I’m going to be completely honest here: I thought my husband Chris and I weren’t going to make it as a couple after our son was born.
Instead of banding together as a team and learning how to parent together, we tried to take on the new challenge of parenting like the stubborn individuals we sometimes are. We didn’t support each other as much as we should have and bickered over everything from how to dress our son to who got to soothe him when he was upset. Needless to say, our marriage was not exactly The Notebook-worthy at this point.
Looking back, our relationship had never really been tested. We were two relatively happy people whose biggest stressors were our jobs. For us, having a kid was like going through the college admissions process when you’re in first grade—it was freaking hard.
The bickering eventually died down and we learned to work as a unit. But while things were working smoothly on the surface, I still kept remembering our past issues. I mean, we had drawn-out fights over putting our kid in onesies vs.
Pre-baby, we would always explore cool restaurants or take trips together—at least once a week, we’d do something new. After our son was born, those little adventures slowed to a trickle. We recently took a vacation—our first one in three years—and it was clearly overdue.
“Our brains crave a certain amount of novelty to remain engaged and interested,” says Marchand, and clearly we weren’t getting it. She says that doing new activities is a great way to shake a lull because it promotes the production of the love hormone oxytocin, which helps couples bond together.
With that in mind, Chris and I have started making a point to do new things together. While it’s not as easy as it used to be, we’ve hit up sports games and checked out new cities more in the last six months than we have in the past two years. Our son is usually along for the ride, which is awesome, but we’re trying to create more adults-only time, too.
I’ve had a blast, but frankly I’m just glad that we’re back. Finally.