by Lea Ramapuram
It is a truth universally acknowledged that having children will impact your married life - nobody dares deny this inescapable fact of life. But too often, the conversation revolves around the unfortunate negatives - you won’t have time for each other anymore, you won’t be as patient with each other anymore, your intimate moments are going to get thrown out the window, sleep will be a distant dream…
...The list is seemingly endless. But hey, children are also the most unpredictably delightful catalysts for joy in your relationship - they bring love, oh so much laughter ( the ways in which they amuse us really are endless!), and a sense of togetherness that just wouldn’t be possible without their little feet scampering around the house.
Here are some of the strange ways in which my children have impacted my three-year-old marriage, captured in no particular order - seven surprising revelations that made me laugh out loud, cry a little, and more than ever before, appreciate the teamwork that goes into making a marriage work.
1. We Make Up Faster After a Fight:
Possibly the strangest of the lot, this was an unexpected but welcome change in our relationship. I’ve noticed that we might have the most epic of showdowns, but the minute our little girl walks into the room and does something cute or silly, we find ourselves fighting the urge (and losing) to look at each other in amusement and utter adoration for this perfect little being we created together and smile. And there goes whatever anger we thought we felt! She brings us together in a way our shared interests or physical chemistry never could, and it’s a feeling we wouldn’t ever have experienced without having a child together.
2. We Find the Strangest Ways to Spend Time Together:
While it’s true that having children drastically reduces the amount of time you get to spend together alone, necessity being the mother of invention, we’ve managed to find little spaces through our day where we can enjoy a bit of conversation, or a quick kiss, in utter privacy. This means scrambling to wake up before the little ones do, and discussing our plans for the day and the future while brushing our teeth and showering; it means putting her to sleep together, and then having whispered conversations over her sleeping head; it means enjoying doing laundry together at midnight, enjoying mid-week grocery shopping, enjoying watching a Netflix show together, even if we're only able to watch each episode a month apart. The ingenious ways in which we’ve discovered we can enjoy each other’s company is a list that grows every day!
3. We Now Prefer Fast-food Joints to Fancy Restaurants:
Why endure the stress of having to worry about fancy cutlery being shattered on the floor, or ruining the perfectly serene ambience of your favourite Italian restaurant, or having to constantly pull away cutlery from a screaming toddler’s iron grip when you can eat in peace at Burger King, while letting your kid make as big a mess as she wants without a care in the world? We were only going to order french fries and nuggets either way!
4. We’ve Had to Add “Medical Bills” to Our Monthly Budget
Another surprising discovery, soon after we had our first child, was that children, even perfectly healthy children, come with astoundingly high medical bills attached. Naive, new parents that we were, we didn’t realize that children need to have vaccines every few weeks after they’re born all the way up to when they’re two years old. And these vaccines don’t come cheap - we had bills from anywhere between 2,000 to 10,000 Rupees per vaccine appointment - which resulted in us planning ahead and budgeting for the expense. (Something that becomes even more necessary when you have two under two as we do!)
5. We Have a Newfound Love for our Respective In-Laws:
The gratitude that overflows towards anyone who lends a helping hand with our tiny humans is indescribable, so it makes sense that our ever willing parents, who are the most enthusiastic first-time grandparents, are now on our list of our favorite people ever. Thanks to them, we enjoy the occasional date night, have a peaceful night’s sleep and can even remember what a hot cup of tea tastes like!
6. We Worry Less, Live in The Moment More:
While being newly-weds came with a whole load of responsibilities we had to learn to share and juggle, becoming parents somehow lessened the load. Strange, I know. But there is something about being around these little people whose default setting is to be happy and worry-free that makes you forget everything on your mind, even if it is momentarily. Children force you to step away from your problems, and enjoy being in the moment - they remind you that sometimes all it takes to brighten your day is a cheery five minutes of peek-a-boo.
7. We are Less Independent Individuals:
Never have I been more keenly aware of how much I need my husband, as I have after we had children. There might have once been a fiercely independent side to me that believed I didn’t need anyone else to get through this life. But oh... How that has changed with the arrival of my children. It is absolutely unimaginable now, to have to raise these precious lives without the support of my partner, without his hand in mine every step of the way. From needing him to soothe our colicky newborn or entertain our cranky toddler by making her favorite chocolate pancakes, to him needing me around to discuss and disarm his fears for their future, children have made us more of a team than we’ve ever been before.
I’m sure there are many, many more good, bad and hilarious ways in which your marriage has changed with the arrival of your little treasures. Share them with me in the comments below - I’d love to laugh out loud or wipe away a tear with you!