November 15, 2012

Babies and Marriage

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.

159 comments:

  1. I am really not sure, great post though! Until just recently we did not want kids at all, but that has been changing.

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  2. I think our generation will be better about this. You know, more "modern moms". Kids make a marriage different, but not worse by any means. In fact, I think that it creates a very special bond between the parents after seeing what they have created. You just can't forget to nurture your life both as a couple and as parents. It's important to schedule in date nights and adult time!

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  3. I remember taking a Family Relationships class in college - I learned that marital dissatisfaction is at it's highest when there are kids under age 5 in the house. This certainly rang true for us: it's a huge shift and new challenge when you throw new people into the mix.

    But we started with a firm foundation (we were together for 9 years before we had kids). And honestly, not that we were teetering on the brink of divorce, but the thought of being a single parent scared us into staying together. Ha!

    It's all good now though. Kids are older. We go on dates. We each have our own time. We just have to make it through the teen years now :)

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  4. Obviously, I don't have children. But I have heard one of my husbands best friends say about his wife that he's never loved her more or thought she was as sexy as when she became a mother. I think because women have a nurturing spirit, we are the ones that tend to neglect the spouse for the kids, but if we can find a way to put him before the little ones (I know I'll probably be really bad at this), it will only enhance your love for each other.

    Case in point, apparently being a momma is sexy.

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  5. we don't have kids for precisely this point- we really need our marriage to be in a better place before having some hoodlums run around (: not that we are in a bad place, but i know kids make everything else just a bit more tough..

    and yes, all around me are examples of people with kids who really DON'T have a marriage, even though they are married... and it breaks my heart. i don't want to set THAT kind of example for my kids... hence us waiting (;

    but then i look at someone like Taza and her hubby- i mean...

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  6. This is the exact reason having kids scares me. I know it will all work out in the long run and having a baby would be amazing....but I am worried about the stress it puts on a marriage. I have so many friends with kids who are struggling with their marriages. Not, get divorced struggling, just adjusting to all the changes. It seems like it would be really hard.

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  7. Great post & topic!
    YES indeedy it is very difficult to keep the fire burning once you become pregnant and have kids.
    At least for us it was.
    Pregnancy made me a hormonal wreck, which made my husband wanna run and hide. The romance went out the window. It was hard enough to be normal much less romantic AND normal. (I'm speaking from my own personal experience here. Totally not saying this is how it is for every pregnant couple.)
    Once the baby's around, it's just a whole different ballgame.
    However (BIG BIG HOWEVER)
    being married is all about experiencing life challenges together
    and overcoming obstacles together.

    Facing the challenge of raising children together
    while doing our best to maintain a healthy level of passion within our marriage is a huuuge opportunity for us to become more united than ever before.
    Yes, it's super-dee-duper difficult
    but it is also so so so rewarding!
    Ya gotta take the good with the bad and make the best of it. =)


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  8. Maybe it's a little weird that I'm commenting on this by referencing my parents' marriage, but they are a great example because my parents' didn't let having kids change them one bit! They 100% planned their pregnancies with me and my brother, so it's not like we were a big surprise. They were also young - 26/28 with me and 28/30 with bro. But they stayed the same young, cool people once they had kids and they really still are today! Tripp and I had babysitters {both actual babysitters and our grandparents} A LOT, because my parents made date night a priority a few times a month, minimum. And ya know what? Tripp and I loved our babysitters and we didn't grow up to be scientologists! :) To this day, with both of us grown and out of the house, my parents never experienced "empty nest syndrome" and they travel the world together often! They're madly in love, hip, fun, and those kind of parents who bro and I actually consider our best friends. If my husband and I can model their approach to parenting {ya know, the non-attachment kind, unlike so many of our generation these days}, I know we'll be blessed with a thriving marriage once we have adorable rugrats running around. :) Sorry I just wrote you a book!

    Southern Living, Our Way ~ www.alexaandglenn.blogspot.com

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    1. i agree! my parents had 4 children (2 years between each of us), and made their marriage a priority AND their children a priority. we are Mormon, and our church places a huge emphasis on the importance of family, and my parents understood that a healthy marriage relationship meant a secure environment for us kids. no matter how poor we were, no matter how busy my dad was with work or responsibilities at church, my parents went on a date every. single. friday night.

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    2. mmm. so much hope and freedom to put marriage first so that you can be the example your called to be to your kids is written all ovaaa your comment. love it .

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  9. I am neither married nor with children but for the couples I've seen make it work, the key seems to be keeping their marriage a priority even after the kids are born. It seems like most of the time, when a couple has a kid, that kid becomes the number one priority in the family unit and the marriage gets placed on the back burner. The couple I've seen who've made it work flip that around and make their marriage/each other the number one priority. They still have date nights, they still do little things to make each other happy and to make life a little easier for their partner. To me, this totally seems to be the trick to it. The base for a strong, healthy family is a strong, healthy marriage. If that's made a priority and given the attention it deserves, the children will inevitably benefit.

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  10. Oh Jenny - sometimes your posts come at the most perfect times! As you know, we don't have kids yet. Like you, we want them... sometime. As I near 30, sometime seems to be getting nearer too. To tell you the truth, this whole concept terrifies me. I really love my life right now - my marriage, our lifestyle, traveling, all of it. I'm so scared that it will change into something I don't like. When discussing with friends who have children the typical response is, "Oh don't worry, when you see that little face, nothing else will matter" but I'm afraid it will to me and 'don't worry about it' is something that should never be said to me, an admitted over-thinker.

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  11. I am a single mom, my son's father and I were not married - but had intended to. However, that never came to fruition - for many reasons, but mostly because our relationship changed after having a baby. There are SO many aspects that went into what caused the rockiness - but, lack of communicating and evolving was the root cause.
    When it all comes down to it, communication of wants, needs, and feelings will help a relationship survive. Babies, children make young relationships evolve into something completely different. They are a different kind of happiness.
    I now am engaged to a wonderful man - and our relationship comes with a lot of different challenges and stresses - but, we communicate :) We share feelings, wants, needs - in all aspects, and that is what makes us strong. Children change a relationship - priorities shift. But, for those who want the littles, they are so worth everything that is shifted.
    Take your time and enjoy each other :) Then when the babies come, make time for one another - like Margaret said above - do dates and adult time.

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  12. Hi Jenni! I'm a mother of a 2 year old and 6 months pregnant with our 2nd son. Both my husband and I just turned 30 and have been together since we were 20. At this point, my husband and I are just starting to get in the swing of things when it comes to making sure we have enough time for each other. We have begun to have date nights or go out to lunch on the weekend without our son. At night before bed, sometimes we laugh and reminisce on how things were before children. Don't get me wrong, we absolutely love being parents and have gotten some of our greatest laughs with things our son does or says) However, parenthood is tough. It definitely is a trade off to have children, but one that I believe is worth it. When you see your partner looking at your children with a smile and showing him/her affection, it brings a closeness between you two. It definitely makes me love my husband more just seeing how he is with our son.

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  13. We have all the "statistics" working against us. I was 19 when we got married, (Surprise!) pregnant a few weeks later, and were a Military family!

    We've been married for over 4.5 years now and our daughter will be 4 in a few days and we are happy. Obviously being a military family makes us actually cherish the time we do get together.

    You, yourself, are the one that will make or break a marriage. Not the child.

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  14. I do have Two kids ages 3 & 4 and it's tough! Everyone says you just need to make sure you get away a weekend here a weekend there. But honestly it's easier said then done. Kids take a lot and I mean A LOT of your time and attention away from one another. My husband and I waited 7 years after we got married to have kids. We traveled & did things together we knew wouldn't be so easily done once we had children. There are times once we had children when "sexy time" suffered that for sure especially when they are young. Your getting up a lot with the kids they are usually more needy of their mom with they are little so it takes work. That being said once we did have kids it brought us closer on another level and honestly for me the 1st 2 years were tough but its gotten a lot easier now that they are potty trained and able to do more for themselves =)yes our sexy time suffered a bit but we are back on track ha ha and plus they way you describe the love you have for your dogs...you just wait, having a child is a feeling I could never describe =))) This is just my opinion and how I felt/feel going through it. Everyone's experience is different....

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  15. I was a single mom for 9 years before marrying my now-husband and having 2 more kiddos. He and I have always had kids around in our relationship {mine and his....and now ours}, so I'm not sure how it feels to be married without them! But, I will say that with each additional child, my love for my husband has grown. There is nothing sexier than watching the man you love....love on your child.

    However, it IS hard. Kids are a full time job! My husband and I make it a point to work on our relationship every single day. Sometimes it's scheduling a date night or simply sending cute little text messages. As long as you both realize that having kids will change the dynamic ~ and you prepare for it, you'll be fine. Communication is crucial! ;)

    My husband and I live by this one simple rule: Happy parents = happy kids.

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  16. My husband and I have 3 children, 3 and under. Is it hard? Yes. Do we struggle? Of course. But gold isn't refined through smoke. The trials, the tears, the fights, the long absences of sex, have bonded my husband and I in ways we never thought possible. It's opened my eyes to how life isn't about living for myself. I've grown more as a woman, emotionally and spiritually. And really, when it comes down to it, when that little person that is part you, part your husband, takes your hand and says "I really love you Mommy." Well, there is just nothing like it in the whole world. If you and your husband got married for the long haul, children will add a richness and a blessing that will be so worth it.

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    1. "But gold isn't refined through smoke" ---I love that. Such a great perspective!

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    2. Totally agree Marybeth. We are waiting to have kids; we are 26 and I got hit with a chronic disease right after we got married that I had never had symptoms of before. So it's been a long, rough 6 years of marriage but we have learned so much and grown closer through all of the trials. I think the same way about having kids. Things in our marriage might change, but it's worth it to learn unconditional love, to have a family, and to have that little one that is half you and half your spouse that you created! We are not ready yet, we need a break of health to come before we tackle on another adventure! But through all of this chaos I know we can do it and it will be worth it in the future. :-)

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  17. This is a great post and a topic that I think a lot of women struggle with. I go back and forth between wanting kids. Some days I'm sure I do and some, I'm sure I don't. I really think first of all, it has to be a 100% decision from both you and your husband. I also think that too many people think emotionally about having children but don't REALLY think through the economic factor. I don't mean to sound cold hearted because that is not it at all, but kids are EXPENSIVE. And they are always costing money. So parents have to be prepared to support that child not only for 18 years because we all know how untrue that saying is, but really forever. Some people can't afford kids and that's perfectly OK, just a harder decision to make, bringing kids into a messy financial situation. I think you will also reach a point (maybe tomorrow, maybe not for 5+ years) where you are just... ready... and you know it.

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  18. Hi lady - Candace here. I believe I bring a unique perspective to this outlook as I am a childless stepmom. So... I just married right into 2 kids from the get-go. Some people would shudder at the thought, but truly - I feel like one of the lucky ones. First things first - I didn't have to sacrifice body/sex drive to have 2 gorgeous littles. Amazing no? And second, we had to learn to keep the sexy time up whilst already with children. Perhaps I'm well-versed & perhaps I'm not. I don't know what it's like without kids, so it's hard to say... but I can tell you that we have a rockin' marriage! My husband wants to have a child together because he explained it brings a closeness between you too that you will never have without bringing a baby into the world together. Like I said, I'm not experienced yet but that's what he claims. :) Thanks for this post - I have a lot of similar feelings you do and love to read the comments. HUGS!

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    1. Thank you for sharing this! I just got married and my husband has two little boys under 5 from a previous marriage. We're learning all of this, but I can't say it's been bad! :)

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  19. Oh gosh. I could talk forever on this. We will probably skype about it tomorrow, lets be honest. But here is a start to our convo:

    I have thought about this SO much. I am about to be 27 in two weeks, and this is pretty much the kicking off point for the starting to produce the babies (in my opinion..i know some people have them younger or later, but generally 27-30 seems to be the prime "time" for ones eggs and in ones life). I'm going to be honest, if i got pregnant now by some strange change, i would be REALLY upset. I do not feel ready at all, not that you can ever be "ready" but i am really not ready. It gives me heart palpitations just thinking about it. The timing would be so off, but more important, im totally selfish in that i want stephen to myself right now. As someone who has come out of a really really rough marriage where there was no sexy time (i said it, yes) and knowing what that does to the man, the woman, the marriage...it freaks me out to not have that again in a relationship where i finally have all of that and more. I LOVE what i have right now. It is oh so good and sweet, and i really dont want to "mess" that up. I would never look to bloggers and assume they have it together. ever. just because of finding out so many little inside details to peoples relationships..i mean look at mine..im sure at one point people though my ex and i were the perfect couple. I have heard things about the big big mommy bloggers who i thought were perfect..only for that image of them to turn out to not be true at all. So i hope people are not making big life decisions based off of what they see on blogs. yikes.

    Secondly, i know TWO. that is right. TWO couples personally (as in i have spent time with them talking to them, being real with them etc) who still have sex frequently and seem to really love each other passionately still after children. One is my age, and one is well into their 60s now (i love them). I hope high hopes for a few other soon to be moms whos marriages seem to really be strong, but those numbers are sad when i think about how many couples with children i know.

    I think the biggest mistake we make is putting kids first and marriage second. It HAS to be the other way around for the SAKE of the children. I get that this is hard, and the child becomes all consuming, especially to the mother, but this is what i have seen be one of the main reasons the marriage falls apart after kids.

    holy crap im done here now.

    its obviously been on my mind.

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    1. Double thumbs up on this comment.
      You definitely have to put your marriage first. We just had our first a few months ago, and ya know what? Our marriage has never been stronger! I think having children is the best way to enrich ones marriage. I mean, you make a freakin' person together- how much more bonded can you get?
      Sure, there might be less 'sexy-time' or just-you-two time, but the time you DO have with each other becomes so much more meaningful and special because it is set apart for just that purpose- to strengthen your marriage. And you learn that there are many more ways to be intimate and loving to your spouse without a ton of sex.
      I feel like the pitfall that many young parents get trapped into is that they think after the baby, things will eventually get back to normal. They don't. Life has to move forward and change and you have to progress and adapt with it. Having children changes your life in way a way you really can't comprehend until it happens to you, but it's definitely for the better!

      I have a firm belief that as we let go of our self-focused desires and truly strive to serve others and put their needs above our own (in moderation, of course...no one can get very far on a tired horse) we feel the greatest happiness and joy there is to experience in this life. That's motherhood in a nutshell. Add that to the love that builds as you serve and do good to your husband...it's overwhelming how awesome it is.

      Really, what happens to your marriage after babies is up to you. Just like in marriage without kids, you have to sacrifice. It takes effort. It takes work.
      But it is SO worth it.

      Anyways, that's my two cents about this topic. Love your blog.

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    2. agreed. I see the common denominator is being the wife your husband needs (taken he isnt a selfish, selfabsorbed nutcase of a husband that really needs to take care of his own issues) and from that the fruit will be seen in the lives of a kid or kids who are growing under two PASSIONATELY in Love parents..

      I have no man or kids. So that is MERE speculation at its finest ;)

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    3. Truly, you may NEVER feel ready. I know because I'm 36 and still not feeling ready...but also feeling a bit like we're running out of time!!
      We've had 18 years alone together so I hope we can continue making it work when (if) we take the plunge.
      We both acknowledge it will be hard but we think it's time.

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    4. I agree Cynthia!! I'm 30 and my husband's 32 and I feel like time is against us! not to mention the economy and how little extra money we are able to stash away, I fear like financially we will never be ready!

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    5. I am the friend her age having good and frequent sex. had to be said. again.

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  20. Thank you for posting this! I'm on that verge right now, and one of my main hesitancy's is this very thing. It's not going to stop us from that next phase, but it does make me think!

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  21. WOW great post!!! Your Matthew sounds ALOT like my Mr. I have two kids and always say how things drasitcally changed after their arrival . It is so hard to keep time for one another because you hit it dead on. Kids take ALOT of time and by the end of each day you are usually exhausted. Especially since for me I work during the day, run a small business I am trying to grow, have two kiddies to care for, one doggie and one very understanding husband. Man it is a hard balance, tho. I would not change it for the world tho and life is always about challenges whether or not you have kids. So, for those who want them and for those who don't its all relative. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Great to know I am not the only one in this boat!

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  22. Okay I saw the title and thought this was a pregnancy announcement!! This is something that Jon and I talk about all the time, how our marriage will evolve when we become parents. The beauty of faith is knowing that we will become parents when God chooses to give us a child so we are no longer trying to get XYZ done, go on XYZ trip, save up XYZ dollars before we have kids. We didn't get to this point until recently. Yes I have always wanted children but the past 2 years I wasn't ready yet...I wanted to continue to selfishly indulge in my husband and our free time. I know different things work for different couples...having children right away, waiting 2 years, waiting 10 years and the dynamics of each relationship are so interesting. I am so glad we have had time for US....to lay in bed after work and eat icecream and queso for dinner, or to sleep in on Saturdays, not a care in the world (addition...have sex whenever we want, as often as we want with no distractions!), but I know that will change. And that is the beauty of life. We move from one chapter to the next. I think now, we are more ready to have children and that doesn't mean I am sick of my husband and our free time and vacations, God is just prepping us for the next stage!

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  23. Hi, I am Svenja and quite new to your blog (Love it!!)

    Since only recently I am a single so kids are no near option yet (but I do want to be a mom one day) but I genuinely think that children are enriching one's life-- if they come in the right time (after traveling the world is done etc ;-)) . I do believe that the life of a modern mum which allows her to keep up her work and therefore allow her to have a life outside her family life, some sort of maintaining being her if that makes sense. If that is the case there will not only be more topics than dipers etc to anticipate life with the spouse (keep a wider focus) but also a small piece of life which remains "as it used to be".. Due to her "exposure" to other people such as colleges (other people who do not have children, or newly born) thoughts, topics and interests (such as sex) will keep dynamic. But surely it is difficult once someone third with no teeth and very cute enters a two-relationship.... :-)
    Uh, and I also believe in things like date nights to keep things interesting.

    Love,
    Svenja
    xx

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  24. This is an interesting question that I think the same couple with or without kids would answer differently depending on the day, or even the hour! I've observed both scenarios of fulfilled marriages with kids and some that seem to fall by the wayside with kids. However, I also think that expectations and communication play a huge role in how those couples feel. I think many couples are willing to give up some sexy time at the expense of raising a child, and in the end, they fall in love with each other even more and actually don't lose the sexy time. Am I talking in circles?

    All I know is that we're only planning to have one child, and I get tired of the judging eyes very quickly. Mainly, we made this decision for financial reasons. We want to be able to provide extensively for one child with sports, activities, family vacations, and community involvement than try to do the same for two or three. We also want to balance our careers, relationship, and child with as little stress as possible. I don't think it's fair that parents who juggle multiple children but are stressed out are depicted as heroes, but parents who consciously decide to only have one to avoid that scenario are painted as twisted people who will inevitably end up with a socially awkward home-schooled freak. Also, my husband is much older than I am, and that affects our decision too.

    Oh, geez. I always ramble in my comments on your blog. This should probably be a New Year's Resolution of mine.

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    1. Lindsey, I love your point about parents with multiple children are made out as heros. I completely agree. Joel and I want no more than 2-3 (more like two) because we want to be able to provide ample enough to each child, like you said. Glad you made that point!

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  25. Jenni, love the direction of this post! God, I felt every single one of these feelings ugh 4 months ago (pre-pregnancy)! But, to be completely honest, I don't think there is a certain "key" or "trick". Joel and I understand each other and he knows that things are already changing. Pregnancy is definitely a lifestyle change for him. I think this is just preview of how life with a baby will be. I am going to read this book called baby proofing your marriage, because I've heard it's really great. But some things that I already know are important are: vacationing alone (just the two of you), going out with just your husband (often), planning "sexy time", maintaining your appearance and personal sexiness, and trying to always be positive. Those are just a few things I know people suggest but I really can't wait to get that book to know more.
    The book may tell me all the guidelines to have a great marriage with a baby, but really it's about team work and what you make of your marriage. A baby will change your life drastically, but as long as we grow and change together I know we'll be happy and able to handle whatever is in front of us. Nothing is easy, and even marriage alone (no kids) is hard.

    By the way, if you're debating when to start a family, honestly ever since I got pregnant, all everyone tells me is, "there's never a good time" I really like that, and it makes me happy to know that others accepted the challenge and are happy with how their lives turned out.

    I'm rambling, oh my gosh. But, I blame it on the hormones :)

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  26. It takes work to keep a marriage strong once the kids come along, lots of hard work. Total commitment and knowing that you're both in it for the long-haul are important. I know I wasn't a very good wife in the romance department when our kids were little. After having little ones climbing on me and crawling all over me, the last thing I wanted after hubby came home from work was another person touching me. Looking back now, I wish we would have made date nights a priority and left the kids more often. I also reached a point where I had kind of lost my individual identity. I was a mom and a wife, but I wasn't Amy anymore. There was very little I did that wasn't focused on the kids or husband. When someone asked me about my hobbies, I had to stop to think because everything that came to mind was "I used to do this" or "I'd like to start doing that". Somehow changing diapers, refereeing arguments and making dinner every night didn't qualify as hobbies. I started taking time for me, which then gave me back my identity and confidence in myself, also making me a better wife and mother. I'm in a place now where I wish I had all my little toddlers running around instead of counting down the remaining years for my teens to still be home, and watching my pre-teens grow up more every time I turn around.
    So, to summarize, be committed and willing to work at your marriage and be realistic enough to realize that things will change. Embrace the change, but don't forget your spouse. Make time to put him and yourself first. Don't lose your identity. Kids really do grow up in the blink of an eye and if you don't nurture your marriage during that time, they will move on with their lives and you'll be left by yourself without any concept of who you are.

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  27. My husband and I just celebrated our baby girl's first birthday on October 12. We're both 24 and got married at 21. Having a baby definitely brings a different dynamic to our marriage, for clear reasons. But by the time she turned 4 months old, she was sleeping through the night which left us the entire evening/night to ourselves...just like if we didn't have a baby...as if my husband had just gotten home from work, we had dinner, and then settled down to watch a movie or just "hang out". You do get into a new routine and when that happens, it's like dating all over again! We have every single night to ourselves from 6:30/7:00 pm until 8:00 am the next morning (and you get to wake up to a precious little face)! We still pursue one another. We still go on dates. And if we can't go out, we get creative and have a date in the living room making a tent, eating takeout on the guest bedroom mattress on the living room floor, and watching movies! PLUS we grow closer to each other when we have talks about her future and who we dream she will become! I feel nothing but more connected to my husband after birth. It's an amazing thing to share with someone! And isn't that what life is all about? :) Lydia is our pride and absolute joy... and my husband is still the adventurous man I married...and then some ;) All that to say, children do not mess things up...it's how you choose to handle the new situations that come with the new responsibility! Perspective :) But I agree, there is nothing wrong with not wanting children! Everyone is different and that is a-okay!

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  28. Not going to lie. Having a baby and keeping the home fires burning is hard. It's not that we don't want to. It's just that I am so so tired by the end of the day! And AJ doesn't sleep. So that makes for some long nights. B and I joke some times when we go out for a rare date that we should just go to a hotel and sleep. No funny business. Just sleep. Everyone is different. 9 mo later we are still trying to figure it out.

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  29. I thought that i would never have children. I was leery of all of these things. I was in a relationship for ten years that was a life full of parties, luxury, self indulgent shopping and our lives were all about....us. But I soon started to want children & a more settled lifestyle. My bf didn't want these things. To make a long story short, I left my bf of 10 years, I accidentally fell in love with an amazing guy and just one short year after we were together, surprise!!! I found out I was pregnant.
    I was VERY worried about a lot of things. My life has changed dramatically. Everything about it. But I am a much better person than I ever was before. I find happiness in my daughter. My fiancé & I are still as hot and fiery as we were when we first met & I feel sexier than ever. you find balance. You adjust. Yes I have days where I feel overwhelmed & don't have time for "the bedroom" but then I have days when I feel more sexy then I've ever felt before. Just because you have a baby doesn't mean you are going to lose your body. Yes, it changes but if you work to keep yourself healthy, those changes are minimal. I am living proof of that. (See my blog post: http://www.laurenrebecca.com/2012/01/sexy-mama.html)

    My blog is actually all about this. It is about my transformation from being a young,wild & free woman who found love and is now starting a family. If you have a committed lover, you work at it and you realize that it's hands down, worth all the compromises that you might make. Once you see that little life that you created, your world literally changes. How you view things...it differant, in a good way. As far as money, yes kids are expensive. But my fiancé and I have more money now then we ever had before. Life works in wonderful ways like that. I am thankful that I've learned early, that money can only bring us so much in life. Love is really all that matters.


    www.laurenrebecca.com

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  30. First time commenter... I am married have been three years now and we have a 9 month old little girl. I honesty believe it is all in how two people nurture their marriage. In my case, my husband and I are just as in love and in lust with one another as we were when we first started dating. We discussed children before getting married and both of us stressed the importance of a healthy marriage before children makes for a healthy marriage with children. The sex had not faltered thank God and our relationship is even stronger I feel. As far as feeling unsexy now after having my daughter. I definitely have my days, but I did before her too. Don't we all? Lol. I have to say though since being pregnant and having a child I feel even better and more secure with my body. It's almost like a sense of empowerment I guess. My husband constantly reaffirms me and I would definitely have to say having a child made our marriage fuller. I do know of couples within or circle of friends that have had problems in their marriage since kids, but to be quite honest the problems were underlying beforehand.

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  31. I have four children, 6, 4, 2, 7 mo. Having babies makes marriage different for SURE. In lots of great ways and lots of hard ways. Everyone says the key is to put your husband first and babies second. Well that is true in one respect but it's kinda hard bc husbands don't need to be breastfed every 3 hours, and you don't have to wipe their poopy butts. You don't have to drive them to school, or soccer or dance class. They don't need you to bathe them, help get their teeth brushed, bedtime stories, the list goes on...they don't rely on you almost 100% for their mere survival. Kids are A LOT of work. Sex is different. You have a new body and new hormones. After kids you might have to schedule the sex...but it is VERY VERY important, in my opinion. To be honest my sex drive fell through the floor when I was pregnant and nursing. I had to make it a priority to set aside time to make my husband feel "wanted". Ok, so there ya go, babies make marriage a lot harder BUT the payoff is a million times fold. You emerge from a person who usually only has to care about herself into someone who would do anything in this world to protect and care for your little one. You husband is now your partner, your team, in raising and loving the most perfect little being that you two created together. Children change you forever. They have helped me become more selfless, compassionate, and kind. They have done the same to my husband which is totally hot!! I love seeing my hubby play dolls with my little girl. Who knew that was sexy. We appreciate each other in a whole new way. Sometimes people might not understand this until having children but I would take the little precious moments I have with my children over sailing across the most beautiful ocean anyday.

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  32. Oh my goodness. I can't tell you just how much this topic has been on my mind. I always thought I wanted kids. I have worked with young children for the past 9 years and felt a deep sense of fulfillment from it. I have a graduate degree in early childhood education and I'm getting another degree in special education. I'm not saying this to brag, but people always say (when they know my work and my education), "oh, you'll be such a GREAT mom!" and part of me always cringed to hear that because it made me feel so much pressure to hold myself to this unreal standard of a "perfect" parent. I know my work experience/education doesn't "qualify" me (not that there is really such a thing) to be a parent. Given my anxiety issues (related to other things as well), now I am actually terrified to have kids. And someone else told me, "I know what your problem is - you know too much!"

    Anyway, I don't think this directly answers your question on how having kids affect marriage. I think I get panicky enough waiting for my husband to come home from work in a snowstorm, let alone the safety and well-being of a child who completely depends on me. I have a feeling I'll second-guess my every decision and probably drive not just myself crazy but also my husband with my nervous tendencies! In my case I think it's not having kids per se that will affect our marriage, but the way I think I'll handle it.

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  33. I would for sure say that things are drastically different now that we have 3 little ones (all under 5) but they really are better. I love seeing my husband as a daddy, it makes my heart burst with love. Now do we get busy as often, or go out as often NO. But we make each other top priority and I think that it important for kids to see, and it helps strengthen the marriage. We did wait a couple years before we had kids and I think that was a good choice. To each his own I can understand people not wanting to have kids because you will have less, but in my mind it really gives you more.

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  34. I'm a newlywed and we have two kids under 5 from my husband's previous marriage. A relationship with kids is certainly different than one without per my previous experience. We've been together since the boys were 2 and 3, so I knew what life with two kids was going to be like, for the most part, before we said I do.

    I can tell you that life with children is infinitely better than life without them. You do have to remember that not only are you a mother/father, you're first a wife/husband. If things aren't right with your spouse, they aren't going to be right for your kids. That's something that my husband and I have talked about often. For the most part, it's easy for me to turn off the "mom" role and be the wife.

    We make sure we have date nights and focus on each other, but there are also nights we fall asleep when we put the boys to bed and wake up in the middle of the night to get in our bed. Since the boys have gotten older, it's gotten easier as far as some things are concerned - like getting ready to go places. That changes with kids, too. I'm an optimist when it comes to taking the boys to things while my husband is the pessimist (and usually right about it!).

    Since we're now married, the "when are you going to have a baby?" questions have started from all angles. Honestly, I know that I want to have one or two (biological) children in the future, but I'm nervous about adding another to the mix and giving up the previous time with our two boys. It's something that we're not planning for a few years (unless God has other plans of course).

    I'm interested to see what other readers have to say since this is something that I think about a lot because not only do I want to be the best mom for the boys, I want to be the best wife for my husband.

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  35. I know that for my marriage having children has changed things quite a bit, especially with date nights. we can't really be spontaneous and get up and go when we please to have time alone, since we need a babysitter. pretty much everything revolves around the kids and their schedules. We're still pretty young so when the kids get to their early teen years, we'll still be young enough to want to enjoy traveling, date night annnnnnnd sexy time! lol.

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  36. Hi there, I'm a reader (and enjoy your lovely blog) and thought I'd comment on this one.

    I got married young to my sweetheart (20 and 21). It was perfect, we were going to wait a few years for kids and SURPRISE I was pregnant with our now 7 year old son immediately after the honeymoon. Since we were thrown into parenthood so unexpectedly we figured let's have number two a couple of years later and our daughter is now 5.

    I have learned that when you accept the short seasons with each of their own struggles and joys that children bring, it removes the pressure.
    In baby season all is for that child, and long term planning is the most irritating concept on the planet. But you have the pleasure of seeing this new being that is both of you. In the toddler season crawling into bed with your eyes already shut happens on a regular basis. But the new things the child learns everyday is the happiest of experiences. And now I'm at the full on kid stage, where their independence is growing daily. They are personalities that add so much richness to our lives that I couldn't fathom a moment without them. And our marriage? It's survived the droughts, blossomed from the trials, and is currently in a place of security and fun that I'd only dreamt it would be as there were crying babies and hourly diaper changes.

    All this to say (and sorry it's long winded) is that the seasons feel long in the moment, but are blinks of the eye as memories. And we'd have travelled and had lots of sex and sailed if we didn't have them... ;)... Though we may still do that in our 40's.

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  37. This is something that has been on my mind A LOT lately...I'm 16 weeks pregnant with my first, so believe me, I have some concerns. My husband and I have only been married a little over a year, and we were planning to wait longer. But after much discussion over things going on in our lives (we have older parents, his mom has cancer, I'm 28 and feel "ready", etc.) we decided the time was right. I must say, I think the minute we found out we were expecting we fell more deeply in love than ever before. We are so patient with each other now, so much more loving, so much more appreciative...it's like we realize we've created something amazing together and have become completely overwhelmed with how much love we feel for each other and the baby already.

    I know there will be some very tough times ahead...the "sexy time" has definitely already decreased since I feel pretty gross and tired (and man oh man, "sexy time" is important in our marriage), and I imagine that will only get worse the farther along I get...especially once the little one is here. But I think the trade off is the opportunity to see your spouse in a new role...he already loves this baby so much, and is so over the moon excited to be a daddy, and I can't wait to see it happen. I'm sure there will be days where we are frustrated and exhausted and pissed off at each other for a million little reasons, but I think if the relationship is strong enough, you can face any challenge. And you get a pretty great reward out of this particular challenge ;)

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  38. One of my best friends & her husband had a kid about a year and a half ago - they make a conscious effort to hire a babysitter a few times a month so they can go out & have a date night. Whenever we're around them we always go out to dinner & have a few beers with them & they're pretty much the same as they were before kids (but more responsible, of course). Their kid is the coolest kid in the world, too! He goes everywhere with them (Portland has a lot of kid-friendly breweries/restaurants) and is pretty used to being out & about. She said something to me the other day that really stuck. She said that you have to make intimacy a priority - not just for your man, but for you. Never lose sight of the reason why you two got together in the first place. Your kids will notice if they grow up in a house where the love between their parents is just pushed to the side.

    I have another friend that has two kids & hasn't been out on a date with her husband in over two years. At the end of the day she is exhausted, cranky & doesn't want to be touched. Every once in a while I can see a glimpse of her old self - but it's rare. Her kids stress her out & I’ve heard her question whether having kids was the right plan for her & her husband.

    I always thought that the older I got the more I would want kids - but for some reason the opposite is happening to me. The older I get, the more I get set in my ways & the more selfish I am with my time. Luke & I don't know if we want to have kids. Some days I hope I will change my mind later on & other days I am perfectly happy with my life. We’re definitely not trying to have kids, but if it were to happen, I know that we would welcome it & it would change our lives. But if there is one thing that I have learned from everyone around me, is that it is so important to keep your relationship alive – it’s important to make it a priority.

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  39. You are going to have your hands full reading all of these replies! Lol I just have to give my little piece of advice. (Being a mother) I can't tell you about the marriage part, but I can tell you that having a child is a love unlike any other. As I am single, and it wasn't because of the child, I am single because the father was a complete *^$#head and I chose to be single. (Never married) I can also tell you that I grew up with 3 sisters, so I am definitely NOT choosing a path with multiple children, I think I'm pretty satisfied with my one son, he can be a handful, although maybe that's just because I'm doing it alone. I know that if I ever had another one, I would stop FOR SURE at 2. Because 3 is a weird number, there will always be an odd man out. And 4 is just WAYYY too many. Forget about sex, forget about money with 4 kids. I know what it's like to have 3 siblings, I feel like I get forgotten sometimes, my family doesn't even read my blog let alone know that I have one and how much time and effort I put into it.

    I think it's all just about how much you're willing to sacrifice. It's okay to just be that cool Auntie Jenni. Also, kids are all completely different in their own way, you could have a complete angel who gives you no problem whatsoever, or you could get the crazy kid who tests every single one of his boundaries even if it's running into the middle of the street chasing cars EVERY SINGLE TIME you go outside.

    One last note, some say that having a child strengthens the marriage and yourselves. You learn that much more when you have a child. Again, as I am not married, this might not help that much.

    I hope you find the answers you were looking for. :)

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  40. Hi Jenni,
    First of all, I love your blog.
    Second of all, I could talk all day on this topic. My hubby and I have an almost two year old and I'm just about to hit the 20 week mark of my second pregnancy. Both pregnancies were a surprise which made it hard for us to get used to the idea of one and now two children. We are fixing up our house and for two productive people, who love working together, it has been a challenge to feel like one of us always gets to do the work while the other has to do baby duty. We had a hard first year of marriage (change doesn't come super easy for us) but finding out we were pregnant at the end of that year proved to be so good for us... I had an extremely rough pregnancy and it was great to watch AJ be supportive of me through five months of sickness and discouraging doctors visits. I think our marriage has gotten better with having a child. It's forced us to communicate so much more. And with both of us busy during the day I find that it's wonderful to see him at the end of the evening. We try to make sure we are sending each other emails or texts throughout the day and he's been great about making sure that I get time away from our child to still feel like the whole version of me instead of just a mother. One thing that has helped us is to tell the other person what we need, and to try to anticipate what we need before it happens.
    Lastly, I made it my goal to lose all my baby weight in six months. I did. BUT what I didn't quite realize is that I still wouldn't look the same and I'd feel insecure about it. It was so important for me to do something about the extra jiggle jiggle so that I'd feel like I was still giving AJ the best looking "me" that I could so he wouldn't ever feel disappointed. And he was always great about giving me the chance to run after he got home from work if I hadn't gotten out during the day with the jogging stroller.
    Sorry for the novel. :)
    Jen Migonis from www.migonishome.com
    jen.migonis@gmail.com

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  41. What a GREAT post, Jenny! I'm pregnant with our first, and this thought crosses my mind often. Or I think that we shouldn't have gotten pregnant so fast because you lose the ability to be spontaneous, and maybe we werent spontaneous enough pre-pregnancy. I also think that a marriage takes work no matter what stage of it you are in, and plan on making a huge effort to still pay attention to my husband's needs and our marriage. Most of the books I've read place the marriage relationship FIRST, even in the newborn stage, because not only is it important for the two spouses, but also in the child's life to grow up in a secure home.

    Now I'm going to go read all the novel comments above mine! :) Thanks for posting, I'm so interested in everyone's feedback!

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    1. I totally spelled your name wrong. I'm sorry!!! JENNI!

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  42. I'm a mom to four beautiful daughters...and happily married for nearly a decade now. :) I agree that so many marriages fall apart or at least lose that "spark" after having children. With us, however, it's never been that way. We have a marriage that is just as exciting and fulfilling as before our "parenthood days". I can count on one hand the number of times we've argued over all the years we've been together. Sounds cliche, but we really are best friends. Most of my friends have children and I've been asked countless times, "How do you do it?" Honestly, I don't really know definitively what makes it work but here's my guess: We laugh every single day together. He's mellow and "country" laid-back. Me? Not so much. I'm more of a worrier, a do-er, more exciteable and waaayyyy less patient. We even each other out. We have date nights and "after-the-kids-go-to-bed in-house date nights", LOL. (Kids go to bed, we go to our room with snacks and movies!) The big thing for us is that I've worked from home for a long time - we are not both out in the workforce while our children are shuffled to babysitters. Very recently, I've become a full-time stay-at-home mom. Our house is always clean, meals cooked (I love to cook so dinners out are special occassions for this family) and everyone's happy. Our girls are excellent students, responsible and well-mannered. That's not to say that we're perfect by ANY means...we just don't stress out about the small, unimportant things and focus on all of the things we're blessed with. We have a comfortable life, healthy children, a beautiful home and real happiness. That's what it's all about. Having our children didn't negatively affect our marriage...we still have "us" time and our girls bring us even more happiness, laughter and love than I ever could have imagined in my "pre-mommyhood days". I'm not sure if this is the answer you're looking for, but having children definitely only enhanced our marriage.

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  43. Personally, I absolutely adore children; however, I've rather firmly decided that I don't want my own kids. I'm going to be the awesomely cool aunt who can go off and do things and spend lots of time with her nieces and nephews. And I'm super cool with that.

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    1. There's nothing wrong with that! My best friend from college decided not to have kids and she is an excellent aunt! The best thing is to know what's best for you. My son is the best thing that ever happened to me, but motherhood is not for everyone, and that's perfectly good.

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  44. I have one more thing to add on: One thing that I believe sets us apart from a lot of families with children is this - our children are respectful, well behaved (read: POLITE!), clean, intelligent and responsible. They are not the "monster children" I see out in public, screaming their heads off over every little want and desire. That is something I set up from the get-go. We emphasize politeness, cleanliness, responsibility, set rules and really reinforce learning (education). All of our girls are in the Gifted/Talented program here, they keep their rooms clean, they've never thrown a fit in public, they understand the meaning of "manners" and they are just happy, well-rounded kids. I'm not a "strict parent", though. We taught the kids these things from Day 1 and it's just a "norm" here. It makes life a "whole hell of a lot" easier, let me tell you!! The girls know that when they wake up, they make their beds...they clean their messes up, clean their rooms, say all the proper things such as "please", "thank you", "may I...?", etc. without being told. But because this is all "normal" and not something they need to be reminded of, there's not a lot of rules around here...basically, it's a common sense method: They're able to do the things they want to do so long as they are mindful of their manners and not doing anything that is wrong. I think that teaching your kids right from wrong and how to behave properly right from the start is a KEY difference later on...and believe me, it matters! Our girls are in sports and other clubs/activities, each has their own close-knit group of friends and we're constantly going here, there and everywhere for some event, sleepover or what-have-you. When you set things up right from the beginning, it makes all the years that follow sooooo much easier. I promise. :)

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    1. I agree! Teaching your children to fit into the life you want (as best you can, and adjusting for age and other limitations within reason) is a great idea.

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    2. Please tell me, how do you keep your children from ever throwing tantrums in public? My daughter whines and asks for things throughout every trip to the grocery store!

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    3. MacKenzie, I don't really know exactly what it was (because we never actually had a "don't throw fits in public" talk or anything of the sort) but I think it probably has to do with how early we started teaching them manners and how to behave appropriately in EVERY situation (and I don't mean for that to sound bad - I am in no way saying that your child isn't polite, LOL!) Every person has a different parenting style. I don't buy my children something every time we go to the store. It's all about consistency, I think, and teaching them to really appreciate what they have and what they get in the future. You can't "cave in" when they ask for something one day and then say no for the next week and so on and so forth. My kids, for example, get rewarded for their report cards and progress reports. Every 4 weeks, they bring home their grades and if they are still on the high honor roll, I take them to the store and they can each pick out something up to $10.00. If the item costs more than $10.00, they must use their own allowance (that they earn doing chores that are NOT part of their daily routine...I don't pay for a made bed, clean room, etc.! LOL) When they spend their own saved money or "earn" the $10.00 through their report cards, it makes them a bit pickier in what they ask for and also makes them appreciate it a little more.

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  45. What an engaging conversation you've started! It's been really interesting to read through the responses and see everyone's perspective on such an important topic.

    As someone who's getting married in less than six months, this has been on my mind a lot. One because I'm 25 and I'm pretty sure my body is like "HEY! WHAT'S GOING ON?! PUT A BABY IN HERE!" And also because, after we got engaged the conversation shifted from "if we have kids" to "when we have kids" and needless to say, shit got real. It really makes you think about your priorities, what you want, what you don't want...

    Sebastian and I both want to young parents because we look at both of our own parents and see that they are still young and are able to live after kids. They still have the energy to go and travel and do things that they've always wanted to do. Now that this is becoming so very real for us, there's things we still want to do too. I'm so afraid of looking back and having regrets on decisions I've made. Not that I've ever regret having children, I just want to make sure that we've both done the crazy, stupid things before we choose to have them.

    Any sort of "risky" decision kinda goes out the window when you have kids and all you want is stability for your family. Not only stability in your career but also in your relationship, because that's a whole other discussion...

    In the meantime, I think I'll go skydiving or something :)

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  46. Crazy, that's my biggest fear too. I dated a guy who had a sister that had a kid. People didn't know she was married because she doted on her son so much and it was all about her son that people honestly didn't even know she had a husband. I don't want that. If you think back to the 50's or I guess what I envisioned about that time frame, it was about the husband/wife relationship and the kids respected those parents and that made the kids loved. From everyone I know that grew up in that time frame, they kind of say yes to my thoughts. Now it's all about the kids and giving the kids everything and so many marriages often suffer because of it.

    I married into a pre-made family. My husband already had a daughter and she's with us every other weekend. That right there is hard in itself, but at least she goes home to her mom and we go back to being the kidless couple basically. I'm torn on wanting kids for two reasons, one I don't want my step-daughter to feel left out when we have our kid with us full time and they experience more and second, I don't want my kid to feel weird because they have to share their parents with someone else. I know that sounds so weird and maybe I should shut up because I know that step-parents/kids isn't a new concept but I grew up with both parents still married so it's hard for me to grasp my head around all of that. I don't know how either kid would feel. In fact when I said something to my step-daughter about her daddy and me having a kid you'd have thought I killed her puppy.

    But sorry, that's a totally different thing. I'm still like you I don't want my marriage to suffer because of kids. I think one thing you have to do is make your spouse your number 1. And that might sound harsh but your kids won't ever suffer as long as you don't let them, but make your marriage the #1 because that's what brought that beautiful precious kid into existence and that's what keeps them in a loving house hold.

    Ok I"ll stop now with my book. Sorry!

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  47. i'm married but not a momma yet - but, i am a sincere believer that while no kids mean more fun, less stress, less work, more money - children will bring joy into lives that people without them will miss out on. as i talk with mothers there is a fulfilling, life changing, and undefined joy that comes with raising, guiding, loving, and teaching children - and so i'm with you, we're definitely having kids - and i expect it to be the most important and defining part of my life.

    love,
    elisabeth

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  48. i am married but have no desire to have kids. at all. At least not right now. I think it will ruin my love life. And I love my marriage and everything we have together. What a great post.

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  49. the best advice i've been given on this, thus far, is that you have to put your partner and marriage before the kids. that the best way to love them is by loving yourself first, your husband second and them third. at first it sounded really weird to me but when i look at the examples of what i'd like to have someday, it is always strong women with their own careers and life going on, with a marriage where you can totally see that they're still in love and kids who admire that about their parents. maybe it's not possible, maybe it is. excited to find out some day :)

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  50. We don't have kids of our own yet, but I do have a marvelous stepdaughter, who we have with us about half the time. She's six, and I've been in the picture since she was two. So I can definitely speak to having one foot in and the other out of the kid scenario, along with negotiating the dynamics of the non-traditional/split family...which should be a whole other comment, or blog, or book of its own. ANYWAY. It is a very real thing, how having a kid or kids will change the marital dynamics. And becoming a stepmother definitely changed my perspective—but not my decision—on having kids of my own. Most of our friends have kids, and they are the first to say that they envy our situation (not the broken family part, but the time off from kids part). Knowing that I think, I hope, will help us with the transition once our child or children enters the picture, hopefully soon! Great post and good things to think about.

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  51. I know exactly what you mean as I am a first time mom of a 2 month old. Having a baby has changed our marriage, for better and worse (if you want to say that). Seeing my husband with our child makes me love him even more. But the lack of sleep, constant attention, etc has made the sexy time grow less and less. I know this will change as he grows older. Right now we are adjusting to this new lifestyle and we know we'll get in a better routine and get our grove back. We know that the spouse needs to be #1, but at the beginning it's easier said than done. We are still having a date night every other week though for some quality couple time.

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    1. agree Gina that there is a lull when they're not sleeping through the night, it does get better when everyone is getting more sleep. =) congrats on your new baby!

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  52. I'm at the same point of life as you- have a dog, almost on the kids. From what I've observed teamwork seems to be a key. And date nights. I know people who never get a babysitter. How can you expect your marriage to be strong if you never have time together? I think its really important when the kids are young to establish that time together or else I can see how it spirals and never happens.

    Of course, I have no clue since I'm an outsider, but those are two things I've picked up. We'll see when it really happens :)

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  53. Well I'm the farthest thing from being an expert in this area as we're only five months in with only one little, but I'll be honest, there's been a few times I've looked at families with multiple kids and thought, "How do you even find time to 'make' more kids?!"

    Anyway.

    Here's what's helped Kyle & I, and what I've seen in other marriages that seem to be thriving with kids:

    1. DATE. NIGHT. We have one once a week.
    2. Intentionally talking about something other than your kids. Kyle and I already have to have "no baby talk allowed" times. And we totally hold each other accountable to it. It seriously helps though.
    3. Not letting sexy time drop on your list of priorities. This is something we have to check up on every once in awhile, it wasn't a one-time conversation and then everything was great. Part of this is having the kind of marriage where you can ask questions like this, but we often ask each other how the quality and quantity is holding up, if you know what I mean.

    Also, we have given up a lot of things that not having kids would have allowed us to have, but honestly, not as much as I thought I'd have to give up. And I'll throw in that you're guess about getting something in exchange for what you're giving up by having children is totally right. :) There's totally been a few moments when I'm envious of married couples who don't have kids, but at the end of the day, Z is the best thing that I've ever been a part of making happen. It's crazy beautiful.

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  54. my first baby i due any day now and so i have had this on my mind a lot--the fear of the unknown!

    but i like to think as long as we prioritise each other it will all work out and be ok. at times it will be trying and hard but marriage can be like that without children anyway, and i just have faith that as long as we are honest and open together we can overcome anything.

    i should probably update this when reality strikes and i am suffering from lack of sleep and then you will probably get a totally different answer ;)

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  55. I've been married for almost 11 years (this Saturday) and hubby & I have two kids. I will say that kids are more challenging that you could ever imagine and there are many frustrating moments and hurdles to overcome. But as far as my love and passion for my husband, having kids hasn't affected that one bit. If anything our love has grown and our passion is more alive than ever.

    http://shannonhearts.blogspot.com/

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  56. Ask in a year or two and I'll have a better answer. Right now though I'm still just pregnant, albeit in the third tri. And I've learned the hard way this pregnancy that sexy time is not the end all, be all. It's something that's historically been very important to us but then we had to endure a 14 week medically prescribed sex ban and now my third trimester belly is quite the awkward impediment. I used to scoff at my friends that admitted to having less than flourishing sex lives and while I still kinda hypocritically do, I also get that what is probably more important is the time we dedicate to each other... Even if that time doesn't involve raunchy sex. And honestly some of those moments not involving sex have been more special. And that's been great for our marriage. I'm sure actually having an out of uterus child is more difficult but I'm glad this pregnancy helped me realign my expectations in that category.

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  57. Great post. I am with your friend on the not wanting kids end, and my fiance doesn't care either way. We may end up with one, but I don't want any more than that. Some reasons are selfish, such as I have no desire to get fat and push a watermelon out of my lady parts nor do I want to have to devote 100000% of my time to another person (like I said selfish) but then again if I know I can't deal with kids well, then its probably best that I not try to fool myself and be one of the jerk parents that spends 99% of their time yelling at their kids (no thanks). Also, my fiance and I have a good routine that keeps our relationship strong. We are able to have our time when we are completely alone and do our own thing (sometimes even when we're in the same room) and we have the time when we do stuff together. It is a good balance, it works for us and it keeps us from getting sick of each other. We also try to do one new thing per month to keep things interesting (travels, food ect) and I feel like kids would complicate that and I'm not sure how I feel about this. For right now, dogs are good. Again, great post and great things to think about! :)

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  58. Wow, such responsive comments/opinions. So let me say first that I second what Britt said above about there never being a perfect time. I tend to think that couples can sometimes err on the selfish side when waiting to have children....which is not to be confused with making sure it's the right choice, making sure you know exactly what you're getting into, etc. I just think if everything else is in line, what are they waiting for?

    So! For me and my husband...we got married after dating a LONG time. We knew eachother so well and had plenty of "us" time pre-kids. Each of our 4 children were planned. We had always wanted four. We wanted to be done having kids by 30. We accomplished those things by the grace of God. The point of me explaining our plan is that we knew our relationship could handle it. We've also been through losing a baby and raising challenging children, however, doing so has brought us closer and taken our intimacy to a whole other level that I never knew before children. No, my body isn't exactly the same as pre-kids, but my husband not only appreciates it for what it is, but also finds a strong connection in the fact that this body of mine gave him his four children. I guess it's hard to explain, but in summary, our marriage is stronger and better (in ALL aspects) after children. Yes we have to work hard at it, but our philosophy is in order to be good parents, we have to put eachother first, which is easier said than done...but worth it. There's a quote I love: "The best thing a father can do for his children, is to love their mother."

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  59. Hmm.. as someone who is neither married nor has children, I still feel like I have something to contribute, so here I go, contributing. I think both couples with children and without have the potential to see their marriage flourish or crumble. I think having children can keep you together longer than you may have stayed together if you didn't have them. I also think it can tear you apart sooner than it might have if you didn't have them. I think that the potential of your marriage is always negotiable. I've seen families with two or three children who seem so close knit. I see families with no children who got divorced. I guess I just think you get what you put in - children or not - it really depends on the way you and your partner communicate and compromise - married, dating, childless or with a bunch of them.

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  60. My husband & I have one child & he is currently in the "terrible 2's". These last 2 years have not been a piece of cake & a lot of time people that don't have children only get told the "good stuff", like buying the adorable clothes or hearing their first word, or taking their first step. They usually leave out the sleepless nights, hormonal change, tantrums, ect. My husband is an only child so for a very long time has done what he wants when he wants so having a little one in the mix put a damper on that. However at the same time we have both matured not only as adults but also in our relationship. The day our son was born my husband & I connected on a completely different level. Now when our son was born we had already been together for 10 years so I thought we knew each other pretty well, but when you see your husband hold your child for the first time something changes..I didn't know it was possible but I had an even deeper love for him:) Now these last two years we have struggled through trying to learn the parenting ropes & at the same time keep our relationship going. We have always tried to have at least 1 date night a month if not more. There have been some days where we simply will drop our son off at a grandma's and go grab lunch. We also make sure that our son is on a pretty regular bedtime routine & this allows us some quiet time at night to reconnect. Now having said all that I would never trade having my son & I know my husband wouldn't either, but our life has changed, but in our eyes it is for the better. Good luck on your decision & extra good luck if you decide on having a child:)

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  61. I absolutely LOVE this Jenni, mostly because I'm about to turn (eek!) 29 in a few months and I'm not even married yet. I KNOW I want kids, but I don't know when I'd be ready. I'm excited to read everyone's responses!!

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  62. Looks like you sparked quite the conversation! I think you have more mommy/style bloggers than you realize, myself included.

    My husband and I have a 10 month old. Was our marriage affected with the arrival of a baby? Absolutely. As a woman, getting used to your newly morphed body can have its downs. However, it showed me that my husband loved me no matter what and it was beautiful to him that TOGETHER we created this precious life, even at the expense of an altered body. As for less money and less sex, I think it's the opposite. I suppose it depends on your spouse, but my hubs is now absolutely determined to make a great living for us BECAUSE we are having children (and things are headed nicely in that direction) and sexy time is more fun now because we appreciate that time together more (esp because there are no baby screaming distractions).

    Yes, having a kid/kids is stressful, exhausting, worrisome, and kind of looney considering all the things you mentioned. But ultimately, there is no way to describe the insane joy being a parent brings. You just can't imagine it until you do it (and that is a problem for some people). The way your child tells you they infinitely love you with just one look is mind-blowing and deeper than anything on this earth. It also teaches you so much about yourself and how to be a better spouse, by compromising and teaching this little creature as a team.

    We have a fur baby and love him to the end of earth, but I promise you a baby is even 500x better, if you can imagine it. People are cheating themselves by deciding not to have children.

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  63. Honestly, our marriage has gotten better since having our first child. It gave me confidence in myself that I was able to provide him with a son, it changed our priorities to family time which means more time together, and it made us both realize that we had to make this work no matter what for our son! It is hard to put our relationship first sometimes, especially when he was tiny and we had to leave him with grandparents, but we know it is so much better for him to have happy and in-love parents in the long run! Our second is on the way and I'm not sure what kind of impact that will have...but one made us a family!!

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  64. To tell the truth, YES, it is difficult. However, it's an amazing experience. My love for my husband grows each day as I watch him father our son. Sometimes it's easy to get busy, but I think if you set some ground rules (like alone time at least once a week), you can keep that relationship strong. Parenting together has brought us closer.

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  65. Oooh! Good one! Great Discussion. I’ve loved reading everyone’s comments.
    I know for a fact that having children changes your marriage.. but in many ways it can be positive change if you and your husband mentally prepare and are aware of the challenges ahead. We read the book “Babyproofing your marriage” before we even started trying for a baby, and talked to tons of people different ages and with experiences.. Most women complained that the men didn’t help with the children enough and were then too tired to be attentive to their husbands. The men complained that women stopped caring for their appearance and basically stopped being a sexy wife because they were so absorbed in being a “mommy”. It irritated me to no ends reading/hearing countless stories, all the same. And these are things that (I think) can be easily fixed or planned for pre and post baby.
    For us – our marriage is our number one priority. We have gone away for one week (sans baby) every year for our anniversary, and we go away for a weekend every six months. We do regular date nights usually once a week, but sometimes every two weeks if it is really busy in our home. Sometimes my mother in law watches the boys overnight and we just have time for ourselves. It’s not easy. The first time we went away for our anniversary, our son was only 8 months old. I cried when we left him, but I KNEW it was so important for us. And it was. It was amazing! By day 2, we didn’t look back. Those first few dates when our son was so tiny, leaving him felt like someone chopped off my arm. But, I got dressed up, put a smile on my face and did it. It was/is the best thing for our marriage. And I think an important thing to stress is that no man wants to go out with a begrudging date that is going to whine and complain and wimper because they miss their baby and don’t want to be there. Put on a happy face, a short skirt and be the wife your husband married! There are a ton of things men can do as well – any man worth his salt would see his wife as MORE sexy for what her body went through to give him a child. And if he communicates that – it will make the wife feel sexy and good about herself. Activly co-parenting, helping around the house and still treating your wife like your queen is crucial.
    Another important component is to not lose yourself in your children. I can’t speak for the men, but for women it is SO important that you have some sort of Identity outside of your children and family. Those are the things that attracted your husband in the first place. Invest in yourself and in your marriage, and the baby/kid raising will be a blessing instead of a burden. And the good news is all the fun stuff doesn’t have to stop, and so much of it gets better and better! ;)

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  66. Great topic Jenni!

    I can honestly say having kids with my husband has made me love him even more than I thought possible. He often says seeing me as a mom is a huge turn on ;). Is it harder with kids? Yes. But in no way do we feel like we are missing out on anything!! We have gotten more creative, we date each other often, we make time for each other a priority!!

    I don't feel slighted in the least!!!

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  67. I'll keep it short and sweet. (i'm the photog friend who asked about the actions)

    Just had my little man 6 weeks ago. Best decision for my marriage. ever. Husband and I have only been parents for a short while but we've already had several date nights just the two of us. And I mean actually got dressed up, left little man with a friend, and went out on the town. Since having little man, my love and intimacy for my husband has only ELEVATED! But our marriage is not based on our love. It's based on the gospel. Therefore, even when we are all loved out on our little boy and don't seem to have much left for each other... we remember the gospel. And realize it's not about love. It's about a choice and remembering that makes the Love seem to grow and grow.

    That all may not make sense. and like I said, I'm only several weeks into marriage plus children. But MY GOSH. it is way way sweeter.

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  68. I'm a new mom of a 10 week old...the transition to mommyhood has definitely slowed down the sex for now, but it's brought a new element to our marriage that is indescribable. The sex WILL pick up...it just takes a bit more effort to be spontaneous.

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  69. Great subject Jenni. You got a lot of people thinking and making good comments. I read most of the them but I particularly like what Maria said. Also, if a marriage is going to fail it will probably do so wether you have kids or not. I am very happy your mother and I decided to have children. Love you, Dad

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  70. Great post, and great discussion!

    I just got married two months ago and my husband and I decided to wait for a while to have kids. As badly as I want them someday I see the value in waiting and taking this time to get to know my husband and to build a strong foundation for our marriage. That's just the right choice for us right now. I have several friends who are having a difficult time in their marriages and who also happen to have young children. There are other factors contributing to their dissatisfaction right now, but I can clearly see that bringing babies into the mix right away can cause a LOT of stress, especially when there are other challenges in the relationship.

    Plenty of parents have kids right away and are still able to put their marriage first, but I'm a firm believer that only good things can come from taking the time to get to know yourself, your significant other, and the kind of parents you want to be.

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  71. I may only have one child under my belt, but I don't think children are usually the downfall of marriages - I think they are really just catalysts in cases where the marriage already has problems lurking in the background. So while I wouldn't call my marriage "rockin'" these days, I would still call it solid - and that's really all I could hope for! Do we have less time together and do we lose our patience more often? Of course. But the bottom line is we still love each other and therefore we make it work, even if that means sacrificing the things that used to make our marriage SEEM more exciting (like money, travel, etc.). So that's my two cents :)

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  72. I've been married over 7 years and have a 2 year old son. We waited a long time to have a child because we wanted time to be a couple and be selfish.
    I won't lie, there are times where we both feel selfish and want to lay on the sofa or read a magazine and do nothing - and toddlers certainly don't let you do that. It's all about compromise after children. Our marriage is still fantastic and we still have plenty of money (but maybe not plenty of sex) and we can sail around the world later.
    But when you are together as a family and you see your husband and child playing and laughing - there is absolutely nothing better.

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  73. This is a good post! I have two kids and have been married for nine years. My husband and I got pregnant on our honeymoon or very close after. We had our second child six years later. We didn't date long we were enganged after 7 months of dating and then married 8 months after getting engaged. At times I had wished we were able to have our selfish time for just us but I think since we had our first so fast it was just a way of life and just us. :) We have moved to two different states away from our families this summer so it has been a bit of a change for our normal. When living close to our family we would have date nights once or twice a month. Since we haven't been able to do that we have our own special time once the kids go to bed. Our special time could include a project we have been working on, watching a tv show, a movie ect. We still try to make time for us. We do call and check in on each other durning the day or send a sweet text. I know once my kids were born I loved my husband in a whole differnt way then I did the day I married him. :)

    http://countryrootscityliving.blogspot.com

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  74. Even though you have plenty of amazing responses, I figured add in my two cents too. (o;

    Having Tommy was a HUGE adjustment for sure. Being pregnant made me crazy and I never wanted to have sex - it definitely took a toll on us and my poor hubby. Thankfully, this time pregnancy has been much different and that has made for a much happier Todd. Seriously - he made the comment the other day how glad he was that I was still wanting to have sex this time. Poor guy - the first time around was so hard on him - and us.

    As far as the every-day goes - I think everyone maybe has a different method for how to make it work - to keep the home-fires burning and for things to stay close and intimate. Regardless, kids will change the dynamic between the two of you. It will of course change how often you have sex and the time of day, etc. But it will also challenge and strengthen you too. For us, we have to have plenty of away time - just he and I. We HAVE to stay connected and it's easy for us (well, it's easy now!) to recognize when things feel like they're slipping so-to-speak. But we have to have ample date nights - even if it means more time away from Tommy. Ultimately, if our marriage is strong and thriving, we will be able to parent from that place. So make time for dates, weekends away, and moments alone together at home with the TV off and make the most of your alone time together - that's what we "try" to do!

    Just like your friend who doesn't want to have any - take your time deciding when is right for and don't listen to what anyone else thinks about the when's and the how many's and all that. And if and when you're ready, be prepared for it to change you both and change your marriage and trust that love, REAL love, like you and your husband share is a strong, strong thing and will overcome the down days and the difficult moments that parenthood will come with.

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  75. Hi Jenni!

    Long time lurker here and first time commenter on your wonderful blog :) I agree with SO many of the above comments but just thought I'd add in my own two-cents.

    First of all, I think it's awesome that you and your husband are discussing these questions, feelings, and concerns before you possibly bring a baby into this world. The fact that you are communicating is a wonderful platform and will bring in less surprises when you are actually parents.

    That being said, I totally relate to all of your thoughts and 100% went through the same things in my mind right before my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby. I am almost 28, my husband is 30, and we've been married for 6 years on Monday. We dated for 2 years and have been through all sorts of life stressors like unemployment, death, etc. We got pregnant last November, had our beautiful daughter in August and we are now 13 weeks into the new parent thing.

    You know what's awesome?

    My marriage is HOTTER than it's ever been.

    SEX is way better than before I had a baby.

    And there is nothing sexier than watching your husband become a father to the baby that you both made together.

    Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

    Can you still travel? Yes. We've been all around our state and city since she's been 2 days old. It's strictly your choice as a parent to be as active or sedentary as you want. Are we broke? No. Are kids expensive? Not really. It's all relative. Do I dress her in Chanel? No. Do I shop on the sale rack at Target? Yes.

    We moved out of state last year so both of our parents live back home in San Diego. When they have come out to visit, they've babysat and blessed us with date nights. Do you know what? Both of us could NOT wait to come home and see our daughter. We enjoyed our time and came back rejuvinated. When the grandparents aren't around, we've had date nights at home by creating a romantic dinner, cuddling on the couch and watching a movie, etc.

    Not everyone is into the schedule thing as parents, but for us, it's really given us time alone together. Our daughter goes to bed at the same time every night and that affords us the luxury of knowing when our at home date nights begin, or if there's a babysitter around, when we can get out and be intentional about our "us" time.

    Also, our kiddo will sleep in her crib moving forward... nothing again the co-sleeping thing, but our bedroom is where the magic happens :)

    Like the above commentor said above, I don't really think having kids has anything to do with the rise or fall of marriages. It's just a catalyst to bring out previous problems, etc. Truly the best thing you can do for your child is to love one another, and love well. What better sense of security will your children have than to see it's mommy and daddy still on their "honeymoon"? You guys will be awesome parents when that time comes. Stoked for you.

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  76. dang, Jenny, you could write a book with all these comments! Love it. I am going to keep it short. I have been married 12 years and you know I have kiddos. Here is the deal that people need to realize and what I think would make the divorce rate much lower....romance, sex 4 times a week and fairytale stuff fades...as you get older and have children a stonger, deeper bond evolves. You become a true team raising a family and respecting each other on much higher levels. As much as I am a dreamer and would love to skip through fields of flowers with Ross and take whirlwind trips around the world, I would much rather have the life I do have with my kids...watching them grow and growing with them....as a wife, mom and person. Super fab post! xoxo

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  77. I'm not married or have kids yet but this is a topic that my (Dutch) boyfriend and I discuss frequently. When is the right time? Will kids break or make our relationship stronger? At the moment we are living in Europe so are being selfish I suppose and not ready to find out the answers to these questions.

    It comes down to this... We come from very different cultures (me, young 20-something American gal dream) where he has the more conservative, European standpoint.

    People in his country don't get married till their mid-30's and usually have kids BEFORE that. To them, having creating a child together is deeper than any bond that can be officiated, acknowledged or celebrated. I agree... to a certain extent :) but I imagine when the time comes that he becomes the father of my children, I will adore him more than ever.

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  78. My husband and I are literally counting the days until we have our son (first child)- hi by the way, you're taking his newborn pics next month :). We have both been very, very open with communicating how important it is for us to keep our relationship first and not blow off our "us" time. We both agree that it's important to show our son an example of a healthy marriage but at the same time we know it's going to take work to not neglect each other considering how much our son will need us, especially in the beginning. We're trying not to be naive about how things are about to change, we know it's going to be a huge life changing event so we're just keeping the lines of communication as wide open as we can.

    Another struggle will be sexy time, during this whole pregnancy this has been a struggle for me- my husband has needs and I would either be dealing with morning sickness, feeling huge and unsexy, or not having energy. It has been something we got through (and honestly grew closer because of) simply because we communicated. I'm sure that between feedings, diaper changes, and naps things will become even more difficult in that department but its something that's important for our relationship that we'll make time for.

    I'm so excited, scared, nervous, anxious, and happy about the changes that are about to happen. I know that no matter how hard the struggle to adjust might be it's going to be worth it.

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  79. I'm a newlywed and very young but despite all advice not to have kids young it's something I've always wanted! I grew up with the greatest example that marriages can not only survive but flourish after having children, my parents. They had my brother and me in their mid to upper twenties and they say they wouldn't have done it any other way! They have an amazing marriage that they said only got stronger experiencing children. Sometimes I swear they act younger than I do because they're still so young at heart and in their marriage. They have always taken time to spend just the two of them and have always been a great model of what a healthy marriage with kids should look like.

    For me, I find nothing sexier than seeing my husband interact with kids. When we have kids of our own in the near future I know my love for him will grow because seeing him love on something that means so much to me just melts my heart. I know having kids will challenge us in all aspects of our life together but I say bring it on! I want to be able to fully enjoy every opportunity with my kids and still be young enough to "live" after they're out of the house.

    I think the challenges are well worth it and from reading your blog I'd say you both have what it takes to grow from the experience! Good luck with your decision :)

    love,
    Mandy

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  80. well, i'm on the precipice now (15 weeks pregnant) so i'll let you know how our marriage is in 6 months :)

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  81. This is an interesting and so very relateable topic. My hubs and I don't have kids, but we want them, although it scares us to death. We don't even have pets partly because we do not want the responsibility! But having kids is essential to what we want. At the same time, "we" are essential to each other. I'm praying that having kids only makes things even better than they already are, even if a bit more hectic. But know... I feel that when I don't have a lot of a free time, I really really value the free time that I do have. I will use the same sentiment when we have kids, too! (Hopefully)

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  82. So, not having read all of the comments (because of my kids!! talk about neglecting a "relationship" - my blogging suffers so...) I will say that my marriage is stronger and more connected now, after two kids, than ever. Could be time, could be experience (like bringing two souls into the world) or it could be that we KNOW that we need to put the effort in in order to make it work since we do have kids. It's not always easy, but marriage in general isn't easy, is it? Kids are a total challenge, by far the hardest thing I've EVER EVER done. Worth it, yes! But, so so hard. Marriage is the second hardest thing I've ever done!! Haha! I wouldn't do anything any different, but I work each and every day at having a good relationship with both my kids and my husband. It just takes work. I think, if you're not working at it you're doing something wrong. Just my thoughts!

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  83. I am a mother of 3. I have a 13, a 12, and an 8 year old. My husband and I have been married for 14 years and we are more in love than ever! We got married when we were 17 and 18 years old, started a family very young (not by choice), but we made it and we are still trucking. So it CAN work! It's definitely a challenge at times and stressful with kids, but we always make time for ourselves, make time for sex, etc. (Ha!) I don't really know what the key is.. Just make time for yourselves, always communicate and be honest, respect eachother, and it will work. :) I think I might just start my own blog! lol (seriously thinking about it) You will meet us at the wedding on the 1st. ;)

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  84. So wonderful that you posted on this. My husband and I have recently started talking about this since all of our friends are either trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or have kids already. We are waiting a little longer to have children but this topic comes up quite often. Always leaving us wondering how much our lives would change. I work with all women and non of them have children. They are pretty negative about the whole thing and tell me how much it will ruin my life if I do. But to tell you the truth it hasn't swayed my decision to have children someday. I think as long as you have a strong marriage before kids and you both accept that things are going to change and may be difficult, having children would be such a blessing. I truly believe that all it takes is allowing all that love to multiply.

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  85. oh girl....you dun did it. Let me recap my life in a few sentences for you. Statred dating my hubs at 16, married at 20, preg at 25-miscarried, preg and delivered baby at 26..Aug. 2010...By November 2010...YES about 2.5 months after I delivered my sweet VERY planned for child, whom by the way is NAMED after the beach we got MARRIED on in MAUI. I packed her and myself up and moved in with my parents. My husband grew distant, started another relationship, and said he no longer loved me. He I think when though some sort of midlife crisis at 31, or I believe he got struck with post partum. BUT...I belive if you want the perfect life with or without babies...you will always have to work for it. You will have to split time, love, attention, emotion...everything. But if it's WORTH it you'll make it work. I don't think children changes marriages. I think people change or expect too much. I think many woman strive for babies and become consumed with them once they are here and put themselves and their partners on the back burner. I believe 100% that communication is KEY to succesful marriages. This was something my husband lacked for as long as I could remember. He was unable to communicate once the baby came so he decided to run and hurt EVERYONE along the way. I'm not a 28 year old single mother to a two year old. I'm experiencing life for the first time considering I'd been with him since 16. Kids don't change marriages. People change marriages...Everything in life is work. Good marriages, bad marriages...it all takes work. You can read LOTS of my story on the bloggy blog!

    love,
    Dani

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  86. I didn't have time to read through everyone's comments. But I have such a burden for couples about this. I have only been married for 6 years (anniversary next week actually) and I am young still (28). But we have two boys, 3 and half and 2, and just suffered a miscarriage. Our marriage has never been stronger. And honestly our sex life has gotten better. We make a huge effort to have time together. Our kids go to bed early so we have time for each other before it's too late. We go on dates regularly. I excercise and work at staying fit b/c it makes me feel better and I know he appreciates it (although in no way puts that pressure on me). But I honestly feel better about msyelf which helps with the whole sex thing. It does take a lot of effort to make that time for the two of you alone, but so so worth it. We get away for a couple nights at least once a year. having kids does add a new dynamic to the mix - but if you're committed to loving, communicating and working together you can make it happen. And working together towards that goal will bring you closer. And having a family - kids that you two made together - helps bring you together too. As long as you stay connected, communicate, help and are honest with each other - You will have an even better marriage than you have now.
    I am more in love with Richard than I ever have. And I love sex with him more than I ever have. he is my rock, he has stood by me. he has seen me at my ultimate worst and at my best. I cannot imagine this life without him or our marriage without our two boys. Hope that encourages you a little

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  87. I love this post!
    I think everyone has their own reasons for doing things & obviously once you have kids it's going to change a lot for you & your spouse but having a family is so worth it. I can't wait for that moment to come in my life :)
    Have a great one Jenni!

    -Jessica
    www.cinnamonandspiceblog.blogspot.com

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  88. I haven't read through all of the responses, but such a great post. I agree with a lot of the other people when they say communication is key. I also have to say that you should have a really strong foundation before you start having kids. We set a 5 year plan when we got married, we wanted to travel, do what we wanted to do, and not have a care in the world. We also wanted to be financially ready to have a baby. I know so many couples who stress about money and that in turn affects their marriage. I think that how you raise you kids and agree with disapline, etc is important as well. For example, if one parent says no don't do that, the other parent can't just say, yes you can...that causes a riff between you and your spouse as well. Be on the same page even if you think they're wrong, then talk about it when the kids aren't around. I definitely think that the between the sheet times are less often, but that's just due to being tired, working, family obligations, etc, not because there isn't love in the marriage or mean that you can't have a strong marriage. If both people are on the same page and when you're not you talk about, I think the marriage only gets stronger when you have a united front. Also date nights when possible is good too. Take advantage of your parents/friends offering to babysit, your kid will still love you even if you're gone for a few hours every couple of weeks.

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  89. I am 31 and we still don't have kids. It's such a hard decision because I know eventually we want kids, but how do you know when you're ready? My husband and I are really happy with our lives and don't feel like anything is missing. I'm not getting any younger, but is that a reason to rush to have kids?? I am just as clueless as anyone.

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  90. I think regardless if you have children or not, a marriage takes work, and lots of it. My husband and I suffered from infertility, and were unable to conceive for years. In some ways it brought us closer together, and other ways it didn't. But we worked through it. Communication is so important in a marriage.

    One thing I've learned since having my daughter 3 years ago, is that children bring so much joy into your lives. It is a joy that cannot be replaced by money, sex or travel. If you choose to not have children, then you will miss out on one of the purest forms of happiness. That being said, I don't judge people who choose to not have children. It is an extremely personal decision that no one else can make for you. You never know the reason why they made that decision. But hopefully it wasn't made lightly.

    As far as knowing when you're ready. My opinion is that you leave it up to God. Don't prevent it, but don't necessarily "try". It will happen when it is supposed to happen. I believe that children come when they are supposed to. Even though I suffered from infertility, and thought I knew the right time to have a baby, I know that she wasn't supposed to come until she did.

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  91. I don't think we'll ever have it all figured out, even after the babies come. It's just something we have to figure out as we go along. And only you and Matthew will know when it's the right time to pop out those little fockers ;P There will be more attention on the little ones and maybe that will take your mind/attention off the need for sex (just a theory), but you'll still want it, even after a long day.

    But I do worry about that too. I worry about the tolls my body will go through after popping out a baby. Guess that just means I'll have to work harder to get back to my pre-preggo body. B and I have friends who have kids and they're about half and half. Half of them have a fabulous marriage (or at least that's what they tell us), and the other half rarely ever have sex and sleep with their kids in separate beds because they are so young, 3 and 6mos.

    In the end though, I think you'll have a richer life because of your children. They really are blessings! :)

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  92. OK...forty one years of marriage and five grown kids later....he still rocks my world. He still manages to surprise me now and then with unexpected funniness. We are comfortable in our love but not at all bored or assuming. We never suffered the empty nest as we loved our nest when it was filled with just the two of us. YES you have to keep putting an effort into your marriage. YES sometimes it is work. YES you must make sure you remember to make your companion in life FIRST in your heart and thoughts.

    Children can make it crazy, crazy, crazy...and we did do without so many THINGS, but oh what memories and fun we all have whenever we get together.
    If I have a one word of advice...remember to laugh with each other. It really helps!

    PS I heard Matthew had an appendectomy...praying for you all and a speedy recovery..Hugs

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  93. I have been a professional nanny for nearly 15 years and probably have the best Front Row seat there is to be had to marriage and family. Just as Moms will tell you they simply "knew" when they were or were not done growing their family-- I've met moms with huge age gaps between kids because they "just didnt feel that their family was complete." My partner and I are childless and could do anything we please, but there are so many times we sit around-- bored, almost-- knowing that there must be more to our life together than just each other. Yes, kids DO CHANGE the shape of a marriage and they do become THE #1. You won't miss the other part though. If kids are what you want, then the added stress/expense/etc is just that- an addition to your life.

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  94. We've been married for almost five years and are parents to 15 month old twin girls. I shared your fears. I still do even now that we have children. If I tell you that things will change and if you were to look at it now you might not like it but when you look at it when you're in it you will love it... will you understand? Probably not, I didn't. The fact is children change things but you have this whole new, giant life changing adventure to go on together. So yes, you'll have less sex, and yes you might lose all your pregnancy weight but still think your tummy doesn't look right, and you will have less time and you will have less sleep but you will be on this ride together and it will make you feel closer than ever. ps. i highly recommend it (the baby thing that is)

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  95. my husband and i have always had a strong (not always easy, but strong) marriage, and after little hallie came along, i feel like she only made us stronger. honestly, NOTHING could prepare me for how much more in love i would fall with mark after our baby was born. and he would tell you the same. something about watching him love and nurture our child just makes me melt into a puddle. :) of course, it helps that we make time for each other. we make sure to put her to bed early on the weekends so we can have "us" time. if ya know what i mean.:)TMI. you just make it work and make each other a priority. let me just tell you this, no matter how hallie has changed our lives (less money, less sleep, less sex, no sailing:) i would NEVER regret having her. EVER. she changed my life. and now this is really sappy and long. but you asked.:)

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  96. I'm 29 and have been married for 7 years to my husband Bobby. We have a 4 year old boy and a 14 month old girl. And we want to "get me pregnant" again in about 6 months. Marriage is hard no matter what....but I can honestly say that I would MUCH rather have the hard, with the extreme joy that our kids bring us! We laugh so much because of them and I find it so attractive to see my husband be their daddy, it adds a whole new dimension to our relationship as a couple. We have ups and downs and it can be a chore sometimes to make time for us, but in the end we are in love with each other and we have made these beautiful little people....so yes kids add challenges, but they are SO incredibly worth it. And you can still have sex and have fun with each other....life doesn't end, it gets much richer in my opinion!! :)

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  97. I absolutely love the purpose of this post and I am also interested to read everyone's views. I myself, at 27- 28 VERY soon - I believe that family really is number one and being surrounded by lots of love helps to keep people grounded. I may be biased since I am an only child- my dream has always been a house full of brothers and sisters....

    You can still have an amazing relationship with your husband and grow as a family together. Yes it takes work, but so does a relationship WITHOUT children. You can still travel - you take them with you. Is it work ? Yes Is it worth it? HECK YES :)

    I am speaking from no experience but I have some amazing friends who prove this and of course my parents and family.

    :)

    xx Lynzy

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  98. wow! you have a lot of comments to read but I can't resist adding to the list :)

    Me and my friend had the exact same conversation the other day! I'm not sure how I feel. My friend doesn't want kids due to the body, sexy time and not being able to be yourself issues. I'm torn on the other hand in a way I want them because of all the positives but other things worry me as well as the above such as my relationship (like you mentioned). I feel as though I do want to start that new chapter but also know how complicated it could get.

    A lot of my friends have kids already, some work some don't. But the ones that do, do just that, work. They remember all the little things that helped the relationship in the beginning and thats what helps them with their relationship. I suppose everything in life is work if you want it, but its the sacrifices and the how your handle the changes that make it work.

    Lisa xx

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  99. Oh my so glad you asked.... I always knew I wanted kids it just seemed to go with the dream territory.
    Dream man, dream wedding, dream kids, dream life.... Husband and I married and said we didn't want kids right away- we wanted to love and know each other first- we were married for four years and then I had the same questions as you- how will I love him the same- how will he love me- what if he loves baby more that ME- what if I love baby more than him- we had a dog"baby" our cocker spaniel, Chloe, was our world. What if we loose our special time- what if we have to give up our free time and weekends and big concern- how can we afford a .....baby......

    The time came and we were both scared but 'ready'- the fun part was trying the scary part was when it became real- we were really going to be responsible for the care of someone else's life!!! The what if's set in.........
    I came from a broken home and husband was an only child in a perfect world- I knew that I wanted to really change- really be real and not afraid of the what if's- I have always known God and the love he had for us by sending his only son to die on the cross but I didn't really get to know him until I was carrying His child- the greatest gift on earth.
    I learned to love deeper- love less of me and more of Him which spilled grace, love and compassion into my marriage. I learned that it wasnt all about "us" or our marriage or our plans and more about His. I yearned to be like the image of Christ: kindness, goodness, self-control, patient, love, peace, faithfulness, gentle because before my "awakening" life was kind of all about me - my struggles, my hardships, my life, my accomplishments and how I was going to fit them all into this world

    I was finally baptized at the age of 26 when I was nine months pregnant and my love for the Lord continues to grow each and every day. The newness of this life I was about to introduce to the world gave me a newness of life- she gave me hope, she gave me Him, she changed my soul forever, and she still does 8 years later. Our marriage is solid because it became not about "us" anymore and more about Him- we have ROCKED our marriage for 13 years through the peaks and the valleys- we love Him first in order to love each other in patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control an unconditional love- we love our marriage second in order to be able to love our daughter in fullness-

    We dont have it all together- we are not perfect- we make mistakes- but God's greatest commandment was to LOVE- and that we do well!!

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  100. Gosh you've gotten a lot of comments on this! Well, I'm not sure if I want children of my own yet, but I think that when you have children, you're going to sacrifice something. Once you have kids, pretty much all your thoughts are about them, and how to provide for them, be there for them, etc. So I would assume that it would take a toll on the parents love life. Two friends of mine have a kid, but one is a single parent, and one is married. I haven't asked the married friend how she keeps her relationship alive with a child, but I imagine that you just have to make time for it.
    I've never been in a relationship yet, so it's interesting to read how it's hard to keep the spark and stuff going, even without kids. But I could imagine that it could be, especially with day to day stuff going on.
    Obviously I am no help in this area! Maybe I need to read a single-but-not-in-a realationship yet-blog. hehe. Kidding. Hope you get the advice you need on this Jenni!

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  101. Real quick, because i ssee you have a bijillion other comments to read.. but I have a 2 year old.. and O my goodness, having a baby absolutely test your marriage... all I can say is never stop trying... once you stop then it's going to completely fall apart..

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  103. I come from a family of eight kids. And let me tell you that my parents relationship is the most beautiful relationship I have ever seen. That stuff you said about how the more kids you have the less romantic life you have, or how it ruins the marriage,well in my opinion that is FALSE. Yes, of course my parents had to deal with "the good times and the BAD." But thats what a marriage is all about. A child fulfills the marriage vow. To be married and not ever have any desire to have children is not what marriage is about. When parents have children they learn to lay down their life for their family, it's all about dying to the will. Children are a gift from God. Yes, children can give you grey hair. But bringing a life into this world is never a mistake. My parents love has grown and multiplied 100X times since they've had kids. My siblings and I were never neglected. My parents have loved us unconditional with such a sacrificial love. That I will be forever grateful for.

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    1. I come from a family of six kids and my parents have been married for nearly 40 years now. I have four children of my own now. I absolutely agree with you that a child is a gift and a blessing and only enhances the love and other great qualities that were already there. :)

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  104. I have one daughter and she just turned a year old. I was worried about my marriage too before I had kids. I can honestly say that it has gotten MUCH better since having a baby!! I look at my daughter and it gives me so much more love for my husband because he helped me bring that little girl into the world! As for the sex, I think that has stayed the same if not gotten better! My daughter, Ava, goes to bed at 8pm so we have the whole evening together! Babies sleep A LOT so there is definitely time for it! :) Having a baby was the best decision I ever made!! Hope that helps! :)

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  105. Hi Jenny! Side note first, I love the photos you too of Kristin - stunning! Main point, I am not married buttttt, Anna from IHOD talked about this a few times and few other bloggers (I can send you if you want...there titles are escaping my mind) - just incase you wanted to stalk them for sound advice :) Have a great weekend!

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  106. When we got married, my husband and I both said we'll start trying "in two years". It has not been 4 1/2 years of marriage, I'm 30 and he's 28, and we still aren't sure when we want to start. Like you said, it's hard to get the sexy time in even WITHOUT rugrats, whether you're feeling tired or not pretty or you have to go to the bathroom, haha! So I can't imagine what the heck is going to happen when we do have kids because there will be even more exhaustion, more feeling like you look like crap, and even less time to shower and use the bathroom!

    Plus, I have friends & know of women who have kids and suddenly forget that their husbands exist. It's almost as if their children BECOME their husbands or their primary relationship, and their husbands just get whatever is left {aka nothing or just a few underhanded comments and nags about how they don't help enough}. So I am honestly terrified that I'm going to have a kid and suddenly morph into one of these child-obsessed women who never shuts up about her kid, has only cruel things to say about her husband, and now buys only Hanes panties instead of VS. *shudders*

    However, my husband and I were watching an episode of Giuliana and Bill the other day {please go watch it if you never have, so good} and G was nervous about how their baby would affect their marriage, so she called her very Italian mother for advice. When she asked her mom if she ever lost her "mom-jo" or "sexiness" after getting preggers, she said in her awesomely thick accent "Oh no, I not lose the sexy!" So I think there is hope! We just have to try harder.

    And also, this post is making me realize that I should probably try a lot harder now, because I really don't have a good excuse not to. :/ #badwifeconfession #wupsiforgotthisisnttwitter

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  107. Already have a blog post response to this post ready to publish monday. Not like we have it all figured out, in fact, I almost named my post "I'm a bitchy wife now that I had kids" and I still might ;)

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  108. While I haven't read all the comments on this post, I greatly appreciate it. I think you pretty much summed up most of my fears and reasons why I am still on the fence about kids. Thanks for sharing. Living in the south & being in my late-twenties, I often feel like an outcast amongst many friends who jump into having babies 1-3 years after being married. We're almost at 3 years and I don't want to even approach baby talk again until we've been at least another 3. Thank you so much for making me feel like my feelings are legitimate.

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  109. Great post Jenni - and such valid and genuine points. Before we decided to try get pregnant, we had the same worries and fears for each other and our marriage. But we spoke about it at great lengths and we were always open and honest with each other. We had a great marriage and we couldn't imagine anything going wrong but you also can't be narrow minded or naive about these things. Things do change, that is the reality.

    In our first 6 weeks after SJ's birth - we were closer than ever, This little human was 50% him and 50%, we shared a little part of us together and we had made this gorgeous miracle, together. Our little SJ was also an easy baby and my husband was a super keen dad so he helped with everything and we worked so well together as a time. But at 8 weeks, all the wheels fell off. The overwhelming emotions and draining exhaustion caught up with us both and we realized we were working so well together as parents but not as a married couple - that had been forgotten.

    The amazing thing though, is that we were able to identify that this had happened and we managed to sit down and talk through it - the way we felt, how the other person made us feel, how our little baby had changed our loves for the better (and worse) and we made another vow, to get through this, to work hard at it and to make a great effort. And we did it!

    I firmly believe that it is not the obstacles you face as a couple, it is the decision to stand by each other and work through it all together. Since then, we have hit a few more bumps in the road (and are currently riding over one now too) but we work through it all and we get through it, over on to the other side... TOGETHER!!

    Children are a huge decision, a life long, never going away type of decision. But the love, joy and happiness that they bring into your lives far outweighs any problems. I honestly believe that a strong and committed couple can get through anything - especially the miracle of a child that they share.
    x

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  110. I don't know if anyone already mention this because there are 124 comments, and, well, I just don't want to read that many comments, but I'll tell you what my husband and I decided upon having our first -- and only -- child:

    We decided that our marriage comes first, and while we love our son and want him to grow up to be a good person, we know that that will not happen if we do not have a solid relationship. He will not learn how to love the partner he finds to spend the rest of his life with if we do not show him. We know that he will not know how to respect people unless we show him. We know that he will not know how to care about and be kind to people unless we show him.

    I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs about what our relationship is teaching our son, but I think you get the picture. My husband and I try to go out for dates at least once a month, and we go off and do other things with each other as well -- we actually have a couples massage booked for this week. We also do things without each other, and make time for ourselves as individuals -- this is also an important lesson for our son.

    Each relationship is different, and each child is different. Some people were not meant to have children, and others were meant to have millions of children, but I believe it is important to not make your child(ren) the centre of your universe. That is when things start getting a little off balance.

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  112. It's the reason why Sean and I have been married for 3 years and still no babies. I love our lives now and don't want this to change. We want children but I'm holding out as long as I can.

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  113. What a fascinating post. I am at that age also, although have not met the one yet, but have always thought I wanted heaps of kids. But, the amazing comments on this post have made me see that it is more of a commitment then I anticipated, and I would never want my partner to feel neglected. Amazing food for thought. Thanks for the post. I will be reading your blog from now on XX

    Sweet Apple Lifestyle

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  114. How did I miss this post?! I live under a rock, apparently. D and I have conversations about kids at least once a week. Before moving to Germany, we were on board the baby making train and about to leave the station...then D got his orders to Germany and I immediately turned my ovaries off (because you can do that, you know) and am keeping them "off" until we're back in America. Although, if you asked me right this very second if I wanted kids, even after all the wanting them a year ago, my answer would be all jumbled and confused. Yes, one day I want them. Today, no...next year, no...when we're back in the states in 2014, I don't know anymore!! D and I have been married 5 years (6 in July) and together for almost 12. I've had all the time I could ever possibly want with just him and our little two person team (plus a weenie dog)...but lately I've been feeling more selfish than ever. This whole traveling at a drop of the hat, going out to dinner and staying out on the town till 1am, and planning our finances for vacations instead of little ones has been so AMAZING that there are some days I never want it to end. Like, I'm sad about leaving Germany and having to start a "real" life again when we get back to America. I'm sad that the next awesome thing we might do might not be traveling to Istanbul and having dinner in a palace...it'll be wiping snotty noses and watching Dora the Explorer until my eyes and ears bleed.

    After watching several friends out here with kids sit at home every weekend and NOT see any of Europe because of Sally's ear infection or Tommy's soccer game, it scares the crap out of me what could become of D and I when kids do enter the picture (because who am I kidding, they will) and when living in Europe is out of the picture. I'm well aware that kids totally "give you a love you've never experienced" and "fulfill your life in ways you can't imagine until you've had them"...but let's be honest, would you ever say having a child, YOUR CHILD, was a mistake? That you wished you never had them? No, you'd say "I can't imagine my life without them." I get that. I believe that. But all the stuff I'd be giving up just to be able to say that? Ehhh...that grass isn't quite green enough yet.

    D keeps saying (he's the most pro-baby out of us both...it's adorable and kind of makes me wanna jump his bones, which is completely counterproductive, I know) "we've built a strong foundation, traveled the world, and learned about ourselves and our marriage, but I'm ready to teach our little ones how to do the same...how to love like us, live like us, and still be outta this world happy." I mean, die, right? How could I not want that man to put a baby in my belly? Even with how amazing that statement is, the selfishness is still there and I'm not ready to make it go away. I'm not ready for a baby to replace my passport...yet. I guess from the outside looking in, and after all the "us" time we've been blessed with, it'll be easier for us to make a conscious effort to keep our marriage spicy, still travel the world, and have a million date nights even with wee ones crawling around. Until then, I'll just keep saying "someday" to my mom and mother-in-law (although that answer is barely pacifying them now)!

    Now, write this same post the middle of 2014 and I bet you $1,000 my answer will be different. But that's the evolution of life! Close one chapter, and open another. All I know is that I want to be as ready as humanly possible to open it.

    Great post, Jenni. Sorry for the novel of a comment. You rock my blogging socks off. <3

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  115. Way to get us all thinking Jenni... might have to post about this same topic now that you have my wheels turning.

    I think it all comes down to, whether married or not, babed up or not, to what you make time for. that, and a whole lot of grace.

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  116. My husband and I have been together since we were 17 (we're 25 now), he has seen me through several important stages in my life including the pregnancies and very unsexy c-sections of both of our daughters. He somehow manages to find me sexier each time I "pop out" a kid! We're done with having kids, now we're just watching them grow, but as far as sexy-time goes it has only become better for us.

    Also - when you do have kids, try and put them to bed every night at the same time as consecutively as you can, routine helps them go to sleep faster and stay there longer! Our daughter has slept from 8 pm to (at least) 8 am since she was 2 months old - plenty of time for sex, right?

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  117. i am currently having the best sex of my life. and i feel more confident with my body than i ever have in my life. i realize this isn't the case for everyone. yes marriage is harder. no you don't have as much time or energy to work on it.
    BUT HAVE YOU SEEN MY BABY? :)

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  118. my boyfriend and I got pregnant a month into our relationship. SO... needless to say we might not be an archetype for parenting. However, I do know about having a less than rocking sex life with a busy busy 10 month old who hates to sleep.

    Remember that 'Sex and the City' episode (or maybe it was the movie) where they discuss how often they're getting laid? Miranda is telling the girls that it's been over 6 months (eww, please god, NO!). Charlotte says she and harry have sex at least once a week (too regulated). Samantha makes some comment about it being all the time (who really wants to ALL the time?) and Carrie says something like "I won't disclose how often, but when we do, It's big".
    This is what comforts me. It doesn't really matter how often you have sex as long as when you do, you make it count.
    (ok, actually, I say that... but John and I have had plenty of 'The baby's about to wake up... HURRY!' kind of encounters as well).

    This is what I believe keeps the relationship hot:
    1. KISSING! (this is the most important thing, because sometimes even in sex, we forget to REALLY kiss. And on days when there is no time or energy for sex, a sexy kiss on the back of the neck reminds your partner you find them sexy).
    2. Touch each other! (hold hands while driving, rest your head on your partners shoulder while watching a movie...)
    3. Send your partner out of the house to hang and drink with y'alls friends. (I hear a lot about the importance of 'date nights' ... well, those can get really effin expensive, so in my household we hold a strict 'get-your-partner-out-of-the-house' rule. He can tell when I need it, and I with him. And honestly, I've found that after a night of bike riding and drinking, you always come home a little more frisky than when you left).
    4. Flirtation and teasing. Just do it. Joke about how you haven't had sex in a week and a half. It will release the tension around it, relax you and get you more in ... the mood.


    I love this subject, so thanks for asking girl!
    I also blog a lot about issues that come with motherhood over at www.strawberrymohawk.com

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  119. My mom always told me the most important people in the family were her and my stepdad- in the sense that their relationship would set the tone for our home life. They constantly make time to be together, so if it meant I couldn't get a ride to the mall on a Sunday because they wanted to spend the afternoon antiquing together- so be it. There is probably a happy medium where you can put yourself and your relationship first without making your kids totally miserable all the time. That said, sometimes you/spouse really are just tired. And that has to be okay. I also agree with the advice of andrea above, that simple touching and laughter can make a big difference.

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  120. I know a LOT of people with children AND great marriages, and I often think "How do they do it?" I grew up in a broken home and so I haven't learned yet what a good marriage with children is like up close and personal. But the people I know with these wonderful marriages say it's mostly about making time for each other. They tell me that you have to learn to leave the kids with a sitter or the grandfolks and spend time with each other. For example, my college soccer coach just became a mommy of 5, FIVE children, and she and her husband still go on dates once a week. I think you have to learn that the kids WILL be okay if you leave them with someone else for an evening or a weekend. And a loving and fulfilling marriage often makes happy kids. So it's a win-win for all involved if couples stay connected after kiddos come into the picture. That's just what I think...=)

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  121. For me, I haven't really known what it was like to NOT have kids and be married. When I met my husband, he was a single father. So from the very start we had to balance US as a realtionship and US a family. We try to have date nights every other weekend, even if it is just the two of us with a movie at home. I know with a baby now on the way, things are going to be a little different, but I am hoping we can still make US a priority. I already am holding my mom to babysitting at least one night a month so he and I can have some alone time. Plus...when the kids are taking a nap or tucked into bed...I promise you can have sexy time. And sometimes it makes you have even more fun because you have to be a little more discreet and secretive. It's fun...TRUST ME.

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  122. Wow. I love some of these responses. It's definitely a topic that everyone has an opinion on. I have the utmost respect for people who choose not to have kids- it's a huge decision and I think that couples who don't want children 110% shouldn't have them. Mainly because I feel that you couldn't possibly be the best parents you can if your heart isn't all the way in it. and that's just not cool. My husband and I have a son and our marriage has been stronger with him in our lives. My love for him doubled (which i never thought would be possible- i already loved him so much) when our son was born, and bonded us in a way that nothing else ever could. It didn't harm our sex life, and it didn't steal away all of our passion. It actually made me more attracted to him (which i also never thought possible) to watch him be a daddy.

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  123. The number one mistake that I have heard/read that couples make when they have children, is that they believe the children should always come first. This is not so. The children will grow up and leave you, but you will always have your partner. You have to make time for each other. Which means calling a babysitter and planning date nights. Making time for each other.

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  124. I'll preface this by saying I have ZERO experience in this area, so my advice is garnered from other things. While having children is one of the most frequent reasons couples can become detached from each other, I don't think it is the only one. I think the only thing you can do about it is to make the best decision for yourselves about when to have children and how you are going to make it work, then follow through on that, while making adjustments, as time goes on. I think being conscious of it is probably the most important thing.

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  125. This is the first post I've read on your blog. I've been married for 7 years have three kids that are 2.5 years apart and are all singletons(no twins). Maybe I just have an anomalous marriage but having kids and suffering w/ PPD after having my youngest has never put any strain on our marriage. It has always been strong. I will echo what others have said and tell you that you have to make your marriage the priority. While you should love and nurture your children, your spouse should be number one in your life. If that means having sexy time while the baby sleeps instead of sleeping then do it. Continual communication is key to maintaining a strong relationship. Being on the same page in terms of discipline, schooling, after school activities, dating, religion and every thing else that a parent must decide for their children also helps to take some of the stress off your marriage. Talk about these things now, and get on the same page before you have children and your relationship should be even stronger once kids are added to the picture. Another key piece of advice is to not stress and worry too much about it. Prepare for situations, tackle problems as they arise and let things you can't control go. It's tough to do but it will do wonders for your marriage and other relationships.

    Most importantly, never, ever complain about your spouse, or habits your spouse has to anyone who is outside your marriage. Nothing puts more strain on a marriage than gossiping about your spouse to your friends, and especially your parents and family. It creates unneeded tension for those you complain too, causes them to unnecessarily dislike your spouse and opens the doors for affairs. If you have an issue w/ your spouse, discuss it w/ him and no one else.

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  126. I'm coming to this post late, but wanted to comment anyway! We have been married for almost 4 years and have a 19 month old boy. I would say we have better communication now than we did before having a child (because it's extremely necessary now!), and before having a child I thought we got an A+ in the communication department--what did I know? I would say our marriage is as good, if not better than pre-baby, but it takes more work to keep it at that level. For instance, it was so easy to spend time together, go out, have long uninterrupted talks without falling asleep mid sentence before ; ) Now, we have to "work" at those things that came so easily before. You have to actually try to make time for just each other, when before that was the only thing I had to worry about.

    But with hard work, and less "sexy time" (for the first year, anyway) comes the most amazing joy! Sometimes we just stare in awe of how cute our son is (we think so, anyway), of how much he looks like us, how much he loves other people and babies, and wonder what the heck we did with ourselves before he was born.

    All that said, this post is the exact reason we do not plan on having a second. We feel that we can "handle" having one child, but right now we feel like things would get too stressful/crazy/we'd never have alone time with a second, and we're not thinking the big family thing is for us. You have to know your limits! : )

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  127. I just read this post late from your 2012 highlights links. Honestly, my husband and I are dealing with the same issues. I am just about 25, and we've been married less than a year. But, we've been together for about 6 total years. I totally understand your issues about less sexy time, traveling, etc. We've decided to wait awhile, even though he's 28. I am trying to get into grad school, and he's only been out of grad school for 2 years. IT IS OVERWHELMING. We want to have time for us because we know how things will change dramatically.

    But, at the same time we feel that we are older than most people we know, who already have kids. Most we know are at least a few years younger than us and have at least 1-2 kids. That makes us feel old. t's like a double-edged sword for us. Should we have kids sooner, and forgo school/fun/travel/alone time? Or should we wait another 4-5 years and wonder about possible fertility issues? However, the debate on the issue makes us fully understand that now is definitely not the right time. We know we're mature, and could handle it. But, we honestly don't want the responsibility and to be tied down.

    Good luck with this issue. You'll know when the time is right, or at least God will. :)

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  128. I know this is an old post but I really enjoyed reading it! I have always wanted kids and after six years of dating long distance with my man we finally were married [almost] a year ago. I thought I would want them right away - and believe me the "baby fever" hit hard about 3 months in, but my man is a "steady eddy" and knows that med-school debt and babies don't mix very well.

    In terms of marriage vs. babies and how they affect a marriage I have witnessed so many friends who have done it right. When you marry someone you make a promise to be with them. When you have kids, you lead/instruct/love/enjoy them, but once they are 18 [or whatever age] they move out and move on and you are back to being the two of you. I remember my friend telling me that while she was in a fight with her dad in her teens, she said "Yeah, that's just cause you love mom more than us!" and he responded with "You're right.". Needless to say she was offended, and he probably didn't have the best timing, but that's the way it should be on some level.

    You promise yourself to your spouse and at the end of the day, when all the littles have moved out and moved on your left with your spouse. It just reminds me to invest a lot of time into my husband, even when we have kids. Being intentional about having date nights, or vacations with just the two of us. Being intentional about protecting our marriage and loving each other more than anyone else.

    Have you guys thought more about having babies and about how it affects marriage etc?

    xo

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    Replies
    1. Hi Morgan! Thanks so much for the great comment! Yep, we've thought and talked a lot about it and really want to get started having kids soon. This post and its comments really helped me to understand that the quality of your marriage is about putting each other first, kids or no kids. We're excited to start a family, when the time is right. :)

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  129. I was reading your blog tonight and found this post...Obviously a little late but loved it. Excited for you and your hubby to start your family when that time is right:) I must say my marriage and the baby thing is not your typical story but after all that we have been through with three pregnancies (two being high risk) three years in a row and raising our family it has been challenging yet absolutely amazing. Sometimes our marriage is rockin' and sometimes it is deeply longing for us to be "dating" again but the one thing I have learned is you have to be intentional EVEN if your spouse isn't. Once you stop being intentional it quickly fades away, which did happen to us. BUT we fought for each other because we are in love and mad a vow to each other and know where we have been and where it has taken us when we put "life" before each other. So if it requires us to have a date night in after the kids are asleep so be it. We kiss in front of our kids and are happily married even during the tough times. I chose him and I would do it all over again. Best wishes to you. Hugs, Angie

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  130. My name is Vanessa am here to testify the great work of doctor ZUMBA,ZUMBA is a powerful spell caster who helped me in getting the love of my life back,i and my boyfriend were in a relationship for over 10 years since our high school days we live and grow up together as one we love and care for each other so much,we assist each other in time of problems and financial needs i love him with the most deepest part of my heart i never thought that any thing could happened between both of us,so after schooling we graduated same year we were both working and we earn good money monthly the most surprising part of it was that my boyfriend never thought of we getting marry in mind i thought that is not yet time for that,because we love each other in my believe he can never betrayed me,so few years back i travel to USA to pay my uncle a visit i spent 2 months their so when i return i discovered that my boyfriend is having an affair with some one else this person am talking about happen to be his manager in the company were he works so i believe she most have use her money and her fiances to get him,i feel the world was over for me because they were even planning to get marry very soon i was confuse i don't know what to do because i can't afford to loose him to another woman after 14 years of our relationship so now is time for we to come together as one family bring up our children together now he what to live me and go for another how can i love again? i was about drugging my self to death one day i feat sick my parents took me to the hospital for treatment i spent 3 days in the hospital the doctor said to my parents that am under going a broken heart through the hands of a trusted love one,i latter head that my ex boyfriend and his new lover are about getting married,i cried day and night every day of my life i feel like living this world because i don't have any reason living again on this planet called earth,one day the nurse that was taking care of me when i was in the hospital came to visit me at home i told her all my stories about my broken heart from a trusted lover,she feel petty for me and she advise me,she introduce me to an online spell caster called DOCTOR ZUMBA who also help her when she was having problem in her marriage,i followed DOCTOR ZUMBA online and i obeyed him and i did every thing he ask me to do he is a kind man and he is harmless,DOCTOR ZUMBA cast a spell for me after 7 days my ex boyfriend came back to me and beg me for forgiveness,so 2 months latter we got married as am talking to you all now we are the best couple so far,spell is real and there are still real spell caster,all thanks to DOCTOR ZUMBA,if you need his help you can email him with this email: zumbaspelltemple@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  131. Hello everybody, My name is Nelson Pamela, Am from
    USA, Me and my husband have been trying to have baby for over two years
    now, We were going to a fertility clinic for about 1year and 8months
    before someone told us to contact this great spell caster who is so
    powerful, We contacted him with his email: supersolutionhome@gmail.com
    , for him to help us, then we told him our problem, he told us that i
    will either conceive in May 2013 or June 2013, but after two years of
    trying we were at a point where we were willing to do possible to make
    us get a baby even if is just one. And I’m glad we came to Dr. Ken,
    Because he predictions put us at ease, and I honestly believe him, and
    his gods really helped us as well, I am thankful for all he has done. If
    you are in this kind of problem i will advice you to contact him with
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    . "The ability to have a baby is one of the most
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    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Hello everybody, My name is Nelson Pamela, Am from
    USA, Me and my husband have been trying to have baby for over two years
    now, We were going to a fertility clinic for about 1year and 8months
    before someone told us to contact this great spell caster who is so
    powerful, We contacted him with his email: supersolutionhome@gmail.com
    , for him to help us, then we told him our problem, he told us that i
    will either conceive in May 2013 or June 2013, but after two years of
    trying we were at a point where we were willing to do possible to make
    us get a baby even if is just one. And I’m glad we came to Dr. Ken,
    Because he predictions put us at ease, and I honestly believe him, and
    his gods really helped us as well, I am thankful for all he has done. If
    you are in this kind of problem i will advice you to contact him with
    this email: supersolutionhome@gmail.com or through His web address http://supersolutionhome.webs.com/
    . "The ability to have a baby is one of the most
    amazing gifts ever given to humans. The act of carrying a baby and
    being pregnant is one of the most beautiful experiences to ever have.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  133. My parents have been married for 35 years and have raised six decently well-rounded children. They have their disagreements, even after so long, but it's clear that they still love each other. They're still learning about themselves and each other, things like when my mom says she doesn't know (usually pertaining to something about how she feels about something), she really doesn't know. She's not trying to make my dad read her mind or guess, and as soon as she knows, she tells him. She says that he'll be the second to know. My dad always wants to do things in the optimum way--least time, least distance, least effort--not out of laziness, but out of efficiency. He has worked in the computer industry since the 80s, making companies more efficient, which has translated to their relationship, but as they learn these things, they share them with each other.

    I find it sweet when I see my parents being romantic with each other. They show their affection for one another often and are supportive of the challenges the other faces. During birthdays or holidays, when they give gifts, the gifts are always something that they clearly thought about and saw as something that the other would enjoy.

    They've had their challenges (raising six kids for one), and they gone to therapy and they've read many books on growing and maintaining healthy relationships. They rarely make bigger decisions without the input and thoughts of the other, and they constantly compromise. And even then, there are still certain personality quirks and habits that drive the other slightly batty, but they chose each other and believe marriage is a lifetime commitment to one another, and so they have accepted each other, quirks and all, and are always trying to see the other person's point of view.

    I am lucky to have such a great example of marriage around me. For years, I thought my parents never fought because I never heard them fight. Even now, I wouldn't necessarily say that they fight--they disagree, they think through the issue, they discuss it, and they compromise as necessary. They are public in their affection and love for one another, and they show their appreciation for the work the other does. I envy their relationship, although I am not in any relationship currently, and hope to have that relationship with the man that becomes my husband. And I wish the same for you.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for leaving your two cents! I read and appreciate every comment and respond when I can. Thanks for reading. :)

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