At this point we likely all know that it’s silly to compare yourself to others. It’s silly to compare your kids to others, and it’s silly to compare your marriage to others. But it’s also kind of impossible not to do, at least subconsciously.
My wife and I have struggled in the passion department since becoming parents (and a little bit before then, too). There are a hundred reasons why, and we are doing our best to work on it. But I’m also pretty content with our relationship, so the pressure I feel to get more passionate (and less companionate) is mostly just related to wanting to make my wife happy. However, sometimes we hang out with one particular couple who makes us feel like shit about our marriage.
They’re wonderful people and would never intend for us to feel less than when we’re around them, but we can’t avoid comparing. They are so incredibly lovey and smoochy and they whisper sweet nothings to each other when we’re all out to dinner – and they’ve been married for over a decade and have 2 kids. We’ve known them for almost as long as they’ve been parents, and they’ve always been like this. We walked home from a double date with them last night and ended up bickering about how we’re not in love like they are.
Here’s how this relates to motherhood for me: our friends admitted that they love each other more than they love their kids. I’ve heard of this from others before, and I can see how this priority would strengthen a family unit, but I cannot relate. And it sucks for my wife, because I think she can relate. Since I became a mom, I have loved my child with every ounce of my being. It put the love I had for my wife – which I’d thought was intense – into perspective. Love for your spouse can be strong and true and deep, but for me, it still can’t even hold a candle to my love for my child.
That’s a sticking point in my marriage, I think. An unspoken sticking point. It’s never easy to make everyone in your family feel equally loved. All I can do is keep working on making my wife feel loved as best I can. I may not feel affectionate these days, but I can only hope that will pass and I’ll start to once again feel the kind of passionate love that my wife needs to feel.