My husband and I recently celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. As the date draws closer every year I’m always amazed at how, yet again, it seems as time has flown by. When we took our wedding vows on a rainy November day, we promised to become partners in life, and we have been from day one. New houses, new jobs, new cars, new bills; we’ve been through it all. More than any other daily life obstacle or celebration, the birth of our children and becoming parents has tested and strengthened our marriage the more than any other.
With the birth of our first child we, like all new parents, were faced with the general challenges of caring for an infant and continuing to maintain some sort of normalcy in our marriage. We equally prepared for the arrival of our daughter; attending classes, organizing a nursery, installing car seats, but I don’t think either of us were fully prepared for the changes having children would bring to our lives as husband and wife. While we both accept and thoroughly enjoy our role as parents, there is no denying that we have grown and changed a great deal as a couple since welcoming children into our lives, for better or for worse.
Raising children together requires a partnership: there has to be communication, there is frustration, and there are some days we both want to quit (hypothetically, or course). As I look back over our past years of marriage I see that for every obstacle we’ve faced as parents, we have both learned valuable lessons about ourselves, our children and most importantly, about one another. Marriage may not have changed the individuals that we were, but becoming parents surely has. My husband has molded into an amazing father and I, as we jokingly say, have become a master in organized chaos (while wearing yoga pants a little too often, but who’s counting). My formerly un-scheduled husband has accepted that having a (loose) schedule can help maintain some sanity in all our lives. I have learned that my house will most often appear “lived-in.” And rather than spending a Friday evening out at a nice restaurant, we’ve both accepted that home with our beautiful children and a Disney movie, is the perfect date night. For now, our marriage is to parenthood and that has improved our communication, helped us to realize what things are really important and allows us to truly enjoy the time we do get to spend alone.
Parenting together has opened doors for us to strengthen our bond as we embrace the daily decisions to raise children to eventually independently enter the world. As a family, we share mutual interests. We are role models for our children, so we are more mindful of the respect we show one another and others outside of our home. We wish for our kids to grow and eventually become happily married, a constant reminder to us to always honor our bond of marriage to set an example for our children.
I am confident that we have many more happy years or marriage ahead. I know that as the anniversaries continue to pass, we will mark the milestones with the accomplishments of our children. I wonder, in years to come, how often we will look back and marvel at our greatest adventure together…Parenthood. For now, there may be fewer dinners in fancy restaurants, no exciting evenings out, and our arguments revolve around disciplining our 3-year-old, but parenting, together as a partnership, will be our defining moment.