There comes a time in marriage when “new” turns “old” and married life can become a bit mundane. Some call it the seven-year itch. For us, it didn’t hit until our four oldest were teenagers. That is when our world started to crumble around us. These four very intelligent children learned quickly how each one of them, in different ways, could work the system of rules and boundaries to their advantage. Raising just one teen at a time has its challenges, but four? Four of them creates one very unique situation.
I am the first to admit, I was the softy that had a hard time remaining consistent on many topics where consistency would have been best. D was undeviating and steadfast, often hammering down the rules relentlessly without any wavering or compromise. I gave in behind his back because I wanted everyone to be happy. We certainly did not meet in the middle most times. When he was strict, I tried to make up for it by being less so. This was the game played in our home; a sort of tug of war.
The reality is that we had great kids. Amazing kids, in fact. But the bar was set so high that often times there was tension in the house instead of unconditional love and understanding. Then there was communication; it was almost non-existent in such a busy home. D and I would hardly talk during the week. The kids could easily play that to their advantage, unintentionally pitting us against each other. I would go to my job and he to his, then we would divide and conquer in the evenings. I usually went to after school and church activities while he stayed home with the youngest. We both attended games. Sometimes we didn’t even have a chance to talk alone with one another until the weekends.
During those days where arguments ensued regarding parenting styles, both of us working full-time, and a home with five growing children, four of whom were obstinately pubescent; it was remarkable that we were able to hold it together. Often the only thing that we had, at the end of the day, was a little time together in bed each evening.
If I could go back and change things I would, except for ONE THING. Luckily for us, something that just as easily could have not happened, DID…
It was those evening hours alone which seemed to save our marriage. For whatever miraculous reason, instead of going to either side of the bed angry and falling asleep, we found ourselves reaching for one another. Making love became the thread which held our relationship together. At the end of each long and difficult day it was the one thing that we had to look forward to with one another. A place where no words were necessary to be forgiven, where cuddles were apologies, and kisses were understanding.
Our sex life made looking past disagreements and frustrations easier. The passion we had between the sheets softened hearts and bonded us closer, seeming to heal open wounds. Even though we did not see eye to eye on many subjects, bed was one place where we had always been compatible in every sense of the word. It was the one place where we communicated and reciprocated each other’s desires. Even though our entire world seemed to be falling down around us; at least we had one another. We both knew this and it made everything easier.
A few years later, what now seems to be a blink of an eye, all of those beautiful teenagers have moved on and into their own lives. I look back on those times and am shocked that we made it through. Each of our children are well-adjusted, self-sufficient, and pretty amazing individuals. The truth is, that we may have done a million things wrong while raising up those kids, but the one thing we did right was saving us. Because now that they are gone, us is really all we have. Well, that and a great sex life…