I miss my husband.
When I was pregnant the first time, he came to every OB appointment, and after each one we had lunch together. It was sacred and special. Before that, we spent most of our time off together. Sometimes we went out. Other times, pizza and a movie was on the menu. We talked for hours about life and family and what we each wanted. We unraveled our dreams before each other and made promises in hushed whispers. I still remember the first time he told me that he loved me. He knew then that he would marry me.
Even after having our first child, our intimacy remained strong. Sure, we shared our bed with our tiny little creation. We opened our home and our hearts to him, but he did not come between us. Instead, the presence of our first child only brought us closer. At the time, my husband was not working. My stay-at-home-dad was wonderful. He taught our son all kinds of things. He cooked and cleaned and danced with me. It was a dream.
Then, reality kicked in. He needed to return to work. And immediately, I began to miss him. Our time together was stretched thin. Our conversations reduced to quick “hello”, “goodbye”, “how was work”, “what’s the weather”? Our growing boy needed more and more attention and interaction, and we lost the ability to focus on each other.
Now, as a mother of two small boys, with a full time job and a side hustle, it’s as if there is no time for our marriage. We work opposite shifts, with different days off, and we rarely spend the quality time together that we did at the onset of our relationship. Because both of our boys co-sleep, most nights my husband and I sleep in separate rooms! There are so many days when it feels as if I have a roommate, not a husband.
I’ve had many roommates in my life. Honestly, roommate situations kind of suck. I’ve never had a roommate situation that didn’t end borderline catastrophically. I guess I don’t know how to live well with other people. So when I say my spouse has become my roommate, I can at least say that we are still a kick butt duo. We’re a well oiled machine. But like machines, we have entered into an autopilot stage of life, where each day is just getting to the next with the four of us intact. We’re so exhausted, covered in sticky fingers and sloppy wet kisses from goldfish crusted mouths, that we don’t really have time to marvel in the wonder of this little life that we’ve created, or to fully enjoy it together.
I know that I can’t be alone when I talk about these things: how we fall into a rhythm and we forget to cherish our marriage; how hard it is to even spend a moment alone when you live with two babies; how different life becomes after children.
If your spouse has become your roommate — it’s time to schedule your quality time. My husband gets home late at night and I wake up early to begin working without the distraction of children. No matter how tired I am, I try to fight to stay awake so we can spend at least a few moments together at the end of the day. These moments are important. But even more important are the scheduled separations from our children — a day or a night without them can really reinvigorate our marriage. Our kids are so small and so high maintenance that we only afford ourselves this luxury every few months. As they get older, I hope to incorporate a monthly date night.