I truly feel the deepest sympathy and sadness for couples who say that having a child brings difficulty to their marriage. Certainly, little James' arrival has brought it's own difficulties: we're getting less sleep, Sophia is crankier than usual with her schedule askew and with us meeting her needs more slowly than she would often like; a newborn's cries are not exactly the most stress-reducing noise known to humankind, and of course, we had that little stint in the hospital which wasn't *at all* stressful :-P Still, I am blessed to say that with the births of each of our two children, despite the difficulties of caring for a newborn, we have never felt strain or difficulty in our marriage.
When I see my husband with our children, it makes me so happy. I will always remember when we were driving home from Children's with James in the backseat to finally head home and be a family, and Brian said to him, "I'm so in love with you, little mister!" It is a wonderful thing to see your husband in love with the children your love co-created. It is a beautiful thing to see him holding them, comforting them...and yes, even getting overwhelmingly frustrated with them as he hands them off to you saying, "Here! I think he's hungry!"
We are realizing quickly, though, that while we didn't feel a need to have scheduled "date nights" as a couple with Sophia's birth, we are finding that this will probably be an important thing to implement from here on out. Not that we'll always go out for date night. Just being sure to schedule some couple time together each evening and a longer, more purposeful time to have fun and enjoy each other once a week.
With the demands of a nearly two-year-old and a newborn, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, thinking this is all there is and all there ever will be, for better or worse. But, for better or worse, this is such a small portion of our lives together: having young children. All too soon, it will be gone...and then they will be gone, and it will be us again. Just Brian and me. And, when that day comes, I don't want just the memories of watching my husband being in love with our children: I want to be sure we are still in love with each other! And, just like with children, that's going to take some work...and the work will bring a lot of joy.