Earlier this month, my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, and we marked the occasion with our first dinner alone since our baby girl was born. It was long overdue and I was really looking forward to it. But honestly, the day was anything but beautiful. Outside, it was dreary and rainy. I had a fussy baby. And nothing went as planned.
As a first time mom, I’ve had plenty of days where plans I have for getting baby ready, getting myself ready, and getting somewhere on time spiral out of control. And this was no different. However, this time we had to change our dinner reservation twice and ultimately cancel because of it.
On any other day I would have given in to the chaos and stayed home. But I couldn’t let that happen this time. I had to take advantage of an opportunity to put my marriage before my mothering. So I recommitted myself to getting our baby to her grandparents and getting on with our first dinner alone since our baby girl was born, even if we had to wing it.
I know that saying I put my marriage before my mothering sounds horrible, but it’s not saying I neglect any of my child’s needs; instead, I’m just putting my marriage in a spot that’s just as high on my priority list.
Making Marriage A Priority
Over the past nine months, our marriage seemed to take a backseat to my mothering. It’s the type of tarnish you would find on most relationships with a baby, but we wanted to change that. And that Saturday night was a good start.
We held out hope that the restaurant would still have room for us. And thankfully, it did.
We had become used to having our meals interrupted by the loud babble of a baby wanting out of a high chair and into mommy’s arms for a feeding. So that night, we just sat on two sides of the table’s corner, leaned in, talked and laughed all night.
Needless to say, we really wanted those few hours we spent together. And more than that, we desperately needed them. We needed to polish a marriage that had been somewhat hidden underneath a layer of distractions. Our preoccupation with work, projects and parenting made us comfortably uncomfortable. Uncomfortable with the idea of not having had much alone time, but accepting it all too easily.
Dealing With Changes
If I’ve learned anything in five years of marriage, I’ve learned that things change. You gain weight. You lose weight. You have days when you’re happy. You have days when you’re frustrated or disappointed. There are times when you have more money. Times when you have less. There are job changes, career shifts. And the changes that come with having children, or even broaching the thought of adding children to your family.
But through it all, I’ve also learned that the foundation of your marriage should stay in tact. Not the superficial or material things that were there from the beginning, but the things that take you through the rifts and valleys of life, and make you fall in love with your spouse again and again. They’re the things that make you say I still choose you and I’m in it for the long haul.
I saw those things as we leaned in over the corner of that table that night, and it was a reminder of what I need to try harder to preserve everyday, especially now that we have our baby girl.
After all, I thought what we had was pretty special when I said “I do” five years ago, and I think it’s even more special now.
“Marriage: If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.”
– F. Burton Howard