One minute everything is normal, and the next it just feels like the world shifted without telling you.
After 2.5 years of being parents, we finally looked at each other and wondered where we were. I mean, nothing bad was really happening. It just started feeling a little empty compared to the usual. We still kiss every day, say “I love you” every day, and take care of Dominic equally every day, so where did this funky feeling come from?
We talked it through. We both agreed that although we both feel like marriage is incredibly important to maintain, we couldn’t quite figure out where it fell on the spectrum of personal needs to parenting needs. Where on this list from top to bottom was our marriage? We didn’t make it priority. It just sat there in the back of our minds that “our marriage is important” almost like “eating is important.” You tend to it when the pangs settle in, but otherwise you don’t think about it because everything seems to be okay.
Making things a priority for me means putting a rank to it. Prioritizing. When you start prioritizing, you start making sure to hit goals to maintain that level of priority.
Marriage is #1. It always was, but I think we’ve been such a strong couple for so many years that we got busy and figured it would take care of itself. A well oiled machine runs forever, right (ha)? Funny thing is, we looked at each other on our wedding day and said those words – “You are my #1 priority.” The busyness of life, of parenting, of careers, of everything just eventually caused our marriage to fall by the wayside without us even realizing it, and we stopped putting in the effort.
It happens. If it happens to you, don’t worry. It happens. There’s a lot going on once you become a parent. Just make sure you talk about it. If you’re missing something in your relationship, don’t stay quiet about it.
We decided to set 2 goals for ourselves to help maintain our marriage while maintaining pretty much everything else. I thought I’d share in case you find yourself in this position one day and need a few ideas.
- Go on a date once a month. I know this isn’t much to some people, but it’s a lot more than what we’ve been doing. We would schedule it, find a sitter, plan it, and leave the house.
- No social media from 5-8pm. We’re not perfect at this, but we’re working on it. I don’t think it’s an obsession, but I think it’s just become almost a tick when things get too quiet – you open your phone and mindlessly scroll. We want to be better at filling the void with each other or at least do mindlessly together.
One thing I want to do more of is try to cook more meals together. More often than not, Tristan will cook while I watch Dom or vice-versa. We want Dominic to see more that we work together to get things done, and, eventually, he can help out with things in the kitchen too.
More regular dates have made a HUGE difference for us. We went 4 months without a date when we felt the slump in our relationship, and even though this is only once a month, it’s worked out perfectly because we don’t have many opportunities to go out like this anyway because of our schedules. It’s already a really nice treat even though it’s only been month 2. It’s been worth it to take time to do things with just each other. To laugh, to play, to joke, and even to take pictures of just us! You don’t realize what you’ve stopped doing together after you’ve settled into parenthood.
Just this past weekend, we went to Perch – one of our favorite places in Downtown LA in our pre-parent days – and we didn’t even realize how long it’s been since we visited until we were actually there. It was refreshing, and nostalgic, and neither of us had to share our food (lol). Before that, we went to The Broad and got to see some amazing pieces of art, and we realized that even though we considered bringing Dominic here, it wouldn’t have worked out because he would probably touch all of the bright installations. It was refreshing to check out of parenthood for a few hours to enjoy a few things that only we as adults could enjoy together.
But, hey, don’t get me wrong about needing time away. I’m sure parents can agree that the sweetest thing about stepping away for even a few short hours is coming back to a happy little person that you made together. There’s nothing like your child’s smile to reinforce the purpose of keeping your marriage a priority.
Photos taken at The Broad | 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012