I got married young, started a family young and by no means have it all together. However, after 10 years of “happily ever after” and 3 boys I do feel like I’ve learned a few things.
Most people look at me like I have 4 heads when I make the statement, “My husband comes first over my kids.” I tend to get the usual replies like, “My kids always come first in my life” or “We spend such a short amount of time with kids and I’ll have the rest of my life with my husband.” All of these points are valid and if that works for these women then more power to them. I suggest whatever method leads to a happy, healthy, and long marriage. However, for me the idea of “putting my husband on hold” until the kids are grown has never settled well.
Before we became pregnant with our first I remember telling my husband that I never wanted him to feel “left out” when a child entered our lives or that he was “being put on the back burner.” We agreed that our marriage and commitment to one another would always be our first priority no matter what life threw our way.
I’ve seen a lot of couples who get caught up in what I like to call adulting- (i.e. all the tasks, responsibilities, and stress adults have to face day after day) – then they add kids to the mix and all their time is spent picking cheerios out of their hair, baby proofing and trying to keep up on the latest pokemon characters. (or are they even called characters….ugh see…can’t keep up)
My point is many of these couples slowly start to drift apart because it’s so easy to put each other on the back burner. Before they know it all the kids are out of the house and they wake up and don’t even recognize the person sleeping next to them. Facing an empty nest is hard enough but if you’ve neglected your marriage over the past 20 years a whole bucket of issues begins and at that point it’s usually too late to fix.
Its this scenario that has always and will continue to terrify me. I never want to grow old and not have the person I built a life with be a stranger to me. I want to be able to recall and remember our memories together as friends and lovers and partners. I don’t want to look at my husband and wonder “who he is” or “what has happened to him” and I don’t want him to look at me with those thoughts either. I want our love story to be like a beautiful rose garden that has been dutifully tended too and watered. Yes, it’s had some weeds and thorns along the way but with some hard work and sweat the beauty has been restored. I want to die knowing I gave him my whole heart, no matter how full it got or busy.
Women are right – we do only have our children for a short time. Life is fleeting and before we know it our baby is in school and our innocent babes turn to rebellious teenagers. I want to savor every minute with my boys. I want to love on them and care for them and nourish them and teach them to be GOOD men. I want them to be empathetic, and understanding and hard workers. However, I also want them to be good husbands and fathers who marry good wives and what better way to teach them than to lead by example. I want them to witness what a good marriage is and what it looks like when two people love each other. I want them to know that they won’t always come first ALL the time but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them – just means I also love their daddy. I want them to see that relationships are hard work and delicate and that you have to fight for those you love and you can’t just run at the first sign of trouble. I can’t teach them these things if I’m not still smitten and googly eyed over their daddy.
Yes, people change, relationships change and a marriage will change over the course of time. In 10 years ours has changed a bit. Is this hard work? ABSOLUTELY. Do I have to make a conscious effort every day to do this? YES. Do I fail at this sometimes? ALL THE TIME. Is my marriage as good as it was 10 years ago? IT’S BETTER. Do I ever regret choosing my husband over my kids? NEVER EVER EVER!
My heart is full of 4 boys. It’s almost bursting at the seems with love but before there were 3 little people there was 1 big guy who chose me out of all the women in the world….he chose me and my heart. When my little people leave me to go out into the world I’ll still have that big guy by my side and my heart will be as full of love as it was the first day I saw him.