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Friday, November 16, 2007

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Tim and I were married for quite a while before we were in a position to have kids (he was still in school, and for a while, not living anywhere remotely near me) and we got to experience the whole married couple thing without kids. To be honest, while some of it was nice (like the going out to an expensive dinner and having a quiet conversation without being interrupted 1001 times) life is much better now. Sure, we have less time together as a couple, but we've got plenty of family time. He's a terrific dad and that makes him all that much more attractive to me. I love watching him play with our girls. Every night, he carries the bigs (they are 5 1/2) up the stairs at the same time and it's pretty much the sexiest thing ever. He has them giggling and laughing. Then he takes them into the bathroom and helps them brush their teeth - very sexy as well. When I see him cuddling on the couch with the 3 year old, or when I shake him awake in the middle of the night to get her, it's amazing. Sure, he and I have loved each other a long time (20 years now) but since becoming a family with kids, the love is so much more. It's deeper and more meaningful. It's amazing when we're sitting down after finally getting all 3 kids into bed and he says "can I come over there and feel the baby kicking now?" He's just spent all day working, come home, given the kids dinner, bathed them, helped wrangle all 3 into bed and he wants to feel his 4th little girl wriggling around in my belly. Yup, this is so much better than a fancy dinner out.

That was beautiful, Arwen. My husband and I had 3 years together before we were blessed with our daughter, and I don't think she came a second before we were ready. We grew a lot in those 3 years. While I often find myself longing for the carefree nature of those days (being able to, you know, leave the house after 8PM on a whim ... a whim! I don't even know what that is anymore!) I wouldn't trade it for the ways she is bringing us together now.

Beautiful post Arwen! I can't even count the number of people that have told me the same thing- wait a couple of years to have kids- since I've been engaged.

yup, yup, and yup! you've nailed this one Arwen! Scott just changed diapers and colostomy bags and brushed teeth and kissed cheeks so I could have a few minutes alone at the computer. :)

You are so wise! Great post!

Sleeping together
Is overrated, we find.
It's the sleep we need!

Beautifully expressed, Arwen. It's your insight and eloquence in posts like this that have kept me coming back to your blog for years. Thanks for the reminder of what real, self-sacrificial love looks like.

Yay :-).

P.S. Want to write my Theology of the Body term paper for me?

What a beautiful post, and so true! :o)

Arwen, that was beautiful. Thanks so much.

Well said.

Thanks, too, for the caveat about those involuntarily waiting for children.

Beautiful.

Gorgeous post! And as a new mom who waited 7 years for a baby, it brought tears to my eyes :-)

Wow! We talk about an upcoming post, and I can see it percolating... I figure I'll read it in a week or two. And then you crank it out before midnight. You are awesome!

I think that everything you just wrote is actually proof of why having children is, not a HINDRANCE to a happy and loving marriage as you put it, but a CHALLENGE to the best of marriages. Not everyone is able to rise to the challenge of the "daily opportunities to lay down our lives for each other." The birth of your first child presents the challenge of radically reimagining what marriage and partnership is, and shows you that love isn't all romance, but that it lies in the hard stuff of life. So while yes, parenthood can be the best thing to happen to a marriage, I think you also inadvertently proved why it can be very, very hard on a marriage.

This is why I tell my newly-married friends to wait before having kids--not to have "fun," though my husband and I certainly had plenty of fun before we had our daughter, but to give themselves the chance to develop the tools (communication, tolerance, understanding, self-sacrifice) that any marriage needs, but that you especially need when you are sleep- and sex-deprived and don't even have the time and energy to shower, let alone be romantic.

Lovely post. :)

Really beautiful post Arwen.

I agree! I think the hard times are what bring my husband and I closer than anything else. Beautiful post:)

No kids yet, but one of the sexiest things my husband does is fill up my car with gas. I hate pumping gas and he will take my car down to the gas station and do it for me. Oh, and he is always willing to clean up the dog throw-up. A very big one.

He thinks I am crazy when I tell him these things are sexy.

Best. Post. Ever. We did not even have quite a full year before our first arrived. It was the best thing that could have happened in many ways.
I would love to print this out and pass it out at our pre-Cana retreats! (Please tell me that you are involved in your diocesan marriage prep in some way - you seem SO perfect for such!)
I would go on, but you said it so beautifully already.
Id love to read your thoughts on marrying relatively young. I am sure that I would find them equally eloquent and beautiful contradictions to societal norms. I've tried to write such a post before, but you are more of a true writer than i will ever be!

Yes, yes, yes. We met, married and became parents within a short time, are blessed today with nearly 20 years together and four children between the ages of 18 and 8 - and how fast THAT time went by! We have a happy marriage, we show our love by doing and saying, and it's simply the deepest, truest love. A little smile inmidst of chaos, and the world is a happy place.

No, there are not many movies about it and it's rarely celebrated in consumer culture - but true love is weathering the everyday challenges, giving each other stability in a crazy world, and keeping together a house full with young people developing into different directions.

You are truly blessed that you found this love and selflessness so early in life, and that you recognize it for what it is. (I was 23 when I met my Y.) And your daughter and her siblings-to-be are blessed to grow up in a family based upon a happy marriage. This is the greatest gift you can give to a child.

I have to go and huggy my hubby now!!!!

Wonderful post.

Very precious. And it helps to know that you wouldn't trade the waiting... :)

For some reason I find it very sexy when my husband does the dishes. But also when he does 'guy things' like climbing up ladders to clean out the gutters or helping his dad cut down a tree and haul all the bits off to the brush pile to be burned.

Lately he's been playing with the kids in the evening so that I can get some rest after dinner. I really, really appreciate that.

Lovely post, thank you Arwen! You know we didn't wait at all to become parents, and although I'm sure life would have been easier in a lot of ways if we had, it is the challenges we have faced over the last three years that have brought us face to face with our own shortcomings and forced us to choose to grow and love better in ways and with a frequency I can't imagine knowing without Gui in our lives.

Wow, that's a tangled sentence. ;-) I hope that makes sense to someone.

I'll admit to having advised friends to wait a little bit before having a baby. But I also tell them not to wait too long...in the end, none of us gets perfect control over the timing and circumstances of childbearing and rearing - in the end, children are a gift, whenever and however they arrive. You don't have to be perfect lovers or perfect spouses to raise children, but raising children will force you to look your own selfishness in the face and challenge you to overcome it in new ways. Marriage and childrearing are aids to holiness, not because only holy people are qualified, but because they challenge us where we are weakest and give us opportunities to grow.

I know what you mean about how sexy it is to watch your husband take on the challenges of parenting. Liam is such a great father (as I'm sure Brian is!) and it thrills me to the core to watch him change a diaper, or take Gui out to channel some of his toddler energy, or get up while we are watching a movie at night to settle Gui back to sleep when he's woken up. Very attractive. :-)

This is beautiful. :)

this is a lovely post, Arwen. I agree that children are not a hindrance. They are indeed challenging, but without challenge, how can one grow and mature? Before children, we had other challenges (ours involved trying to have children as well), and they were helpful in ways too.

I sometimes wish we hadn't had so long before our firstborn arrived, though it wasn't by choice. But it all worked for the best.


Your post is just what I needed at this particular moment. As I sit at this late hour in a hotel lobby-business center catching up on blogs just to retain my sanity while the currently-sleeping is strapped to me in the sling, I really needed that perspective. It has reassured me that the sleep deprivation and baby pacing shifts that we are currently enduring are, ultimately, worth every moment...every sacrifice. And thank you for helping me recognize the saint in my husband. I'm not dealing well with the lack of sleep, and he has been so, so accommodating while I try to catch up. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. It may be the sleep deprivation.

Beautiful post. It's so wonderful to hear how parenthood has drawn you two together, when the stress of it can so often create distance between spouses.

AMEN!!

This reminds me of a story A. told me (before we were married) about the pastor of the church he went to in college. Apparently when pastor got married, he and his wife prayed that they wouldn't conceive for a year so that they could have some time together. At the end of a year, whammo, they conceived. Even at that time, my reaction was "Wasn't that kind of presumptuous?" It's not so much the confusion about children, which I can sort of understand, as the whole putting-in-your-order aspect of it.

And you know, I've found that time together becomes BETTER as a result of having a little one - you appreciate it more. Before Daniel was born we could go out every night if we wanted - we frequently did, especially while in treatment, for sheer distraction - but now that we have one babysat evening a month it's much more exciting to dress up and head out to the symphony or some indubitable grownup place - plus, at the end of the evening, you have your adorable toddler to go back to :).

Gorgeous post! Really hit the bulls-eye for me.

Thank you for writing something I needed so much. Times are hard with my two (especially after shots today) and we haven't had a "date" in over a year. But watching my husband try to tide my dd over for a few minutes so I can do something else (like pee!) is so much more than sexy. He's a stay at home dad as well so he has my admiration in so many ways.

Great post! My 12th anniversary is this weekend. It's so not about the "romantic" stuff for us lately - more about hanging tight during tough times. If I weren't so sleep deprived I'd say more, but you nailed it.

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