Hooray, we’ve been married 8 years! Three kids later and our marriage is hardly recognisable. Who are those young people in that photo? And where did that gushing love go? These are the 8 ways our marriage has changed in 8 years, and after three kids! Disclaimer – your marriage probably won’t be as unrecognisable if there aren’t kids in the mix.
Terms of endearment
We used to call each other pet names (not in public, and nothing risqué). I used to call Mr Wallace ‘boy’, for reasons I’m still not sure of. Now the best he gets is ‘Daddy’. And not, ‘I love you my sugar Daddy’, more like ‘Daddy, can you put his shoes on?’. Anyone else heard Kitty Flannagan’s theory that ‘darling’ becomes a replacement for ‘For Fucks Sake’ a few years in to a relationship? She’s on to something. Imagine you and your significant other are driving. The driver misses a turn. You say ‘shouldn’t we have turned left, DARLING’? By which you really mean, shouldn’t we have turned left, FFS’! Or, ‘did you forget to put the dishwasher on,
Nothing is sacred
The longer you’re together, the more comfortable you become with each other. Then child birth takes away all mystery. And nothing says romance like the sound of your husband letting rip three rooms away. Plus, kids means there’s generally talk about their poo, its consistency, the frequency and who is going to deal with it.
Lack of affection
Remember there was a time when you’d walk down the isles of the supermarket holding hands? Or you’d stare at paint colours in Bunnings, arms wrapped around each other. I guess we used to do that, but 8 years in, I can’t be sure. Now there’s little people clambering over me for most of the day and then sharing our bed at night, there’s not much room for spousal touch. Fancy an after work hug or a cuddle on the couch? Not me, I just want space.
Ever hear the penny in the jar theory? Put a penny in a jar every time you bonk in the first year of marriage. After your first anniversary, take out a penny out each time you get laid. You’ll never empty the jar of pennies. Well, it’s embarrassingly accurate.
If you barely have the ability to make eye contact with your significant other because you’re dealing with the monotony of kids, it’s easy to understand why things are as steamy as they used to be. Maybe one of you was a ‘morning’ person and now you wake up to kids at 5.30am, meaning any chance at a morning roll between the sheets if off.
We used to talk about politics and current issues. I used to read the paper and opinion pieces to inform those debates. Now if Mr Wallace even begins a conversation on the latest political issue, my eyes glaze over. I am too tired to enter into rigorous debate. Plus, I know that any proper adult conversation will be interrupted a myriad of times. I feel like there’s little point in starting a conversation on feminist theology if it’s going to be interrupted by a request for an apple. Not to mention my mind is running mad with all the kid logistics issues that we should be resolving. We can’t solve the nation’s immigration policy but we can work out who is picking up the kids tomorrow.
Couple time and date night
Before there were kids, there was just the two of you. You could do whatever you fancied, as a kid free couple. Head out for dinner because no one could be bothered cooking, take an impromptu Saturday drive (destination: unknown), have a long, lazy Sunday lunch in the sun.
Now we’re restricted to ‘date nights’, one of the more dramatic ways our marriage has changed! The pressure is on to look lovingly into each other’s eyes and talk about the big issues. The reality is you go to a local restaurant, that’s not especially fancy, in case the baby sister calls, you spend the night talking about the kids, and then you dash home to relieve the babysitter. Inevitably the baby wakes up, one person tends to the baby (me, because boob) and the other falls asleep because he’s had two glasses of wine and was exhausted before the date night began. No marital relations ensue.
In the early days of a relationship, text messages are flirty, a little risque and kind of exciting. After 8 years of marriage, text messages become a means of communicating boring logistics. Text messages look like this ‘At station. 9 mins to train’, or ‘landed, in taxi’, or ‘can I call?’ and ‘remember the bread’. Domestic life at it’s lame best.
You love them more
Not all the ways our marriage has changed are terrible. Despite our lives being consumed with the demands of parenting small kids, balancing jobs and making sure the house doesn’t resemble a tip, at least we’re in this together. Sometimes ‘us’ is lost among the chaos, but we still have that connection. When those rascal boys become more independent (another 8 years, perhaps), we’ll still be there for each other. We’ll that’s my plan, cause I sure can’t do this parenting gig on my own.
Has your relationship changed after years of togetherness? Or are the kids the real reason the romance has left the building?