Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Still My Valentine

“People who have kids to save the marriage are crazy.”

My friend spoke those words yesterday when she came over with her adorable twelve-week-old baby girl. (Don’t worry – she speaks from even greater experience. Her almost-two-year-old boy was at daycare.)

Parenthood is one of the biggest tests you’ll ever put your marriage through. So before you even think about having yourselves a kid, you better really, really like each other. Like, a lot.

Parenthood brings inequalities in the relationship to the surface and often creates (perceived) new ones. It initiates the power struggle between the two of you. It requires that you give more than what you have to give. All of this can surmount to a butt-load of resentment if you’re not careful.

Parenthood will change both of you in ways you never thought possible, and you might not like the changes you see in each other or yourself. That’s why it’s important to remember who you were and what you loved about each other before you were Mommy and Daddy.

At the core, you’re still those same people. Look really hard. See? You’re still there. (Just with a little less lingerie and more yoga pants.)

The biggest thing I’ve learned in our first year of parenthood is that you have to let go of the little things and the resentment that tends to follow. If you just breathe in and let it go, hopefully your partner will notice and do the same.

Wouldn’t that feel so good? To just let it go and give each other a big hug? And why not a big kiss while you’re at it. Ah, and throw in some tongue, too. It’s Valentine’s Day.

I’m so grateful that the Hubs and I have the relationship we have. We started with a solid foundation and a fierce love for each other that can withstand the challenges of being new parents. Having a baby has shaken us, I admit. But we haven’t crumbled. And every time we rebuild, we are stronger.

I look at his handsome face, and I see the man I fell in love with. He still cracks me up, he still makes me feel beautiful, and he still puts his arms around me. And I swoon.

Through the exhaustion, stress and short fuses– through the sleepless nights, poopy diapers and toys everywhere– he’s still my Valentine. This year, next year and every year after that.

Happy Valentine’s Day!