I read this article earlier today about the strain children can put on a marriage. It was an honest, open admission of spousal dissatisfaction. The author, a mother to 2 children with a "bun in the oven", comments on the fact that she and her husband's marriage has suffered due to their growing family. It hasn't broken, but there's definitely some tension between them.
In the 13 plus years we've been married, ten of which we've been parents, the hubby and I have had tension. We've had arguments. We've chosen to not talk to each other, to make snide comments, or to otherwise make the other person miserable. The stress and worries of adulthood seem to be amplified by the presence of children.
Yet, we've also been blessed with a very strong relationship that seems to have grown instead of growing stagnant. We're both pretty open people. If one of us is angry, there's really no way the other person can claim ignorance. Subtly isn't something either of us practice very well. Although, I must admit, there are times when I think the hubby is mad and he's not (or so he says). Of course, this doesn't prevent me from harrassing him with his favorite question ever. "Are you mad?" Now, if you want to make someone angry, ask them that question a good half-dozen times. It's sure to do the trick!
But, I'm not here to give you advice on how to irritate the ever-lovin' piss out of your loved one. I'm sure most you can manage that with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back!
The point I'm trying to make here - and probably failing to do so - is that I'm lucky. The hubby and I have a very good relationship. Of course, that doesn't mean we don't take each other for granted sometimes, because we do. We might not say thank you enough or acknowledge the other person's contributions as we should, but we still manage to live together without our marriage dissolving into tantrums.
In fact, every now and again we manage to actually recapture a little bit of what we had before the kidlets arrived on the scene. This last weekend was especially nice because we actually managed to ship the kids off to my sister's (Thanks, Meg!) and had a date-night. Nothing fancy. Nothing extreme. Just perfect.
First we ran to the local brewery store where the hubby purchased a kit for a new batch of homebrew and I picked up two bottles of wine. Then we made our way to Bennigan's. The service was great, but the kitchen had issues. By the time the management had offered us coupons for free appetizers and we had used our gift card, we only had to pay a few bucks. Then we went to Kohl's where we both got one new work outfit apiece and the kids some fall jackets. After that, we did the unthinkable. Seriously! The unthinkable! We went to a bookstore.
I might have fallen just a little more in love with that man right then and there. He actually agreed to walk inside a bookstore. Granted, there was Starbucks coffee inside, which was likely the only reason he agreed, but he agreed! Better yet, he even browsed a bit. Doesn't matter that we wandered through the History section, the Sports section, or the Techy aisles. Doesn't matter at all. Although I noticed he kept me pretty well away from the fiction. I think he knew my self-control could only be pushed so far before it snapped.
The only downside of this glorious one-on-one time with my hubby is that we don't do it often enough. We don't make a point to just get out of the house and reconnect with each other on a regular basis. We don't carve out time for our relationship like we do for the other things in our lives, things like school, work, children, sporting events. It's something I'd like to work on. I think we both deserve time with each other and no other distractions.