Dear Dr. Respler,
My husband and I have been married for five years and have three adorable children. I am a happy and hard-working full-time mother. My husband is a special person. He is smart, nice, has great middos and is very ehrlich. So why am I writing to you? The relationship my husband and I share is not what it once was.
Our shana rishona was out of this world. We were thrilled with each other, hardly ever got upset, quickly got over any arguments, and showed endless love and care towards one another. We were both sure that it would be that way forever.
But the passing of time and the birth of our children has brought a cooling off in our relationship. Don’t get me wrong, we are still a great couple and care about each other greatly. It’s just that many of the little things we overlooked during shana rishona seem to upset us now. I believe its normal for this to happen; however, I cannot accept the fact that our fantastic relationship is not as fantastic as it once was. It bothers me so much!
We have the same ridiculous fights over and over again, mostly about unimportant things because we are tired or irritable, and it’s really starting to get to me! What happened to the days when we gave into each other right away? Why are we more irritable and annoyed with each other? Why don’t we have that same sparkle that we had in the beginning when we were in our own little bubble.
Even though I know the kids have taken a lot of our attention and energy, I feel that we can still have that amazing relationship we once had!
Lost our sparkle
Dear Lost our Sparkle,
I know that this must be very hard for you, but it is normal for infatuation to develop into a comfortable mutual love. I am not saying that you shouldn’t be “crazy” over your husband; rather, what I am saying is that it is normal for you to feel the way you describe, Of course, there’s always room for improvement and it’s admirable that you want to have an amazing relationship with your husband.
It is very easy to be stress-free and on cloud nine when there are no children around, however, the reality is that children take a lot of our strength. It is a great bracha that you have three children, but you must not “neglect” your marriage because of it. The feelings you and your husband had are still there; they are just clouded by everyday stressors and the like. While you are a mother, you are also still a wife.
Date night is important – either going out, or putting the kids to sleep early and having one at home – so be sure to have one at least once a month. During the week, make sure you have at least 20 minutes a night where you get to talk to each other about your day, or something interesting that happened. It’s important that you keep that communication open in order to strengthen your relationship. Sometimes even one or two nights away from the children can do wonders for your marriage.
It is also very important for you to take some more time for yourself. You mentioned that you are a full-time, stay-at-home mother. While this is a wonderful way to spend your time, you must not forget to take care of yourself as well. Since you did not mention any outside activity, I will assume that you do not leave your kids very much (I apologize if this is an erroneous assumption and hope these ideas will be helpful to other stay at home moms, even if they do not apply to you). It is very healthy and normal to want to get out every day for at least an hour or two.