re only coming up to our 5th anniversary!), but you’re right–sometimes things just look different! And happy 9th anniversary to you both!!! 🙂

  6. Happy anniversary! My hubby and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary in May and we’re still figuring out the balance of keeping our love vibrant while taking care of a 9 month old. It’s good to know we’re not alone in this 🙂

  7. Happy anniversary! I have to agree with everything you said here. Marriage after kids is so different, and it’s impossible that things won’t change. As long as you and your husband are happy and communicating, it’s all good. 🙂 I hope you and your husband have a fabulous year!

  8. Congratulations on your anniversary! 9 amazing years, I’m sure.
    I’m glad you’re so honest about what life is like right now for you all. Thank you for not pretending like it’s all sunshine and roses but also not like the world is caving in. lol. It paints a realistic picture of what the first few months and year of life will be like with a kid and I’m grateful for the perspective.

  9. This is so insightful! One of the hardest parts of marriage is comparing your relationship to others’ and trying to figure out if you’re doing relatively okay. But you’re so right – there are different seasons of life that require you to focus on different things, and it doesn’t mean that your marriage is any more or less healthy.

  10. I always appreciate your honest reflections on marriage and motherhood, but this was one of the best! I agreed with so much of this, especially this part: “Even when you love your spouse, there will still be seasons when your marriage won’t be priority number one. Spoiler alert — this doesn’t mean your marriage is in trouble.” YES. I heard so much before I had a baby that my marriage always needs to come first, but sometimes it just can’t. I love your focus on family time with the three of you this year, and I think that’s good and healthy! I feel the same way.

  11. YES YES YES YES YES. I always think this when I read those kinds of blog posts. It’s just this season, and it’s okay. It’s the way it should be, I think. Happy anniversary, my friend.

    1. It’s only a problem when the “season” becomes years and years. There are still ways to connect in small ways while realizing this isn’t the season for a lot of alone time together.

  12. Yes! I love this so much! Everyone needs to be doing what’s right and what works for their marriage. Every relationship is different and, not only is that ok, it’s also GOOD!

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