Well, it’s here. Year seven of marriage. The year of “the itch.” I’m sure you have heard of this dreadful phrase. You know, the year when happiness starts to decline in the marriage. Or maybe, it’s the year when there is actually time to even think about marriage and what state it is in.
And I get it! I mean we spent less than a year just being us before I was over the top ready for a baby and we found out we were pregnant. Only 17 months married and we welcomed our first baby girl.
Many nights were spent apart — me in the living room during midnight feedings soaking in the snuggles and yet silently angry at the fact that he didn’t even budge when she started crying. From the emotional stress of breast feeding/pumping to the painful switch to formula, our marriage was the last thing on my mind.
When we finally decided it was time to put our daughter in her own room, I thought we would get our life back. But all I got was anxiety and fear about my child not near me. She was my No. 1 priority then — not him — regardless of how many times I heard to keep your marriage the top priority. That is just the way it is when you have an infant who depends on you day in and day out.
Once we finally slid past her first birthday, all I could talk about was another baby. Funny, right? Since that joyous first year didn’t seem to do much for our marriage. However, I kind of needed him for the whole second baby thing to happen, And as a woman who recently grew a baby inside of her, the last thing I felt was attractive — no matter what he would tell me.
Regardless, shortly after our oldest turned 2, we welcomed our second baby girl to the family. And so began another round of sleepless nights (many more), and many months of another child in our room.
Our days were filled with meeting our children’s needs, getting them to and from the sitter, potty training, teething, transitioning to milk, trying to get the toddler to eat something other than candy, and endless bedtimes — all while both working full time. By the time we sat down for the night as adults, we were both too exhausted to even attempt to build our marriage.
Sure, we scheduled date nights and even a few weekend getaways. Those were freeing and much needed but came with a side of guilt and repetitive talk about our amazing babes. Even “our” time together had become saturated with questioning and applauding our daily dealings with our children. They are — and have been since we conceived them — a constant thought on the forefront of our minds.
And here we are, year seven.
The baby can now put on her own shoes (you just have to tell her about 10 times), the oldest can brush her own teeth and pour her own mouth wash. They can now get themselves dressed (with encouragement) and even put themselves to sleep (after mommy lays with them for just a bit).
We made it out of the trenches of newborns and toddlers, and have suddenly found ourselves with some time. Time for us. There’s no formula to measure out or bottles to wash, no diapers to change or sleepers to button. We survived all of that.
And in doing so, without even realizing it, I fell even more in love with the man that I can hand our babies over to when I just need a break. The man who gets down on the floor and plays with our girls, who reads that same bedtime story over and over, who remembers to change our daughter’s bow to match her soccer jersey, who packs a healthy lunch every night for our girl, and who jumps up so I can finish my dinner when “I’m done” comes from the bathroom.
You see, we may not have been focusing on our marriage in particular for the last seven years, but that doesn’t mean that our love faltered. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Our parenting experience opened up a whole new view of love. And the way I feel about him now sends many more shivers up my spine than when we first got married.
While I know the seasons of marriage and parenting will always bring new challenges to overcome, you can bet that there will be love in all of the lessons.
And one thing is for sure, there’s no other itch that I would rather scratch than that of the man whom I chose to spend forever with seven years ago.
Happy Anniversary, Pauly Wayne. I love you.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.