I have an incredible, lengthy, dramatic (almost delightfully trashy) story about how my husband and I met. But for the gist of this piece, what you need to know is that we met online, lived eight hours away from each other, and had to meet in person halfway once the time was right. We had known each other for a long time before we met in person so when we met in person, we already knew that our love was legit. We knew we had real feelings for each other. We already had an idea that we were in this for the long haul. We had already discovered our love language. So when we met halfway, we met at this luxurious hotel and had a whole weekend to explore, eat delicious food, drink delicious drinks, sleep in… you know… be on vacation.
We quickly learned in that atmosphere that our love languages (head here if you’re not familiar with the term: The 5 Love Languages) were quality time and touch. (You know… two adults… newly together… alone in a hotel… touch was a BIG one that weekend…)
In fact, through most of the first part of our relationship, we focused on those two love languages being the same. We meshed well. We had the same desires and the same needs, in sexual and non-sexual ways. Life was so good. It was easy. And carefree. And full of romance.
And then I got pregnant.
That’s how romance works, right?
But really. I got pregnant. And it all changed.
Call me a liar but I knew I was pregnant about two weeks in because I couldn’t button my pants from being so bloated, I was nauseous, had no appetite and fell asleep at 7:30 p.m. on my birthday. I woke up the next day and knew something was up. My gut was telling me (in many ways) that I was pregnant.
Then I spent nine months feeling like absolute garbage. I barely left the couch. I had restless legs, insomnia, vertigo, no appetite, pelvic pain… at some point had bronchitis and cracked a rib from coughing so hard… WHILE having a child inside my guts pressing on those same ribs.
Then, I had our daughter. And labor tore. me. to. shreds. Then I had to learn how to nurse a baby. And failed after not too long. And still tried to pump. And suffered from anxiety. And wasn’t sure how we’d pay our bills. And wondered, “HOW ARE DIAPERS SO EXPENSIVE?” And I’d be covered in spit-up and poop and survived on 3 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period (when I was lucky…)
And then my husband would come home from work…
You know how this goes, ladies.
“The baby is napping,” he says, “… we might have 3 minutes… you ready?”
And you’ve never actually contemplated harming another human until this moment but you find yourself wondering like, do I poison his cupcakes? Do I look into purchasing a machete?
But usually, you just find yourself full of rage and laughing in your partners face.
My Love Language Had Changed
We lived for years speaking the same language when it came to intimacy and love.
Then I became a mom, and it all changed.
In those early days, I was touched 24/7 by this foreign human. And it was so draining. Lovely, of course. But also draining. So when my husband then wanted to be touched (get your head out of the gutter, ladies, I’m talking even just hugs, hand-holding, couch snuggles, etc.) I was the OPPOSITE of interested.
And quality time? My anxiety was so high that I couldn’t even get quality time with my own self let alone another human.
All I wanted was for my husband to clean the dishes. Do some of the laundry. Cook me a meal. Bring home flowers. Acknowledge that I had kept a human alive for another day.
I no longer wanted to be touched. And the “only child” in me longed for alone time.
I now wanted acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation.
My love languages have changed. It took us an embarrassingly long amount of time to realize that. Our fights, the tense moments, the snarky comments, were all because he was communicating in the way we used to… and I was longing for a new type of communication.
The only thing was… I hadn’t realized that. And I couldn’t verbalize it. Though the expectations were there, I was frustrated when I would try to share what I needed and my husband would respond in our usual way. And he was frustrated when he was responding in our usual way, but hadn’t realized that literally, everything had changed.
Lean Into The Change
And that’s the thing about kids. They change EVERYTHING. Our homes, our finances, our schedules, our thoughts… and our marriages. We all know that. We hear it. And we see it. But rarely are we encouraged to lean into it.
So, lean into it. I don’t care if you have a newborn or teenagers. Lean into what has changed. Discover what love looks like to you. Then, see how it’s the same (… and also different) from your partner’s desires. And give. And then take. And give a little more. Then take a little more.
I know it’s not easy. Maybe marriage counseling could help you both discern what your love languages are and how to use them to love each other better. It’s the month of love… let’s do our partners a favor (but also OURSELVES a favor) and learn more about what we need.
For now, I’m going to go spend some ALONE TIME with a bottle of wine while I read a nice card my husband wrote to me not too long ago. And I plan on touching NO ONE for like, at least another full hour.