Can you stay happily married when you have small children?
The answer is real simple: Yes... but it takes a heck of a lot of effort and time which, if you're the parent of small children, you probably don't have a lot of to begin with. My husband and I have been married for 11 years and we've been together for 13. But we've never been childless because, by the time I met him, he'd already been married once and had a son. Although my stepson was 9 years old by the time he moved in with us full-time, he was no longer a small child. In other words, he didn't require as much attention as, for example, a toddler. Even so, I learned to share my time with my husband early on in our relationship.
Looking back, I must say that helped us prepare somewhat for how much things would change between us once we decided to have children together.
Truth is, though, that most of our waking hours (outside of work) revolve around our two small children: a first-grader and a preschooler. Most days, we can't have a normal, adult conversation without being interrupted 300 million times by a 3-year-old who always seems to think that the best time to ask a question is when mami y papi are talking to each other!
Read more in ¿Qué más?: What kind of parent are you?
Our relationship is, without a doubt, NOTHING like it was before we had children, but whomever expects that to be the case is delusional. Relationships evolve, mature, change and become something new every time they're touched by some major life event, such as birth... or death. My husband and I, we've gone through both and our share of life-threatening illnesses, financial woes, ex-wife's troubles and teenager angst. Not only are we not the same people we were when we met back in 1997, but we're also not the couple we became back in 1999.
And so, despite how difficult it's become to spend time together without our children, we always make the effort. Once we put them in bed at night, we get to do what makes us happy. We listen to music, watch a movie, have a glass of wine, get intimate or just talk about whatever--happy that, most nights, we don't have to worry about being interrupted. We don't get to this every single night, but we're definitely happier people when we do!
Image via Thinkstock