I realized this week after the husband and I had the most random of 3 AM arguments, that I was (possibly) being a tiny bit selfish and inconsiderate.
That evening, I ate the dinner my husband prepared around 12 AM alone, at the dining table, in front of the laptop.
He popped his head into the dining room after getting our 2 year old daughter back to bed; she’d just suffered another major night terror.
And there it was, this look of disappointment, I instantly felt guilty. But the first thing out of my mouth was a defensive statement that I was still eating. In the back of my mind I noted that we had not cuddled in a few days and that it would have to be remedied soon or things would deteriorate very quickly.
Later on that night, I was caught reading an intense post-apocalyptic novel about zombies at 3 AM. I have an intense zombie phobia, but I love the genre.
This triggered the husband vent from hell. It went from being about my staying up too late reading things that only unnerve me, to not cuddling anymore and included a vent about me cancelling on our dates. I went on the resentful wife defensive and it became a terrible argument that ended with me sleeping on the floor.
We made up the next night after I realized a few things:
Time spent together is not the same as time spent engaged and affectionate. Earlier that same day we had a great lunch, and we actually went to bible study together and it was a good day. But for him something crucial was missing and I just didn’t feel the same way. He wanted more than I thought I needed to give and it was causing discord between us.
There can be sex without affection. Nothing can substitute a quiet embrace, a passionate kiss and holding each other close just because. Love manifests itself in ways that can’t be captured in just intercourse. We have two kids in diapers and that affection that was once just for him is now spread across three, I mistakenly believed that sex alone was enough for my husband. I didn’t grasp that really connecting and maintaining connection was more about showing affection in everyday life, not just the bedroom.
That my husband's definition of date does not included taking the toddler to the park. I appreciate the time I spend with my husband. There was a time while we were dating that we almost did not make it and I don't want to feel the dread of that uncertainty again. So for me, a quick lunch at home or a walk around the block can hold more romance than dinner and movie. The husband does not agree. We need to find healthy medium.
Instead of understanding his view and respecting his feelings, I resented his needs and frustrations. He recently joked about me focusing on "Me Time", "Quiet Time", "Study Time", "Alone Time" but there was very little "Husband Time”. It is hard being married to Renaissance woman. It requires true co-parenting and often times he is doing more than his fair share. As soon as he gets in the door from work, a kid is thrown at him, I bombard him with my thoughts and emotions, he eats and showers and then falls asleep with a kid in his lap. Sometimes what he needs and wants to keep his sanity is to fall asleep cuddling with me. Which is inconvenient as heck because if means being deliberate and disciplined with my time for things other than my entrepreneurial projects. But, instead of understanding, I met his desires by either dismissing them or resenting him for it.
Marriage is hard. It requires a level of self-awareness and selflessness that isn’t always executed well. Sometimes talking, listening and respecting each other’s views about a situation is the best first steps in the right direction.