Everyone knows life before and life after kids are totally different—and so is life before and after marriage. It's something no one can really prepare you for. While I was ignorant about a lot of the changes to come, the one thing I did know was that I didn't want to be the woman looks at her husband after the kids have grown up and thinks, “Who is this guy?”
Now the kids are here and I can admit that accomplishing this is far harder than I thought. There are times when I just want to sit down and have a quiet dinner with my husband, but we have two kids, so my evening is filled with interrupted conversations and my husband and saying things like, “Remember where I stopped and I’ll finish this story later.” It's frustrating, to say the least.
Despite all these challenges, my husband and I are still close, and our marriage is as strong as ever. I swear, there's one reason for this success—and, no, it's not regular date nights (although those are nice too.) The only thing that keeps us strong, always, is how we make a point of communicating all day long, every day.
It seems like such a simple thing but actually doing it requires work. I know couples who literally don’t speak to each other from the time they say goodbye in the morning until the time they get home for dinner in the evening. Then it’s a struggle to say anything at all over the volume of little voices who also wanted to be heard.
Instead of trying to save everything we want to say to each other for a date night, when we can’t remember what we important thing we needed to talk about on Tuesday, we communicate throughout the day, usually in texts or emails, and then save the face-to-face conversation for after the kids have gone to bed.
It’s just that simple—and that hard.
At just about any given time, I know what my husband is doing and how he’s feeling. I know how his day is going, what the drive was like to work, what he had for lunch and what articles he's read on Facebook. I know when he’s on his way home and what kind of mood he’s in before he ever walks in the door.
Between the practical texts and informative emails are our “I love you” messages and “What do you want to do this weekend?” conversation starters and "Read this, it's interesting" links. If I’m away from my phone for an hour or two, I know there will be something from him when I get back to it.
There's familiarity and comfort to our constant communication, but there’s also the sense that everything about our lives revolves around who we are as a couple. Our marriage is at the center of our family. We are what keeps everything flowing. And we do it by talking to each other. It’s just that simple—and that hard.
The time will come when the kids are older, when they’re not so demanding, when my husband and I don’t have to make a game of texting each other from different rooms of the house while our kids are running in circles around us. When that time comes, I’ll be able to put my phone down, smile, and say, “Hey, I know you!”