Til death do us part?
Children change a marriage. Completely and permanently. They change who we are as individuals and therefore who we are as a couple. They affect how we see each other and how we are with each other.
You can’t tell me that my husband looks at my body in the same way as he did before he saw my daughter’s head coming out of it. You also can’t tell me that he doesn’t detest the fact that often I’ve been at home all day and he gets a text saying “Please buy milk.” Having kids can throw a solid marriage into turmoil. I admire those couples who have children to bring them closer because, in (my) reality, this is not the case. I have never felt such exasperation, infuriation and, occasionally, resentment towards my husband until after the birth of each child. And I’m pretty sure it’s the same for him too. Having a child is like a bomb exploding in the middle of your marriage and when the dust settles everything is different to how it was before.
Now, my husband is very important in the World of Work.
But at home he often lacks Common Sense. Don’t get me wrong, he is very helpful around the house – he does all the jobs that I refuse to do like packed lunches and hoovering the stairs. Yet when it comes to the day to day management of the children, he doesn’t have a clue. Oh yes, he is very good at running around outside with a hose in the midday sun but will never remember to apply sun lotion to his little funsters.
I agree he is just brilliant at taking them to swimming lessons but often forgets towels. He is superb at driving them to birthday parties but leaves the present at home. Daddy days are packed with fun, but rarely food.
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Oh but he has a lot to put up with too. My breasts have turned into pitta breads and the only thing Brazilian on my body is the shampoo I use. I don’t share food.
I spend money on clothes and hide the evidence. I pretend I am interested in his work, even though I have no idea what he does for a living. Often I undermine him when he’s disciplining the kids. I let the toddler sleep in our bed always sometimes.
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Add all this together, plus three demanding children, and you practically have A Nightmare On Marriage Street.
I write this as we are about to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I suggested that we renew our vows but he said we don’t have to. Ah but I believe we do.
And I think this is what we should vow:
“I, …, take thee, …, to be my lawful wedded Husband/Wife, to not pretend to be asleep from this day forward, to never make out my day was worse, to not frown when people say the kids look like you, to clean up all the poo if you do the sick, to try to agree with your parenting methods, to love honour and obey your need for a lie-in, to spoon on request if you learn where the mop is kept, to not spend excessive amounts of time hiding in the toilet, to not laugh when you step on Lego, to give you ample opportunity to bond with the kids (alone), for richer for poorer if it includes a babysitter, to have and to hold but sell on EBay if unbearable and to promise to notice if you’re still breathing from time to time…til death do us part.”