Marriage Maintenance (with 9 kids).

I got so many wonderful comments about my post on our work with our precious Bubbly girl.  She had a rough day yesterday, but we talked it out.  Talked.  We never used to be able to do this.  It used to be that rough days involved tantrums, screaming and lots of physical aggression.  They don’t anymore.  I am so grateful for that.  We are making progress.  

FPD and I have been together since we were 17 and 18 years old.  When you’re now 35 and 36 years old, that’s a long time, half your life.  There isn’t a lot of thought that goes into maintaining a marriage when things have become habitual and the world around you moves at light speed.  There are A LOT of other people’s needs to attend to.  We become each other’s last priority.  Always.  After awhile, that takes its toll.  We spend all of five seconds together every day as we run the kids here and there, address their emotional needs and then find time to work outside the home to pay for all the aforementioned activities and needs.

We’re kind of falling apart.

This has happened before.  It’s not easy to live the way we do, and we’re by no means perfect.  I’m not easy to live with…at all.  My Type A personality clashes with FPD’s laid back nature and I sometimes get irrationally and inappropriately angry about how he isn’t living up to what need him to be.  He’s not trying hard enough, he’s not anticipating what I need, he’s not doing it my way.  Ouch.  In turn, he gets angry that I’m constantly yelling at him, so he yells back.  It becomes a yelling fiesta.

It becomes especially bad when, in the middle of all of it, we’re adding another kid.

I always take the lead on the adoption paperwork because of the aforementioned Type A/control freak personality.  That stress is usually just enough to tip me over the edge from borderline nuts to completely insane.  When you add in the fact that Poppy isn’t totally medically stable, well, stick a fork in me…I’m done.  I’m always priority 456 for FPD and he has just fallen off my radar completely.  In fact, in this stage, he becomes more of an annoyance than anything else.  What a good relationship to model for our kids!  How sad!

We were honest with them last night, that these last couple of weeks have been rough, but that we care about each other enough to realize that we’re in a rough patch and that we’re going to find a way to prioritize each other again, because we need to be important to each other.  That’s what I want to model for them, that this isn’t easy.  A marriage takes work.  We’re not always going to agree.  We’re human.  We fight.  But, we don’t just give up.  This will get better, it always does.  It’s just hard right now.

–FullPlateMom, who is just plain tired.

Postscript:  Comment moderation is enabled.  I’m not interested in hearing how I ‘have too many children’ or I’m a ‘whiner.’  Those kinds of comments don’t get published, because they’re untrue.   I don’t have ‘too many children’ and this is honesty, not whining.  Thanks though.  

5 thoughts on “Marriage Maintenance (with 9 kids).

  1. I think that realizing there is a problem is wonderful. That you two are so willing to then work on it is even better!

  2. Really enjoy the honestly, with us and with your kids! I think that’s a great lesson for their future relationships.

  3. I would so like to suggest you look into the Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) of Dr. Sue Johnson which is based on attachment theory of John Bowlby since EFT has great data behind it showing a 75% success rate. If you want to check EFT, out Dr. Sue Johnson has a website: Her latest books are Love Sense and Hold Me Tight which both my husband and I have read. Both of us think this is the best option for couples therapy and are looking for someone to do an Adult Sunday School on it this Fall at our church in Ann Arbor, MI. It is also a great book for any marriage in terms of communication.

    I so get where you are coming from as I am intimately involved in my daughter’s family of 9 and I grew up with 5 brothers. Another book to consider for your Summer reading is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It also is available as an audiobook. FPD might like that one as it is very affirming.

    Praying for both of you and Dolly too. With Love and Prayers……….Marilyn

  4. Oh FPM…you speak such truth. The reality is that the fights that cue you to remember to return to being priorities in each others lives are probably the very thing that will ensure that once all of your children are grown and gone you can return to being a couple again. Too many people completely abandon their spouse during the time when their children are growing and then find that when they’re gone, they don’t even know one another anymore. You guys ARE in it for the long haul and it shows. Even if you don’t think you’re priorities in each other’s lives most of the time, those of us on the outside who come into your home or spend time with your family can see your love for each other. We can feel it. It’s in the room whenever the two of you are. As always, you keep it real and that’s so empowering for those of us in the same boat.

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