Love After The Fog {How We Kept Our Marriage Alive After Babies}

Keeping Marriage Alive After Babies | DMMB

Someone recently asked me whether my husband and I had ever gone through a hard time in our marriage.

I chuckled and said, “Oh yeah we did. We refer to it as, The Fog Year – the year following the birth of baby number 2 {who was born 16 months after baby number 1}.” It also happened to be the year that we sold our house, lived with my parents for 3 months, moved into a new house, my husband switched jobs, and oh yeah, in addition to working full-time, he was working on a PhD. My friend continued to ask me about that year, why it was hard, and how we got to the place we are today, a place of deep love and respect for one another, though far from perfect.

I began to share with her that as parents, it’s all too easy to get sucked into the vortex of Taskyland.

It’s the place where we become all-consumed with the needs of the kids, the job, the house – all the things that need to get done. We can become so focused on all of the tasks, that we sort of stop seeing our spouse or partner as a person, a person with needs and feelings, the person we love. I remember that after the birth of child #2, my husband and I were so exhausted and in such a fog, we were just trying to survive. I felt like I had started to see my husband as, “the guy who takes out the trash.” And ugh, why hasn’t he taken out the trash? I had let the stress of the season cloud my view so that I was only seeing him through the lens of the tasks I needed him to do, most of which he was doing all wrong {from my warped perspective, of course}.

One of the ways we came back to each other was by being intentional about looking for the qualities that we like and love in each other. I literally started writing down one thing I loved about him each day and after a while, I felt like I was really seeing him again – seeing him for the man I fell in love with.

But we didn’t just stop there, we started to be intentional about telling each other those qualities that we noticed and appreciated.

I don’t know about you, but as a mom, sometimes I feel beat down by the day, like I’m running in a million directions, not doing any one thing well. And there’s no one standing there saying, “good job! The way you cleaned all that pee off that toilet. That was fantastic!” Amid the diaper changing, laundry folding, dish-washing marathon, it can be easy to lose sight of who we are and what our strengths are. Our spouses aren’t the ones who define us, but it sure can help to hear them calling out the beautiful, wonderful attributes that make us our unique selves.

I vividly remember a moment when my two boys were going at it. Again. I was exhausted and so over the fighting. I used every last little bit of energy that I had to crouch down between them and help them work it out. My husband, who I didn’t even know was standing behind me, looked at me afterwards and said, “you are such a great communicator and you teach them so much simply by how you communicate with them.” I’ll tell you what. That made my day, maybe my year. I felt incredibly close to my husband in that moment. Not only did I feel affirmed, but I felt like he saw me, really saw me, and reminded me, in a season where I didn’t feel like I was excelling at anything, of a strength that I have to offer. Just those simple words of acknowledgement were a step in keeping our marriage alive. Keeping Marriage Alive After Babies | DMMB

We also realized that love can’t grow when it doesn’t have space. And life with kids is notorious for sucking out all of the space.

In addition to date nights to keep our marriage alive, my husband and I realized that we needed a more regular time set aside for us to simply connect. Since we are like zombies by 8pm, we decided on a standing coffee date every Saturday morning. The boys are old enough to tell them, “this is Mommy and Daddy time.” Sometimes they play with toys or play dough and other weeks they just spend a little time with their good ‘ole pal Curious George. But every Saturday before we get going on tasks or head out for the day, we sit down together as a couple with our coffee and just talk. Often times, I don’t think I have a whole lot to share going in, but when I sit down and relax into the space, I find there is plenty bubbling beneath the surface.

For us, this time isn’t an exchange of logistical details and dates, but rather a space to check in with each other about how we’re doing and where we’re going.

Something that came out of those Saturday mornings was the recognition that life with kids is one of constant change and thus, our needs are changing as well. So, we’ve found it’s important to check in regularly with each other about our needs. There have been moments where I need a bit more time with girlfriends and other moments where I’m desiring more down-time with our family. Likewise, my husband goes through stressful periods at work and will say to me, “I just feel like I need for us to have nothing scheduled on Friday nights because by the end of the week, I’m toast.” And there are times where he’ll ask me what I need and I’ll say, “I’m feeling like what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis doesn’t really matter. Could you remind me that investing in our kids is important.” We’re not responsible for meeting our spouse’s needs, but we’re more likely to be able to meet them if we know what they are.

These are just some of the things we implemented in our marriage in effort to find our way back to each other after our Fog Year. These things helped us keep our marriage alive and brought us closer than ever.

Oh, and laughter, we remembered how important it is to laugh together.

What things have you done that have helped you keep the love in your marriage alive while journeying through the beautiful chaos that is parenthood?

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3 Responses to Love After The Fog {How We Kept Our Marriage Alive After Babies}

  1. Casey February 12, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    Wow! Thanks for this article, totally needed it. I have a 4 month old & 20 month old…my husband and I are definitely in the “fog.” It’s rough. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Melissa Meuzelaar February 12, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

      Oh girl, yes, you are IN IT!! I remember 4 mos and 20 mos – having two babies at two different stages is no joke! I remember when my kids were those ages and people told me it would get easier and that age difference would be so fun when they got a little older. I didn’t believe them, but as it turns out, it’s true. They are best friends now and they play together fabulously. They also fight fabulously, but they’ve gotten much better at working it out on their own. Press in, hang in there, and hold on for the ride. You WILL re-emerge from the fog!!

  2. Sharon Collins February 12, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    U r an amazing writer as always with the ability to share ur life with words & grace & love. Years ago, David started a list of the qualities that he loves about me. They r in his computer. He adds to them occasionally. Hopefully, he doesn’t delete from them!! ? He wanted to protect himself, me, and our family from any temptation that Satan might put in his path thru ministry. I have treasured his faithfulness & his list all these years. Love u sweet friend.

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