photo by Smitten Imagery
Last night a friend and I had a discussion about how having kids affects a marriage, and it really got me thinking. When I get thinking, I also tend to get blogging. And I'm honestly curious about how some of you feel on this matter.
Said friend and her husband don't want children. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. As I told her last night, not wanting children does not, in any way, make you a freak of nature. It just means she and her husband will likely have more money, more sex, and will be sailing around the world in each other's arms while friends with kids likely enjoy less of all of the above. Matthew and I DO want children, though we realize it's a bit of a trade off no matter what path you choose. Maybe you'll have less money, sex, and sailing around the world once you have kids, but I hope there will be richness in other ways.
But one thing my friend and I have both noticed (as outsiders looking in, for the most part), is that having children, especially multiple children, seems to so very often equal sadly neglected marriages. Not always, but often. And for good reason, of course! Suddenly you have these Littles in your life that require so much time, attention, and love, that there's not nearly so much left for your partner at the end of the day. Not to mention mom's body may have just changed dramatically, probably affecting her self esteem and the sexy time, if you know what I mean. I don't know about your man, but mine needs ample sexy time, or else relational satisfaction plummets.
The thing I find so scary, as someone on the edge of that stage in life but still not quite there yet, is that keeping the fire burning in a relationship is hard enough even without kids! So how on earth do you hold on to each other and your love and the passion when so much about the life you began together has now evolved into something very... else? Matthew and I talk about this all the time. Sometimes we lay in bed with our dogs at night, the dogs you can lock up in a room and leave alone for hours and that you don't have to worry about growing up to be sociopaths or drug addicts or scientologists. Just kidding about that last part. And we say, "isn't this awesome? that these are dogs and not real children?" But then we smile, because we both know we want babies. Little half him-s and half me-s.
Anyway. I'm probably not polling the most knowledgeable audience since this is not a "Mommy Blog" and many if not most of my readers probably aren't mommies yet. But I'd love to hear your opinions on all of this. If you have kids, do you still have a rocking marriage? If you don't have kids, do you know people with 'em that still have a rocking marriage? And remember, a blog or Facebook, etc, isn't an accurate look into a family's life. That's the very reason why I'm asking this question. Because I feel like I really know so little about how things are behind the scenes!
But if you or someone you know seems to be making it work for both the children and the marriage, what do you think is the key? Is there a key? Or does having children mean resigning yourself to a lack-luster relationship with your spouse?
I'm curious! Tell us your thoughts.