I always tell people that I have won the lottery in the marriage department. My husband Ethan, is the most wonderful husband I ever imagined having. Sometimes I wonder what I have done in life to deserve him. As lucky as I am, we have our moments too. A marriage is always organic; it sometimes blossoms lusciously, sometimes becomes unruly and always, always needs nurturing.
I have to admit that when our son Blake was born, our marriage definitely got sidelined. Blake was borderline colic, we had no family help. We poured both of our energies into taking care of him and paid minimal attention to each other. Although we discovered our groove as a team, there were times we snapped at each other due to fatigue. Most of all, I missed my husband terribly. I saw him everyday, but was unable to spend quality time with him.
When back at work, life was always hectic. Both of us worked full time. Life became a game of logistics. You pick up Blake, I cook. You bath him, I do the dishes. You take him to Mandarin class, I do groceries… Not to mention my driven husband, trying to find every minute of his free time to catch up on work, and completing his MBA program.
As a woman, immersed in this daily routine, I admit I sometimes long for the old, romantic days when I carefully picked out the outfit to go on a date with him and held his hand, shared our thoughts for hours while walking along the lake shore. Occasionally, I let my insecurity seep in and wonder if he would find the attention and intrigue in a different person, perhaps a svelte, smart 20 something at work who will have intelligent conversations with him during lunch time.
We’ve tried the date night thing but it didn’t quite work. We were usually too tired to do anything exciting and the babysitter’s cost really added up. Finance and the lack of help made date nights less enjoyable and we decided to cut them out.
Now I am 8 months pregnant with our second, I do wonder if it will be even harder for us after the new baby comes along. Taking some friends’ advice, I picked up ” The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” from Amazon. I’ll leave the book review for another day to blog, but I do want to mention an exercise I went through with Ethan.
It was one of those ‘how well do you know your partner’ kind of thing, nothing fancy. We picked 20 questions randomly out of a list of 60 and simply tested each other. Questions include “name your partner’s best friends”, “what are your partner’s life long dream and current aspirations” etc. We did very well as expected because we really knew each other. However, there were still questions we weren’t sure of.
When I asked Ethan about his “3 most special events/moments of his life” and “the most stressful event/moment of his childhood”, he had to think hard about them. Then to my surprise, he got emotional when answering. I listened intently (which I am really guilty of NOT doing enough) and felt ever so connected to his tender heart. As I pictured these moments when he described them, I felt his sorrow and happiness which as a typical man, he rarely let out easily. Our son was sound asleep in the room next to us, dreaming of super heroes, and I wrapped my arms around Ethan, sharing his memories and feelings, cherishing this moment of closeness.
That brief half an hour reminded me how connected we used to be, and the moments that made me fall in love with him at the beginning of our relationship. I should’ve never taken that for granted. It also confirms that although life is different now, we still are each others soul mates, and our love for each other runs deep in us. It also gave me a wake up call of the importance of paying undivided attention to the other person. Next time I feel tempted to run the to-do list in my head instead of listening to Ethan when he talks, I will remind myself of this moment.
I once read somewhere that one of the best thing you can do for your child, is to love your partner. When parents are in love, kids are happier and more positive. For all my busy mom friends out there, have you invested in your marriage lately? Not just time, but emotionally as well? Have your complaints trumped gratitude? Have you paid undivided attention to each other lately? When was the last time you felt the feelings you had when you first fell in love with him?
I am certainly going to try harder, the to-do list can wait, but my marriage cannot!