The sight of two unhappy faces of the husband and wife in a car which is stuck in a jam during the morning rush hour is not uncommon. It’s written all over their faces – fatigue, annoyance and even boredom. I used to joke about how you can instantly tell whether a couple is married through their body language and facial expressions. It is a sad joke but it is reality.
And I think to myself, how sad and ironic it is that two people who profess to be so deeply (and madly) in love with each other, enough to make you want to commit to a lifetime of marriage with each other, often end up getting annoyed with each other over the years.
A year and a half into my marriage and one kid later, I can see how things can potentially spiral downwards. A kid really is able to turn a couple’s lives upside down. This is especially so during the first few months of baby’s arrival. The fatigue kicks in and your lives really just revolve around the baby’s nap times and feeding times. There are a lot more chores to be done all that crying and screaming from the baby just really gets to you after a while. Because of all these changes, tempers flare more easily, words become more curt and romance becomes the last thing on your minds.
I now fully appreciate why couples who have stayed married for decades say that it takes a huge amount of effort to stay in love, or in the marriage for that matter.
Initially, I was a bit bitter about how things have changed since Aly’s arrival. It doesn’t mean I would have changed anything if I had the choice, because Aly is really the best thing that has happened to us as a couple. But I was still sad that things were no longer the same. I had my ideals and it was difficult dealing with the changes in our lives. But we had before the baby came along, discussed our plans for the future and part of the discussions was on how we would set aside time for each other even with baby in our lives.
We now set certain rules for ourselves. I say rules because more often than not, it’s easier to take the easy way out and just not do anything. So we now set a date night each week, where we just leave Aly with our parents a few hours longer, and just go out for dinner or a movie by ourselves. Once in a while when we would like a break during weekends, we also seek help from our parents, who would be more than happy to spend a few extra hours with their precious grand daughter. We took some time off during my maternity leave to go for a short trip to Bali. It was most difficult being away from Aly for a couple of days and we missed her dearly, but we also appreciated some time to ourselves as a couple. In fact, we are already planning our next trip together without Aly!
We make it a point to chat and catch up on our drive to work, after dropping Aly off and take time to what’s app each other during work. Some time is set aside before bedtime to just catch up.
It all sounds very deliberate i know and some may ask why this has to be so, but yes, some effort is needed and such efforts need to be sustained!
Remember that the first step to being good parents is to stay in love. A strong marriage is the foundation to a close knitted family, so do yourselves and your kid(s) a favour and keep falling in love!!