When I was married nearly ten years ago on a beautiful day in September I did so with eyes wide open to the work of marriage beyond the wedding day. There were numerous adjustments we both made. The amount of laundry now produced between two people was my initial shocker. On the other hand, my husband had to get used to checking in with me when he went to a movie after work. We worked through the adjustments and came to a comfortable groove of housework, daily conversation, and partnering with each other on different aspects of our lives.
About six months into the marriage, I revisited the topic of children. I knew ahead of time that he wanted them. Upon deeper observation, I saw that my husband really liked sleep. I brought up this observation and mentioned that babies and sometimes children don’t really observe the eight-hour sleeping needs of adults. I mentioned that they’re loud and a peaceful conversation between adults would turn into us shouting at each other over loud noises and voices of little people. Oh, he dismissed these concerns, assuring me that our children would sleep through the night within eight weeks and would play peacefully with each other. I hung my head low, shaking it in disbelief. “Poor man” I thought, “He has no idea.”
We went forward in our pursuit of children. My husband with lollipop dreams of babies who slept through the night and me knowledgeable of the realities that were before us. In the 18 months it took to make this dream a reality, we lived a lovely life together. We enjoyed our love of live entertainment. We vacationed with each other, friends, and away from each other. We lived life to the fullest in those first couple of years before our duo came. Yes, I said duo. To our amazement, our journey to parenthood arrived with a girl and boy. Twenty-four days ahead of our third anniversary, our twosome became a foursome.
Our children did not sleep through the night within eight weeks or eight months. In fact, it took a couple of years for them to both sleep soundly through the night. Also, our children play loudly and oftentimes it’s hard to hear our own thoughts, let alone each other as they battle, and role play the latest Paw Patrol episode. In fact, the only time quiet is required is when they’re watching one of their programs. (Side-eye to my duo as they shush us for being too loud; but at least it’s quiet so I indulge their request).
While the peace and quiet and independence of it being ‘just the two us’ is now the chaotic, messy, and loud, four of us, I honestly wouldn’t change it one bit. Our children make us a better couple. We’re more intentional with each other. We appreciate each other more. (However, as a good wife, it needs to be said, I was right). Life with kids is not easy. He was right too. We needed to have children to transform us individually and collectively into better people and a better couple.