By: Shannon Ralph
Reason #18: The kids.
When you have children with another person, something happens. Somehow your relationship—the relationship you thought could not possibly get any deeper—delves into new uncharted territory. Your “perfect” marriage suddenly, inexplicably becomes somehow better. Somehow fuller. Somehow whole. There is something about a shared love of little creatures that you—the two of you together—brought into your home and your heart that moves your relationship onto a completely different sort of plane.
Let’s be honest here. Kids can be a pain in the ass. I totally get it. From the moment they are born, they want to be fed. They want their diapers changed. They want hugs. They want kisses. They want you to read them stories. The same story over and over and over again. They watch stupid television shows that you just know will eventually lead to the demise of every single brain cell you possess. They wake you up at 3:00 in the morning by creepily staring daggers into the back of your head just to tell you that they can’t find the blankie that they are holding in their very hands. They are messy. They are loud. They make you sick. They bring home illnesses that would have hitherto been eradicated in the adult population were it not for snotty-nosed little kids. They are demanding of your time. Of your attention. Of your money.
They fight with one another. They turn us into referees. And cab drivers. And doctors. And nurses. And psychologists. And lunch ladies. And sanitation workers. And a dozen other occupations that we purposely avoided when charting our career paths because we had no desire to do them. They drive us nuts. They make us question our capabilities. They make us question our entire belief system, at times. They make us question everything we ever knew.
But we love them anyway. We adore them. It makes no sense whatsoever. We have every reason to avoid children like the plague, but we can’t help ourselves. We love them with a devotion that is completely inexplicable by all laws of reason. We love them with our hearts and our souls and every single thing that makes us who we are. We can’t imagine our existence without them once they crash—kicking and screaming and peeing and pooping—into our lives.
When you are married to a person who feels the exact same way about your children as you do, it is an exquisite thing. You are connected on a level you never experienced prior to having kids. You know that, no matter what happens in your relationship, you share something that you will never share with another person in this world. There does not exist another person on this Earth who thinks your children are as sublimely awe-inspiring as you do. Only their other parent can love them the way you do. Only your partner truly understands that your children are smarter than all of your friends’ children. That they are cuter than any Gap Kids model. That they are the funniest. And the sweetest. And the most well-spoken. And certainly the best behaved children out of all of the children to have ever walked this Earth since the beginning of time. They put to shame all of the children you’ve ever met. Only the two of you know that you have single-handedly brought kick-ass perfection back into the world.
Yes, their grandparents love them. Yes, their aunties and uncles and cousins think they are pretty damn swell. Heck, even their teachers and coaches like them. But only you and your partner truly appreciate the complex, elegant, perfect souls that live in your house and eat your food and spend all of your money and make you old before your time. Your spouse is the only person whose love for your children is equal to your own. And that bond makes you strong. It makes you confident. It makes you capable of facing everything these children throw your way. Every curve. Every screwball. Every plot twist you do not see coming. And it makes you love your partner all the more.
That, my friends, is one more reason my marriage is just like your marriage.
(Disclaimer: This blog is obviously directed toward married couples with children. That is not to disparage in any way married couples who choose not to have children. Unlike the Catholic Church and Mitt Romney and Chick-fil-A and the “Vote Yes” folks, I am not a believer that procreation is the sole function of marriage. To have urchins or to not have urchins is a personal choice and I know some perfectly lovely people who have chosen not to have children. Frankly, I am a little bit jealous of their free-wheeling loveliness.)
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