Do you remember the first time you saw your spouse?
I do. I was 19 years old and he stopped me in my tracks. I had a major crush, but since he didn’t pay me much attention, I never thought it would go any further than that. With the benefit of hindsight, I now know that he too had a crush on me but because I was in a committed relationship, he thought I was off-limits. Well, like I said, I was 19 and that relationship was not going to result in marriage.
I just knew I had to know this person. Well we did get to know each other, and I can without a doubt say that I knew within the first few months that I was going to marry him. He swept me off my feet and it took years for them to find the ground again. But alas, they did.
After college graduation, grad school, more graduations, several moves and relocations, and two children, my feet could not be more firmly planted on the ground. It’s true. With all these “real world” stressors, i.e. sharing finances, late night breast feedings, dirty diapers, and two little people who need me all day every day to name a few, it is easy to forget to take time to celebrate what got us here in the first place: us. The couple who stayed up until the sun came up when we started dating because we would rather learn more about each other than sleep. The couple who wrote love letters to each other. The couple who traveled for a month in Europe on a shoestring budget but managed to have the time of our lives. We were young, naïve and in love: a perfect combination.
Nourishing the relationship now
It used to take very little effort to make him feel special or appreciated as compared to what it now seems to take. Going out for a date requires lots of planning and coordination. Spontenaety is pretty much ruled out when you have an 11 month old and 2.5 year old, the youngest of which is breastfeeding. But it is still important to make that effort for your spouse after having kids. Maybe even more so. Honestly, it appears that my children come first. At least that is the message I know I send to my husband. That is not fair, and I am doing a disservice to my marriage and my children. I know this. That said, it is a struggle. After all, my children are much more vocal in their needs. But they are also growing and becoming increasingly independent. One day, they will leave the nest as they should, leaving myself and my husband in their wake. If we do not nourish that relationship now, what will be left of it then? That leads me to the purpose behind this post. To celebrate my husband, to shout from the proverbial mountain tops how amazing and appreciated he is. I encourage you to do the same for the love of your life.
Focusing on the good qualities
As I mentioned earlier, my children are much better at making their needs known. When my 2.5 year old is standing on the couch, screaming at the top of his lungs “Mommy, I made a poo poo,” there can be little room for doubt as to what he needs. On the other hand, my husband is not a complainer. He is my opposite; where I am high-strung, controlling and Type-A, he is laid-back and easy going. Thank goodness for that balance. He is brilliant, and I savor our conversations. He is a talented musician and makes me laugh at least once a day. He works relentlessly to provide for his family but knows the importance of a work/life balance. He values my non-financial contribution to our family. Probably his most endearing quality is that he is a hands-on dad. He changes almost as many diapers as I do. He is generous with his affections towards our sons. He reads to our boys before bed. As I am typing this the boys (husband included) are in the “big tub” splashing around and all I can hear are squeals and giggles. I could go on and on but the bottom line is that although he works outside of the home, he works within our home as well and helps me raise our children.
He is all these things and more.
He loves me and our boys to the moon and back, and he does so without complaint and without asking for much in return. What I need to remember is that even though he may not ask, he needs to be loved in return. Every now and then, he needs that girl that looked up at him with stars in her eyes while he jammed on the guitar in his college rock band; the girl that would lean over and give him a kiss for no reason at all; the girl that reminded him frequently how lucky she is that he is hers.
It is easy to lose sight of making you and your spouse a priority.
Children have a way of doing that. I must admit that I am pretty good at taking time for myself but often at the expense of quality time with my husband. After a day with the kids, I pretty much just want to be left alone, with a glass (read: bottle) of wine, and a good book or trash t.v. I want to show my children what healthy love is, and my hope is that they find a person to share their lives with. I know I cannot simply wish this upon my children. I have to lead by example. I know we have a good foundation, as he is my best friend, but it will take more than that. I am going to try to be more affectionate, kinder in my words, and most importantly, making alone time for me and my husband. Whether that is turning off the t.v. so we can talk at night, grabbing lunch while the kids are at daycare and he is off, or just stopping what I am doing to give him a kiss when he walks in the door. I made many vows to this man that I love almost 5 years ago, and I intend to keep them. Showing him that he is the love of my life on a regular basis seems a pretty good place to start.