The Importance of the "WE"
So, you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, or one of your friends or family members is pregnant, congratulations! Now is when the fun begins for the couple...
Having a baby is a wonderful way to bring more joy & love into your family. However, without a good foundation, a new baby could lead to frustration & resentment towards your significant other.
Now, I am speaking from personal experience, which will be completely different from every other persons' out there. However, I'm hoping that sharing my experience and perspective may help others in theirs.
My husband, Karl, and I are in a happy marriage. That doesn't mean we don't get frustrated and annoyed with one another. We get angry, we shut off, we bite our tongues, but at the end of the day and through it all, we love and care for each other more than anything else matters. So all of those disagreements soon become petty as we re-set knowing we not only love and care for each other but that we support each other through it all and focus on what is best for us, the "WE". From the everyday chores; drop-offs & pick-ups, dinner, dog walks, laundry, cleaning, the bath, and bedtime routine, etc., to the big things, like work, budgets, travel, and expenses.
These are the stressors that lead to challenges all couples face. It is hard enough on a couple's relationship, not to mention, throw a kid or two in the mix and all of a sudden you have a busy and stressful life on your hands.
Finding the silver lining in it all can be tough, so here is where I wanted to share a bit about our, my husband & I's, mindset towards relationships and how it has helped us in parenting. Although this may not be relevant to all situations, it has helped us in having a satisfying, loving & enjoyable partnership over the last 14 years.
A bit of history. Karl & I started dating when I was 20, he was 28 at the time, so you can imagine the strain on the relationship from the start. We were absolute opposites. We both hated each other when we first met. We didn't understand each other & were in such different stages of our lives, that everything we did annoyed the other.
We met while coaching competitive swimming. At the time, I was studying at University, lifeguarding, and coaching. My now-husband was working full time, well into his successful business career, and coached on the side for fun as he too grew up in the swimming community as a lifeguard and coach.
When we first met, I was a 19-year-old University student undergoing my Bachelor's degree spread across multiple subjects as I could not figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My days would consist of me going to school and coaching. I would often, if not always show up to the pool in my sweat pants, no make-up, hair in a messy bun. My priorities after coaching would be where I would be going out that night, regardless of the day of the week. Karl, on the other hand, would show up to the pool in his fancy Audi, wearing a well put together suit & tie, usually on the phone finishing his last calls of the day. He would always share a story of something that I could not relate to, something that happened that day; a business deal, a new customer, a new product or program he was working on, or even a girl he just picked up. My topics of conversation usually revolved around school, classes, exams, friend drama, parties, clothing, candy, lack of gas money, eating out, going out, etc... clearly very important things.
So, having nothing in common and coaching next to each other, we began to butt heads. As coaching was a fun extracurricular job for Karl, it was a serious job for me & my only source of income to pay for both my schooling & car.
All of the swimming kids and parents loved Karl. He was the fun coach! I, on the other hand, was much more strict and seen by parents and kids alike as a bit of a tyrant to the 9 & 10-year-olds. Both our swimming groups were talented and fast, but I just hated his fun methods, it angered me at times. Swimming was a serious sport for me & I wanted to instill those values in my swimmers. (Now I sound like a bit of a killjoy, but I promise you my swimmers did have some fun and loved me for the most part, I just had a different approach.)
Despite our drastically different personalities and priorities, we were able to make our relationship work by making a promise to each other from the very beginning. This is something every single couple can do. It sounds simple, but trust me, it's tough at first, but once you change your mindset, it becomes easy.
We promised each other to always put the "WE" first.
In a relationship, there is no me and you, there is only the "WE". We don't hide anything from each other, and although we don't need permission to do anything, we do always make decisions with the "WE" in mind. What is best for us and not what is best for me or you. We make all decisions together or if not physically together, then prioritizing the "WE". We support & don't hold each other back. If we don't agree and especially if we don't agree in front of family, friends or our Baby Luv, we simply stand by and support the other, and discuss it later in private.
It is the "WE" that makes for a strong relationship. It's this type of support that builds a strong foundation. He is my other half in every way and I truly do want the best for him. Sometimes what's best for him or me, is not what's best for us. So we discuss and make decisions to ensure the best for the "WE", which in turn is what's really best for each of us as it eliminates the strain on the relationship when prioritizing one person over the other. We constantly give each other advice and listen to the other's perspective before making any decision. It's not always easy, especially at first with such different personalities and priorities, but by prioritizing the "WE" above all else, we have surprisingly found ourselves in agreement when it comes to big decisions.
Relationships are what we make them. We choose to put us first. I never focus on what is best for Karl or myself, but what is best for us, the "WE".
By having a strong "WE", we have so far had a fun, loving & adventurous relationship.
Before baby, our family was just us, the "WE", and although our Baby Luv will be in our lives forever, he cannot be the main focus of our relationship, it must always remain the "WE". After our Baby Luv is grown & moves out, it will be back to just the two of us, and "WE" will need to stay strong in order not to lose the love & ultimately the reason why we chose to spend our lives together in the first place.
Focus on the "WE", strengthen the "WE" & never forget the "WE".
Baby is an adventure for the "WE" & "WE" are in this adventure together!