After nearly eight years of marriage, I still swoon. Not every day, but enough to embrace the idea that true love and a strong relationship can exist amid the haze of sleepless nights, trivial arguments, frustrations over parenting decisions and the realization that there is no perfect child, partner, family, or marriage.
I am not an expert on marriage. My first marriage failed after a couple of short years. This is not something I am proud of by any means. I made a lot of mistakes. We were young. We were unprepared. Mostly though, I didn't understand until it was too late that a real marriage only begins when the honeymoon period ends.
Disagreements and Frustrations
A real marriage involves disagreements and frustrations. A real marriage is about honesty and acceptance in all things, even if it means admitting you are not perfect. A real marriage requires mutual support and thrives when you root for each other's successes instead of competing or assigning blame if life doesn't unfold the way you imagine.
Once you have children, a marriage always changes. For me, I felt the impact of the changes after the birth of each and every child. That's right, my marriage has changed multiple times. It never happened right away of course, but once the post-baby honeymoon period subsided I felt it. Our roles as parents did not simplify as we added to our family. Our relationship did not get easier. Our expectations and frustrations did not lesson. Instead, each new baby gave us reasons to avoid talking. Each new baby gave us reasons to allow resentment to grow. Each new baby changed the entire family's dynamic and the shift was not always for the positive.
What I learned was that as soon as my husband and I admitted we were overwhelmed and asked each other for help (sometimes after a healthy argument that ended in tears) the tide of change always shifted in the right direction, bringing us closer and stronger.
Partners for Life
No one can handle everything alone, nor can we read each other's minds (even though I sometimes think he should after all these years). We need to accept each other's imperfections and remember that marriage is a relationship that needs work and attention. A lot of attention. From the kind of attention where you invest in a babysitter to the kind where you take a weekend without the kids.
So, I swoon, and I let him know I swoon.
I swoon when my husband tucks our children in bed or helps them with homework without being asked. I swoon when my husband wakes up before me on a Sunday and lets my sleep-in. I swoon when my husband asks for my opinion about a work issue or reads my writing and shares it without being asked. I swoon when he notices my perfume. I swoon when we share a smile after our children say or do something hilarious/cute/amazing. I swoon and I love my husband not because he is the father of my children, but because he is my partner for life.
What makes you swoon? Did you struggle to find your marital balance after the birth of your children?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.