How My Husband & I Stay in Love, Now That We’re in the Parenting Trenches

Yesterday morning, I did not want to get out of bed. It was one of those mornings that came too soon; my bed was too comfy to climb out of, and the overcast sky was blocking the sun just enough for me to convince myself that it was still night time.

My husband reached over and rubbed my arm, and it took everything in me not to recoil. In fact, it made me ANGRY. I wanted to sleep in, and he was rudely trying to wake me up.


Someone is always touching me. I never get enough rest. I just want to sleep.

I squeezed my eyes tight and willed myself not to punch him. This is when marriage takes work.

When I met the man who would become my husband 13 years ago, I couldn’t keep my hands off him. It remained that way for years, and when people said that marriage takes work, I assumed they meant things like our little spats over whose turn it was to scrub the toilets. Three kids later, I finally understand that they weren’t referring to household chores. They were talking about the trenches, when kids are sick, when money runs low, when you’re both running on fumes, and you gradually change from a young, carefree couple to parents with real-life problems and responsibilities.

It would be so easy to fall out of love with my husband at this stage, when all of my time and attention is sucked up in the vacuum of motherhood. I don’t want to take him for granted, and I don’t want to be taken for granted, either, but let’s be real. Sometimes, it’s really, really hard, bordering on impossible. Balancing taking care of myself, my kids, and my husband is a chaotic juggling act, and quite frankly, I’m TIRED. I can tell that he is, too. We fall asleep watching the news now. If that’s not a symbol of the stage of life we’re in, I don’t know what is.

Parenthood is a strain on marriage, especially when children are young, and I can see how couples drift apart. It takes a concerted effort from both of us to actually acknowledge each other every day, and to be honest, there are spans of time when we do a sh*tty job of it. (Like now.)

The thing is, I know this season will pass, just like the others have. We’re in it for the long haul. The same man who wakes me up when I need to sleep also brings me coffee without being asked. He can tell when I need a glass of wine, and he selflessly rubs my shoulders when I’ve had a hard day. The trenches are what refine our relationships. They help us learn what the other person needs in order to make it to the other side of whatever personal hell they happen to be going through.

I did not punch my husband when he was persistently petting my arm. I also didn’t have sex with him (a decision I now regret), but I wasn’t rude to him, either. I count that as a win. Today is a new day, and because marriage is a marathon and not a sprint, I am going to try harder.

I’m going to pet HIS arm.

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