The Bubble Popped (Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby, Part Six)

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The day after my decision to change my story about Matthew, nothing particularly notable occurred. And yet, there was a change: subtle, yet obvious. I sensed that Matthew sensed my new perspective. Maybe it was my eyes–softer now, easier. Maybe it was my tone of voice, my body movements. Whatever it was, the small differences truly made a difference, even though for a long time that’s all there were.

Matthew was more helpful. He was happier. He bought me flowers. But the best changes were the less obvious ones. There were more smiles, more loving conversations—and a lot more conversations overall. It was like since Poppy was born we’d been living in a bubble of irritation without knowing it and suddenly the bubble popped and disappeared. Together we realized what we’d been missing out on.

We realized we were breathing again.

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Of course, seeing the best in my husband wasn’t all it took to overcome the assault of early parenthood; for me, doing so took three years of fighting and learning. Which is why during those three years, my advice-collecting practice continued in earnest till my list of lessons looked something like this:

    • Change Your Story
    • Don’t Fight; Just Talk Instead
    • Don’t Make It Into a Big Deal
    • Be Uncomfortably Nice
    • Shamelessly Bargain
    • Apologize Every Chance You Get
    • Brush Up on Your Endocrinology
    • Change Your Partner the Right Way
    • Don’t Defend Yourself
  • Appreciate the Gift

Admittedly, some of the advice was odd. Simplistic. Optimistic. Overly so, probably, on all counts. But when I followed it, a funny thing happened: my perspective on my relationship changed dramatically. No longer did I feel overwhelmed by the task before me, that of ensuring my marriage survived parenthood intact. The tricks gave me confidence in my husband, in my relationship skills and, finally, in myself.

They make me feel like I had some power.

There was only one problem: At times, I was unable to use that power. When I first set out on her parenting adventure, I realized it wouldn’t be easy. What I didn’t predict was the magnitude of my emotions, their ability to override all logic. Because of this, and because of the challenges Matthew and I faced, things did change in my marriage after we became parents, just as I feared they would.

And some of those changes were permanent.

Read the rest of the series at Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Novel.

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More to Read:

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Knowledge Checklists: Filling My Educational Gaps, One Subject at a Time

200 Spiritual Practice Success Stories

Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Novel

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