“Is something wrong?” he asked. The fact that I lay there in bed staring at the wall rather than the TV or my phone must have been a sign that something was weighing on my mind. But instead of admitting that something had indeed been gnawing at me, I simply shook my head and mumbled incoherently. He didn’t push, and I didn’t communicate.
Somewhere along the road, my marriage started taking a backseat to our kids, work, life … everything. We found comfort in each other’s presence, but that’s where it ended. During our seven years together, we experienced countless ups and downs that led us to this moment. We purchased what seemed to be the picture-perfect, fixer upper house to transform into our dream home.
In the end, it ultimately ended up being more of a burden than the gateway to elation and achievement we had imagined it to be. We brought two beautiful babies into the world who wailed for hours upon hours, leading to high frustration levels and arguments mostly due to exhaustion. And to top it all off, we faced severe financial hardship.
In the midst of building a life together, we lost each other.
Instead of leaning on one another while supporting dreams and offering a safe place to communicate, we replaced each other with our kids, video games and work. Unhappiness swallowed me up, and it began to show. Trivial disagreements evolved into heated quarrels and led to days without speaking unless the conversation concerned the kids. The kids, the two tiny people whose loud presence began the subtle rift in our relationship, were ironically now the glue holding us all together.
You might be wondering, why would she stay in a marriage when she seems so unhappy? The truth is, my husband didn’t cause my unhappiness. He had never done anything to alter my love for him. Our dynamic and balance were just off a bit. Our priorities had shifted, pushing our relationship to the bottom of the list when it should have been number one.
Our kids were now number one. I began to feel that my husband loved my kids more than he loved me. I was once everything to him, and now I had been replaced. I wasn’t the one he wanted to cuddle with at the end of the day; the kids were.
So, the day after my husband asked me if something was wrong, I texted him (because that’s how we usually discuss important matters) that yes, something had been on my mind. The difference between this conversation and most others we’ve had was that neither of us placed blame on the other, nor did emotions spiral out of control.
We both had felt the shift in focus and lack of priority given to our marriage. Agreeing we were each other’s one and only was just the first step to maneuvering concentration back on each other’s individual needs.
More than likely, it won’t be smooth sailing from here on out, but hugs that were once cut short by a whining child will be completed; the first kiss that is shared upon returning home from work will be with each other; and those booty grabs that were once a thing of the past, they’ll be making a glorious comeback.
Never do I wish for either of us to feel rejected or less significant. My husband is more important. Our marriage is more important. WE are more important.