Approaching the Seven-Year Itch :: Putting Our Marriage Front And Center

While I don’t consider getting married an accomplishment, I have come to consider staying married an accomplishment. Choosing to stay in a relationship and love someone through years of change is pretty incredible. We start marriages with the promise of forever, knowing that is not meant for every marriage.

This year my husband and I will be married for seven years. We’ve spent the last two years in a pandemic — and in and out of quarantine with two very young children. These years have been stressful, and it’s been difficult to juggle the demands of our relationship with our children and careers.

In spite of that, we feel lucky to have weathered the financial, emotional, and social storms of this time together. I can say that truthfully and honestly because we’re now on the other side of those stressors.

I started a new business in 2019, just before I had our second baby. Any time you have a baby, you and your partner change. Having kids takes a lot of energy and focus, especially if they’re 20 months apart. Having uninterrupted time to talk or even problem solve with my spouse went to the bottom of our growing to-do lists. There were times our relationship suffered because we didn’t know how to prioritize it once we had children. Having two under age 2 was hard but also helped us learn how to work better together and how to steal time until we could make time. It was an unexpected curveball of parenthood and I’ve learned that, pandemic or not, it happens to most couples.

However, living through 2020 was particularly disruptive for me as a new business owner and mother of two, and it took me awhile to adjust. Which means my marriage had to adjust. It wasn’t always easy for me or my husband to process how these new roles changed me and our lives; although the changes were good, they were hard to manage at a time when everything else was changing too. At this point, I’m still disappointed that we have to live through a pandemic, but I’m glad we have been able to stay grounded in the goals we set for our relationship and family.

Now that we can make time, we do. At the beginning of the pandemic, our youngest was 4 months old, but now the boys are 4 and 2 years old and have (mostly) regular childcare. So once a month my husband and I have a day date, and we alternate Fridays and Sundays as our “family day.” Our work schedules are more regular, and we can keep a family calendar. We have some planned dates and some spontaneous dates, and we feel like we’re able to enjoy one another’s company as a family and as a couple. This isn’t all to say nice dates will heal the pressure that the last two years have put on your relationship. But making time to prioritize your relationship and partner will change your relationship for the better.

Dashanna was born in Michigan and raised between there and Virginia. She moved to Massachusetts in 2011 after getting a bachelor’s degree in English and gender studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She married her favorite Massachusetts native (Tom) seven years ago. Together they have two sons, Lucas and Isaiah, born in 2018 and 2019. Becoming a parent ignited a passion for supporting others, and Dashanna became a doula before the birth of her second son. She is now the owner of Caring for Mamas, working with families all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She loves fresh-squeezed lemonade, good music, and helping and supporting families.