This is sort of a personal post, but it's a big part of the decision my husband and I have made.
My husband and I are big snugglers. Every morning we set our alarm for half an hour before we need to get up to build snuggle time into our mornings. It's an important part of our day, ridiculous as it may sound. When we started out four years ago, everyone told us that this part of our relationship would pass, that we wouldn't always want to snuggle up on the sofa, that we'd tire of sleeping wrapped up in each other. But, if anything, we love it even more. It's who we are as a couple.
It didn't take long to see when we stayed at my best friend's house, to see that children make that incredibly difficult, if not impossible. We lay in bed that morning, and even though we had nothing to do with the kids, who were corralled upstairs and away from us, that peace would not come to us and it was time to get up. We had gone out the night before (Grandma babysat the boys), and we only slept for about four hours before the kids were running about, playing with the dog (named "Bob Barker" for a reason). Breakfast came late, after the kids were fed and cleaned up. We weren't even involved in the care of the kids; we were spectators. Yet our day was still dominated by the kids.
The entire weekend, even though we weren't the parents, we were never a couple. We'd snuggle up on the sofa and the oldest, T, would hop in between us. We love when he does that -- I think it's awesome that he's so fond of us even though he so rarely sees us. And we don't miss couple time when T is around. But it's a moment at a time, it's a day, it's not a lifetime. It's a day that we can leave behind us with hugs and an extended goodbye.
My husband and I sat in our car, leaving their house after that goodbye, in the silent car. The car is never silent; we always listen to the radio, a CD, the iPod, something. But whenever we leave a home with children, the first leg of the trip is always silent. It's something we find ourselves craving. We leave, thankful that the life of our friends, or our family, ruled by their children, is not our life.
If we lost our snuggle time watching TV, or if it instead involved a third party, we'd survive. Might even be nice once in awhile. If we didn't have dinner together, at the table, and instead had a kid to concentrate on instead of each other, a kid fighting for one of our attention, we'd manage. And if, instead of laying in bed together, lazily flopping from side to side, switching between snuggler and snugglee, we were instead deciding whose turn it was to tend to the children, it would be okay. I suppose. I say this with a heavy heart because with each potential "what if", I feel sadder and sadder, with an increasing sense of loss.
When people say that a child brings fulfillment, completes a marriage...I don't see that in our case. We fulfill each other. Anything that comes between us, even something that would be, I suppose literally, a little part of each of us, would hurt what we have. I cherish our time together. It's something that many of the couples we know lack, those with and without kids. But we're happy how we are. That's a pretty big thing.