I’m going to be completely honest here: I thought my husband Chris and I weren’t going to make it as a couple after our son was born.
Instead of banding together as a team and learning how to parent together, we tried to take on the new challenge of parenting like the stubborn individuals we sometimes are. We didn’t support each other as much as we should have and bickered over everything from how to dress our son to who got to soothe him when he was upset. Needless to say, our marriage was not exactly The Notebook-worthy at this point.
Looking back, our relationship had never really been tested. We were two relatively happy people whose biggest stressors were our jobs. For us, having a kid was like going through the college admissions process when you’re in first grade—it was freaking hard.
The bickering eventually died down and we learned to work as a unit. But while things were working smoothly on the surface, I still kept remembering our past issues. I mean, we had drawn-out fights over putting our kid in onesies vs. T-shirts—were we going to be okay?
It didn’t happen overnight, but I slowly started to get over the things that had been such an issue in the past. One day I looked at Chris and got that same feeling I had when we first started dating. I got the warm-fuzzies again the next day while laughing hysterically as he whipped out every funny face in the book to make our son smile. After months of zeroing in on the negatives, I had suddenly started to focus on all of his positive attributes—he’s a good guy, great dad, and pretty easy on the eyes. And then it hit me: I had fallen in love with him all over again.
I’ve always thought that concept was total crap. I mean, how can you fall in love again with the same person if you already went through the whole “falling in love” thing with them? I was floored when I realized that it had actually happened to me.
According to Los Angeles-based psychologist Erica Marchand, Ph.D., it is possible to fall in love with the same person again—it’s just a different feeling since that sense of newness is no longer there. She also says it’s not uncommon since most marriages have periods of growing apart and coming together. Those especially happen after transitions like having a baby or changing jobs.
Pre-baby, we would always explore cool restaurants or take trips together—at least once a week, we’d do something new. After our son was born, those little adventures slowed to a trickle. We recently took a vacation—our first one in three years—and it was clearly overdue.
“Our brains crave a certain amount of novelty to remain engaged and interested,” says Marchand, and clearly we weren’t getting it. She says that doing new activities is a great way to shake a lull because it promotes the production of the love hormone oxytocin, which helps couples bond together.
With that in mind, Chris and I have started making a point to do new things together. While it’s not as easy as it used to be, we’ve hit up sports games and checked out new cities more in the last six months than we have in the past two years. Our son is usually along for the ride, which is awesome, but we’re trying to create more adults-only time, too.
I’ve had a blast, but frankly I’m just glad that we’re back. Finally.
Korin Miller is a writer, SEO nerd, wife, and mom to a little one-year-old dude named Miles. Korin has worked for The Washington Post, New York Daily News, and Cosmopolitan, where she learned more than anyone ever should about sex. She has an unhealthy addiction to gifs.