While I was back in Iowa over the holidays, a friend of mine told me about a tradition she and her husband had developed for bonding after each child’s birth. Once the new baby had reached around 3 months of age, they would leave the baby, along with their other children, with her parents and go for a couple’s weekend to regroup in their marriage. At the time, and even still, the idea of leaving my baby behind for a weekend seemed outrageous.
And even though I still think I couldn’t handle an entire weekend without my Anastasia, I’m starting to understand the reasoning behind their plan. Let’s face it, after three months of baby-centric everything, your marriage starts to fall by the wayside.
With this in mind, Friday night Josh and I went on our first date since before the baby’s birth. Sure, we just went to the movie theater in town, watched the shortest movie playing, then rushed back to pick her up because I wasn’t sure I could take it any longer, but I already can tell it made a difference.
So here’s my theory: Husbands need their wives’ love. Outrageous, I know. I’ve spent the past three months so focused on juggling a newborn baby and household chores that I forgot there was more to being a wife than just changing diapers, getting food on the table and keeping up on the laundry.
Of course I love my husband — that’s why I married him — but the moment my daughter was born I experienced an all-consuming love like I never had before. And it did consume all, including the attention and affection that used to be dedicated to my husband.
Too often, I think we, as military wives, expect that our soldiers need little in the way of love. It’s sometimes easy to forget that beneath that camouflage uniform is a human being like you. We’re so focused on pulling every last bit of affection out of them for ourselves that we end up neglecting them completely. I know my husband would never admit to “needing more love,” but I’m sure he notices my shortened patience and tendency toward grudge-holding. If all of my love goes to our daughter, it gives him the short end of the stick.
Obviously, it’s impossible for a mom to love her child less, so I’m not suggesting that. What I am suggesting is that our kids didn’t steal the love we had for our husbands; they just buried it a little, and now it’s time to dig it out.