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A baby made my marriage better

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I’m going to go ahead and say it.

Adding a baby to our lives actually strengthened our marriage.

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Before you get all crazy on me, let me first say that the reason we chose to have a baby was NOT because we wanted to improve our marriage, and I think that is never a good reason to spawn.

But a wonderful byproduct of Baby G’s presence in our lives is Joe and I feel closer and more solid as a couple than we ever have before. And I even think life is more fun. This is contrary to much of what we heard going into pregnancy.

“Enjoy each other now, because you’ll never have this again.”

“Get all your fun out of your system, because once that baby comes…”

“After the baby comes, you need to really make sure your marriage doesn’t take a back-burner, otherwise you’ll be divorced and living in the gutter in approximately 6.5 months.”

There is a bit of truth in all of these statements, which is why people say them. But the overall message we got before Baby G entered our lives was BABY=MAJOR MARRIAGE STRESSOR. And it freaked us out. I think it’s time I refute that assumption, or at least tell my own story.

Yes, the first few months were trying. I can recount more than one argument over who would wake up with the baby throughout the night, most of these fights arising out of pure exhaustion. Once we found our groove, however, adding a little person to our family turned out much easier than I ever expected. No, we don’t get to go on spontaneous vacations or romantically dine out whenever we want. Nobody is trying to say a baby doesn’t change anything. But I actually feel more connected with Joe, and in many ways, feel more like we have a real partnership than I did before Baby G. 

I love to see my husband as a father. I watch him sacrifice for his daughter, work hard, put our needs before his own, and it makes me love him more deeply than I ever could have imagined. On the rare occasions we are without her, on a date night or after we put her to bed, we talk about our naughty little offspring, and his eyes light up in ways I’ve never seen before. We also have plenty of other things to discuss when we’re alone – not every conversation is diaper related, promise – and I have a newfound sense that we are more connected on a spiritual, emotional level than in the past.

This is absolutely not to say that childfree couples can’t enjoy a deep relationship. All I’m saying is in our experience, this whole “baby as an intruder to the marriage” didn’t ring true. 

I’m fully aware that as our little girl approaches 14 months – and I’m clearly in the place to brag about how smooth and wonderful my marriage is and how easily Baby G fits into our lives – something must be wrong. I figured it out yesterday: This is the time that many couples decide to have another baby. “I’ve got this one handled, time for more!”

But we’re just not there yet. So parents with more than one child, I know I’m clueless and you might say I have no place to talk about how easy marriage is with just one easy baby. That’s probably true. I hope you don’t mind though, that instead of feeling guilty about just having one kid for now, I’m going to enjoy it.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought I’d post tips on how to keep romance alive after a baby. But I couldn’t come up with any handy tips for you. So instead of posting some marginally useful list, I wanted to share my heart. My only advice on this is to love and be loved. It’s the same before and after a baby. A baby just adds another dimension to love and be loved.

What impact did children have on your marriage, positive or negative? Would having another baby make me want to rescind this blog post? Be honest. I’m not scared of being wrong, at least most of the time.

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10 Comments

  1. Andrea Laughery on February 11, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Beautiful words. I agree with you, whole-heartedly. We had a pretty rough birth experience, and that alone brought my husband and I so much closer together. Allowing him to help me through a difficult and vulnerable time, and being able to reflect on that together strengthened our bond. Of course raising a silly, feisty little toddler together has been pretty amazing, too. 🙂

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Oh yes! I wasn’t even thinking about the birth experience (ours was traumatic too), but you’re totally right.

  2. John Backman on February 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Great post, and you were dead-on with this quote: “Get all your fun out of your system, because once that baby comes…” I can even hear the tone of voice on those last four words!

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Thank you, John. I take it you’ve heard the phrase a time or two…

  3. Katie on February 17, 2014 at 4:06 am

    I loved reading this. We have been TTC and have had 2 miscarriages. And this is the kind of depth in our relationship I can’t wait for. Things are good…but there definitely feels like something is missing that should be there…something (someone) to mutually love to bring us closer. Thanks for sharing this! It’s refreshing! And thanks for coming by my blog….love what you have going on here! 🙂

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 17, 2014 at 4:08 am

      Thank you Katie, and I’m sorry you’re facing what you are. Makes me feel like a biznitch for gushing about how a baby made my marriage better. I really hope you have a successful pregnancy soon. Blessings.

      • Katie on February 17, 2014 at 4:11 am

        Nope. Not at all. It’s great to read good things about what babies add. Our time will come! 🙂

  4. Jamie Hughes on March 18, 2014 at 4:24 am

    A friend sent this blog post to me, and I’m very glad he did. My husband and I have chosen to go through the foster care adoption process for a variety of reasons, and we’re a little apprehensive because we’ll be adding multiple children to our home, likely one of them already in double digits. We are childless right now, so there’s no worry about integrating new children into the home. However, the thought of going straight to zone defense has a little weak in the knees. Was there anything you two did before baby came along? Any ground rules you had? Discussions? I’m wondering if there isn’t something we can do beforehand to keep us grounded when the hurricane hits. 😉

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 24, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Wow, what a beautiful way to build your family. Do you have support nearby? Family or close friends who can help you in the transition?

      • Jamie Hughes on March 24, 2014 at 11:53 am

        Sadly, no. My in-laws are about two hours away, and my family is a whopping six. That’s some of the reason for my nervousness. However, we have a church family who is willing to help, and both are jobs are flexible enough to allows us some grace during the transition.

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