This year, my husband and I will have been married 10 years, together for 13, and the parents of two beautiful children. That's a long time to share a life with someone. My longest relationship prior to the one I'm currently enjoying was a mere four years, so I guess you could say we're still "going strong." In this time, we've definitely had our share of ups and downs, and I think we're still together largely because of all the ways my children saved our marriage. I also know it's not good to stay together for the children only, so hear me out.
When my husband and I first met, it was honestly one of those "sparks flying" kinda moments. We were young, kid-free, and into the whole late-night scene with little responsibilities. We happened to meet via mutual friends at an open mic we both performed (he, the drummer and I, the singer/guitarist) and it was a time in my life I'd just left a previous relationship and had little interest in pursuing another. But (there's always a but), we couldn't deny how magnetic our initial introduction was. It didn't take long before we were an official couple, making out in the car at midnight and planning things like dates and names for future children. I look back on those early days fondly, remembering the butterflies and that painful longing of needing to be near him. It's funny how we change as we grow both in and out of relationships, because now things are so, so different.
Now, while the butterflies aren't nearly what they used to be, and that longing has been replaced with a desire for "me" time, we've definitely grown up and evolved. I can't say everything was easy in the beginning, though. Actually it was, at times, pretty damn awful. We had communication issues from the start and he, an only child not accustomed to being in a relationship, didn't understand how to effectively share things (like time). He grew up with the world in his hands while I'd known mostly struggle. We've always been polar opposites but, again, it was undeniable that we were right for each other.
Once we had children, those things that made us so different from each other divided us all the more. While I fought through things, like severe postpartum depression (PPD) and body image, it was hard to see why we were ever together in the first place. I don't think parents should stay together for their children, unless there's a mutual love and respect to want the best for the kids and each other. My parents didn't have that (I grew up in a hostile living situations and my parents divorced early on) but I think my husband and I do. Which is why, despite any hardships, we've fought to make things work.
I want my kids to feel secure and loved. My wish for them is that they grow up in a house with parents who stuck it out, however hard, and with love. I can honestly say now, there have been times they were the sole reason we're still together and without them, we'd have parted long ago. I say this with a grain of salt because it's not their responsibility to become the proverbial glue that keeps their parent together, and yet they've unknowingly contributed to our success. Here are some of the things they've done that showed us how very worth it our relationship, and family, are.