I should put my marriage first… but I don’t

My wife and I have been together for close to fifteen years – practically half our lives and pretty much our entire adulthood has been together. We started dating just after I turned 20, and she before she was 20. We have now been married for close to 9 years, and have two wonderful (almost some of the time) kids together. We’ve had many ups and downs, and have gone through moments in our relationship that have tested us. We’ve made tough decisions together, and we are still kicking. The last few months, in regards to our youngest child is yet another hurdle that we as a team are set to face together, as a team, as a family. Since having kids, I’ve generally put their needs above not only my own, but also above my wife’s.

The last couple of years however have been somewhat different than they used to be. We had a couple of overseas holiday’s pre kids, to Japan twice, and also to Hong Kong and China. We regret not going on more holidays together. One piece of advice I can give if you are a fairly newlywed and thinking of having kids – travel! Travel as much as you can before they come along – it will be much harder to do once they are in the picture!

We have had one post kids, while our daughter was quite young, and likely while my wife was in the first trimester of our son’s pregnancy. I put this holiday in our top two of all the holidays we’ve had together. It may have been the location that was what I enjoyed (Khao Lak in Thailand) – as we went with my wife’s family. While we had very little, to no “us” time – as either one of us was with our young daughter who came with us, it was remarkably relaxing, and just what I needed during that part of my life .

Since having kids, we have also put their needs above our own. This year has been quite the test of this, due to the needs of my son. Granted, I realise that we are more fortunate than other families, in both terms of the severity of his condition, but also in what we are able to provide for him.

We very rarely go out just the two of us anymore, and the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some very rare nights out for dinner. Once while on a short holiday we went on with my parents, the other once again my parents were kind enough to watch the kids at our house for a few hours so we could get a slight reprieve. Normally, we have the luxury of having our kids watched during the day, we have yet to have a full night without them, due to the readiness of our kids, my parents (who would do the overnight watch) and most of all my wife and I.

We also recently went with one of her friends, to meet her new partner, and saw their affection for one another. We joked at the time about the way they were so affectionate for one another, and that this time in our lives has passed for us. But there is truth to this. Have we grown so accustomed to each other that we are bored with public displays of affection? It was noted that on several occasions that I pulled away when my wife pulled close.

Having been together for such a long period of time, we have also seen the conception, and demise of several long lasting relationships. Recently I saw a couple I know split after as much time as my wife and I, with two kids older than ours – which made me want to put my wife back on the higher end of my priorities. We were the family before we started our family. While we won’t ever be that “lovey dovey” new couple again. I hope we can continue to be as we grow further into adulthood.

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