IMPORTANT NOTE: you can tell it’s important because i used capital letters and bolded them. when i answer this particular letter, it’s going to sound like i am assuming information about personalities that are not included in her letter. rest assured, i am not. this is someone i’ve known well for several years. so i am going to answer her as such. my answer will include something for everyone though. there will be cookies on all the shelves.
How do you get back to the fun couple who where so madly in love that people you haven’t seen in years noticed how happy you made each other? We’ve become the silent, snippy, go-to-our-separate-corners couple.
Granted money is beyond tight, we have a new baby boy and I’m recovering from pregnancy, so I’m a hormonal mess. I know there are plenty of factors to play a part in our mess. Nothing that isn’t fixable. But where to start? “Sorry” isn’t working. I can’t control my hormonal swings. I just apologize when I’m done, but that’s getting old for both of us. His job is not doing the best, but there’s not a big job market in our area.
We love each other, but have fallen out of love; seemed like it was overnight. Is it too much of going through the motions? There’s just no newness to it. I love this man and I know he loves me to be able to stay and put up with all this, but I don’t know what happened to us. It feels like we’ve been together for 50 years and have nothing else to do but bicker like my grandparents.
Help us find our newness…. The spark is gone how do we relight the fire?
I want the new relationship feeling back
i’m just going to start hitting you with
bullets bullet points. i’d tell you to take notes, but this is the internet and you can just copy and paste or print or whatever. okay? okay.
- cut yourself some slack – you’ve just had a baby. your second. his first. your collective world has just tilted like a teeter totter with the husky kid on one end. this is hard on even the best of circumstances. all the external stuff you mentioned plus lack of sleep (thank you, New Born, you little punk), plus another little one who needs all of you, adds up to stress and irrational responses. but that doesn’t mean the love is gone.
- bite your tongue – you and i both know you have a short fuse and justify your little rages far more than you should. your ability to convince yourself that you “can’t help it” should be an Olympic sport. she said with all the love in her heart. my love, you are going to have to put a muzzle on that mouth of yours. you cannot help your hormonal mood swings. this is absolutely true. but you can zip your pouty lips before you say something you’ll have to apologize for later. then read “it takes two to fight“.
- flattery will get you everywhere – tell him about all the things you respect about him. men need that. especially when they are struggling to provide. he’s feeling insecure and tired and probably a little less like a real man than he has in the past. the pressure he was already feeling just got amplified by about a 1000% when that little bundle of joy showed up. he needs your reassurance. telling other people about the good things about him will help you start to turn your own attitude around as well. but the first thing to do is just let him know you still respect him and why. for men, respect = love and assurance.
- date night – i know going out is probably not in the cards in the near future, so have a stay date once a week. clean house, nice dinner, a movie from Red Box…whatever. include the kids or wait until they’re both down for the night. just keep it consistent and make it sacred.
- touch – oh man, i know this is so hard right after having a baby. and i’m not suggesting you get it on like bunnies. there’s no way that can happen just yet. but affection can. snuggling, hand holding, a shoulder squeeze as you walk by…kissing good morning, good bye, welcome home or as congratulations for actually getting a shower…it all adds up.
- tart yourself up – again, i know it’s hard to find the time to do your hair and put on makeup, let alone the energy, but even if you only manage to do it for your stay date, give it a try. you’ll feel better about yourself and he’ll appreciate the effort.
i’m going to email you a letter i wrote about dealing with depression because a lot of it will be applicable to what you’re going through.
until then, breathe. the love isn’t gone, it’s just buried under life right now. give each other the benefit of the doubt and remind yourself why you fell in love in the first place.
if anyone else is interested in my letter about depression, let me know in the comments or email me and i’ll send it to you. it’s also helpful for anger and bad attitudes in general.
anyone have any other advice for my friend?
any sympathy for her situation?