The day we had our first child was one of the most wonderful days of my married life. I remember holding Emma on my chest as my husband Ben and I cried tears of joy for our new blessing. We had visitors all day long and they also shared in our joy.
When we were getting all settled in to stay in the hospital for the weekend my dad came in and told me how proud he was of me. He then said it is awesome to become a parent and a mother. But he told me not to forget as I transitioned into my new role as mother that I am still a wife.
I remember giggling to myself thinking that there was no doubt in my mind that I was still Ben’s wife. I knew nothing could change that.If anything, bearing my husband’s child only enhanced our relationship. After I had a little laugh over my dad’s advice I stored it in the back of my mind.
After we went home from the hospital, I began to experience what it really means be a mother—with all the work, sleepless nights, and high emotions that come with having a newborn in the house. I threw myself into caring for Emma and everything else went on the back burner.
Unintentionally, I did forget about my role as a wife. I was often so tired that I forgot about taking care of my needs. I forgot also about my husband’s needs. Ben was also trying to learn how to be more selfless for our little bundle of joy, but there were moments when it was really taxing for him. He was so used to only having me to worry about. It seemed like more and more of our discussions became heated because we were irritated at what the other person wasn’t doing correctly.
In the process of trying to fight through our own exhaustion to find some level of normalcy, we lost track of the importance of being a spouse and focusing attention on each other. We lost intimacy when we should have enjoyed this transition together. After a few months, I finally got sick of how things were going. I remember asking him, “What do you need to make this easier? How can I be a better support for you?” Instead of criticism, I offered my support. And he did the same.
Those questions broke the ice and we finally sat down and had a heart to heart. That discussion was vital for our relationship because under the weight of our new roles we had forgotten to care for the foundation of our relationship. “We,” as a couple, were crumbling. We were learning that becoming parents makes it so easy to forget being a wife and a husband, but that conversation helped us to remember. It seems like such a simple and obvious discussion to have, but it took a lot of humility to bring ourselves to that place.
I’ve learned that every time we take on a new responsibility, we have to adjust to make it fit with our other roles in life. Finding that balance can be difficult at times, but I have found my relationship with my husband is the perfect anchor. Whenever I start to drift off into a new role in my life I come back to shore by making sure to prioritize my relationship with him. This new way of facing our life and relationship has actually strengthened us as a family. It has deepened my already wonderful relationship with my husband because now every role I take on is another journey we can enjoy together.