Can I Medicate my Marriage?

Posted on | May 4, 2010 | 27 Comments

My marriage is in trouble.

There. I said it. And it hurt to say. It hurts worse to know that it’s true. In fact, going to North Carolina while Husband went to Florida gave rise to the first time in a long time that I remembered all the wonderful things that made me fall in love with him and made me miss him terribly. I hope he felt the same.

But that doesn’t mean that things are magically better.

It’s hard to even type that things are tough. I am, by nature, pretty private when it comes to personal things. Not that you’d know it by the whole blogging thing, but I really am. I tend to put on a show like everything is perfect and wonderful until I collapse with the weight of all the pretense.

But this time? I’m trying to change that. I’m trying to step outside myself and realize that I can’t pretend this away. I can’t pretend that things are going to get better without paying some serious attention to the details of my marriage. First and foremost, Husband and I need to start communicating. We sat down tonight while J was falling asleep, and really talked for the first time in a long time. Usually conversations these days lead to either pouting (me) or semi-anger (him) but we managed to actually TALK for a change.

Let me interject for a moment and say that ANYTIME I talk about my marriage on this blog, I clear it with Husband first. I don’t want anyone to think I’m using this as a way to circumvent talking to him… I just want to be honest with you all because so many things get swept under the proverbial rug. I’ve said it before and I can’t say it enough… marriage is tough. It is WORK to keep it going. And introducing a baby into the mix is like throwing a boulder to someone who is drowning. It’s not going to save anything and it might make you sink faster.
The thing is? I love my husband. 100% fall down on my knees and thank God for him, love him. He is the only person probably in the world who could handle my brand of crazy. But loving him completely? That’s not always enough. We’re not doing anything to show each other that love right now and that has to change. Having J turned me from a wife into a mother…and they can’t be mutually exclusive. I have to figure out a way to be both… and I think I may need a lot of help with that.

It’s hard to wear so many different hats. It’s hard to get up at 6 and be “mommy” for a few hours, then slap on a suit and be “lawyer” at work until I get home. Then it’s back to “mommy” until bed time, and … who am I kidding… on into the night. I don’t know where I put my “wife” hat or when I’ll find time to put it on. Why do all these people have to be so … different? Why am I a different mother than lawyer? I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know why there isn’t a way to meld them into one complete person… maybe there is. Maybe I’m just too new at this to get it sorted out.  And being a wife? I barely had that figured out before we had J. We were only married for a year when I got pregnant. Maybe that was just too soon for us. I just don’t know anymore.

But the bottom line? I miss my husband. And I think he misses me, too.

I’m not trying to say that we’re headed for divorce, because dammit, I WILL make this work. Divorce is not an option. But I’m scared. I don’t know how to fix what’s broken, I just know that it’s broken and needs to be fixed. Maybe there’s a “handy woman” hat somewhere in my arsenal?

Marriage after a baby is hard. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. This would be a lot easier if they made a happy pill for marriages.

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  • KLZ

    This is so true. I worry about our marriage all the time now…not sleeping is not a helpful thing. We're lucky we've got babysitters nearby and can get out but even then…you're not in the same position to "go out" as you used to be.

    Thanks for putting it out there. It IS hard. Why is my husband so angry all the time now? (Please don't say it's because he feels pressured to take care of us all.)

    I'm rooting for you and I know you can make it work.

  • bbcd mama

    I'm sorry to hear your news, but in case it helps you and your husband feel any better, Craig had read a few times after our oldest was born, a statistic that contentment and happiness in a marriage drops something like 70% during the first 3 years after a baby is born.

    That will probably make any of your childless readers rethink about having kids (just teasing), but it's so true! I know soooo many couples who went through what you are going through (including myself), so perhaps knowing it is normal will help you to not feel so overwhelmed.

    Hopefully you have now set the stage for future conversations and you guys can work through this positively. Good luck!

  • Kim

    Same here. Even as a SAHM, I have the same problems, as I can't turn the mom off. We got the book, "The 5 Love Languages" and it ROCKS. Have passed it on, too, and seen it really work. Babies test us and bring us closer together. Hang in there.

  • Anne

    I agree. It is really tough to find a time to be a wife when you are so busy trying to be everything else that life requires. For us it is different in that I had a child before we even met…so I was mommy first. We do our best to go out alone or just watch a quick movie together…but we still get frustrated that life has made "our" life tough. Keep working! I know those of us who push through this time of life will make it :)

  • Alysha

    i agree that my WIfe hat has quite a bit of dust on it.
    Putting this out there is hard. Accepting the fact that you are sruggling is hard.
    Making TIME for your marriage is the first step. Get a babysitter, go to dinner, just have sex. Anything with just the two of your and no baby crying in the background.
    If you can, take a whole weekend away from the babe. Letting your hubs know that you WANT to work on it will be a huge step.
    Good luck. this is hard for all of us and we are ALL rooting for you! :) And i am sooo glad to hear you or anyone for that matter say that divorce is not an option. :) It is just such an easy way out sometimes.

  • Alena

    Hugs x 100000000000000000000

    marriage is HARD. I agree with all of it…it's hard to find a new balance. especially when you look at your baby who can't do much for themselves…and you look at your husband who can do everything for themselves and you put your husband/marriage on the back burner.

  • Raising Madison

    I think its extremely brave of you to put this out there. I'm hoping like all get out that you guys figure out a way to work this out. You at least know there is something to work out, that is a huge step!

  • Tiffany

    I totally agree. Marriage is hard without a kid so once the baby comes along, it only adds to the stress. Perhaps its time to talk to someone together? A therapist? Or, a church counselor? I don't know if its an option – but scheduling a mandatory date-night once or twice a month or every other week isn't a bad thing either….just some thoughts. Prayers for you guys…

  • ~*Jess*~

    It is SO incredibly hard to get a balance of wife and mom. It's like everything else falls to the wayside when you become a mom and you expect everyone around you to accommodate and follow suit. Keep fighting, it will make the difference. I've learned that communication is vital.

  • Mitzi G.!!

    I hear you 100%; somehow we are supposed to balance it all because we are all superwomen but in reality it is all HARD WORK!! This is a great post & thank you for putting yourself out there!

    Hang in there & maybe the best thing for you guys is to talk to someone together; my hubby & I did a while back & it helped so much……sadly we have actually been talking about going back to her!

  • My Mercurial Nature

    My first marriage ended when my son was 1.5yrs. I'm on marriage number two and WILL NOT give up on it, despite challenges (and our daughter is currently 2.5yrs). I think it's really hard to balance parenthood and marriage, especially with a very young child that requires constant attention. I don't have any answers, but I wanted to tell you (like everyone else) that you're not alone and we're here, like you, WORKING every.single.day to make this marriage work & last & hopefully find happiness.

  • Krissy @ Artsy Mom

    Marriage and relationships are both a mutual effort, you're right. It takes work from both parties to keep it going and keep it strong. I was engaged to my oldest daughter's father when I was 19 and gave everything I had to this guy. Unfortunately, he did nothing in return but cheat on me and lie to me… I learned the hard way, by getting hurt, that it can't just be one sided. Both have to give their effort to make it succeed. I hope that you can get everything back on track. :)

    http://theartsymom.tk

  • Blair@HeirtoBlair

    a) you can do it.

    b) you have THE BOOK.

    c) The analogy about throwing a boulder at a drowning person is SO TRUE.

    d) The best marriage advice someone gave me – that every morning, I wake up & make the decision to love him no matter what. Because the first day I don't love him BY CHOICE, not just by feeling, is the day my marriage is over. You re-commit every single day.

  • Christine / SugarPlumsMomma

    I think Blair got it exactly right – every day you recommit to your marriage. For me the commitment is the easy part – the communication is the hard part – but with persistence on both our parts it happens. Maybe try a marriage counselor – definitely try date nights – they really help to allow you to connect with each other and not baby.

  • disastersindomesticity

    Marriage after baby is hard! It adds so many layers of complexity involving different feelings and expectations.

    I just try to take it day by day, hour by hour.

  • Cara Mamma

    What a heartfelt post! And yes, I have been feeling this way too–(though my marriage is brand new and my child is 5!) Having been in a marriage that could not be fixed- I think you hit the nail on the head- finding time to wear your wife hat is key (but so hard to do!).
    Just the fact that you two are talking, and that you have opened up the dialogue is huge!
    Rooting for you!

  • Mama Pea

    I agree with Blair's comment about choices. My mom's advice to me (and she's been married 31 yrs): love is not always all about feelings; more often, it's choices. And actions. Sometimes life is just a bitch and that's when you have to choose to love, and act in a loving way…and hopefully the feelings will eventually follow.

  • Sara

    I'm sure he misses you too. And now that you've let him know you miss him, the fixing can begin. T&P for you, m'dear!

  • Anonymous

    I know how you feel. My husband and I went through a 5 month period where he was ready to divorce me. At the time our twins were only 9 months old. We were going through counseling, but he really wasn't participating. I finally found out he was having an emotional affair outside of our marriage. I gave him the book "The 5 Love Languages" to read and he came around. Now we are actually working at counseling!

    I have the same problem of balancing the different hats I am required to wear.

    Keep at it and it'll work out.

  • Bethany

    I completely understand. I am not married, but I am in a very committed relationship with my DD's father. I love him completely, but having a baby makes having a relationship 100x harder. I too am having trouble balancing being a mother and, for non-complication in wording sakes, a wife. How do we be completely devoted to our children and our men? Its so difficult.

    I hope it all works out for you! I really do. Idk if it is an option, but maybe taking a weekend trip together to reconnect, just the two of you, would help. I know that when Robert and I take a night out together, I am just reminded of our love and it brings us closer. Maybe you need that or maybe to cut down on working. You will find something to work it out. I promise!

  • Amber Koter-Puline

    Thank you for articulating what has been just below the surface for me for months! How do women manage to be mom and wife and have a career, friends, life, etc.? We are on the same page on this one…the hats, the will to not let our marriages collapse, the need for partnership and adult time. How can we prioritize our marriages when our kids are the constant proverbial squeaky wheels that demand and therefore get our attention?

  • D

    Thank you for sharing and you are definitely not alone in this one. You are right, being a mommy in the morning, a worker during the day, and a mommy again in the evening makes it hard to be a wife in there as well. I think it's something we all struggle with. Everything is different now and there is not going back to the way things were before. You guys can work through this and we are here to support you along the way!

  • Denise

    I ADORE you for posting this amazing piece. Bravo to you–and your husband–for your willingness to bust this open and look at it. Really look at it. Your story will undoubtedly help so many others–and most importantly, the two of you.

    In my humble opinion, marriage after baby is the hardest time. Was for me. Sending a big virtual hug to you.

  • JillyB

    My hat is off to all married moms. Maybe that sounds crazy coming from a single mom, but its how I feel. People tell me all the time how amazing I am for raising a child on my own from day one and for going back to school in the middle of all of it, but from where I sit when you add in the complexities of a marriage it gets even harder. It's another "hat." The more hats the more stress!

    Hang in there Law Momma! You are so strong and you and Husband talked! Awesome step one. For what it's worth, I think Heir to Blair was so right on. Re-committing everyday is key. Friends ask me all the time if I ever want to get married..my answer is a resounding no. At least not until Big Time is off at college, or married or something. Then maybe I'll have room on my head for another hat!

    Cheers, prayers and happiness for you, Husband and J!

  • Melodramommy

    Hey Law Mama! Hang in there. What you are describing is completely normal and common. Having a baby is a huge transition and it definitely affects your marriage. It is a huge transition for Mommy dealing with all the responsibilities not to mention when you're dealing with PPD.

    The year I gave birth to my second child was the year my husband and I argued more than our five years combined! This year, things couldn't be going better.

    Some strategies that have reeaaaaaally helped us:
    1) LOVE that you say divorce is not an option. WE feel this way too.
    2.) Communicate frequently on what your needs are. Cause your needs change with every life change and transition. So think about what you need from each other, tell each other, and establish a compromise. This has really helped us.
    3.) date nights! IF any way you can have a regular time out together without baby. It does wonders! Just one date together can restore and remind you of why you love each other. It's amazing how uninterrupted time does wonders.

    Just wanted you to know that you're not alone. And, wanted to validate that it's a big adjustment having a baby and working and it does affect marriage. But there's another side to it.

    Oh and thanks for commenting on my urgent-careless post. It meant wonders having a law mama by my side!

  • Melodramommy

    sorry, I meant to write law momma! That's what I get for posting at 5 in the morning!

  • Not There Yet

    What a brave post. You can rest on the confidence that you and he have made it this far and are wanting to talk about moving forward.
    You can only move one step at a time.

  • Creative Commons License
    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.



  • I'm a divorced, single mom to a pre-schooler, a full-time attorney, and a semi-reluctant vegetarian. I work hard and when given the chance, I play hard... but I'm almost never given the chance.

    It's possible that I never outgrew 7th grade mentality, as I still laugh when anyone says anything that can be remotely construed as sexual. Let's face it, if you're not down with "That's what s/he said" at the end of almost any sentence, we're probably not going to get along all that well.

    I drink more than I should, I run more than I should, and I laugh as much as I can. So I'm pretty much winning at life.

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