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Challenge: Romance After Kids

If you don't take care of your house, it might fall down.

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My husband and I got married the year after we met. Over the course of the next three years, we lived in three houses we named The Beach House, The Bay House and the Blue House. None of these were our Forever House – in fact, when he got his airline job I was afraid we were going to have to move. (That’s another story for another day.)

But one morning, as I walked downstairs holding newborn Adelyn in our 100-year-old Victorian rental, he said, “I found it. I found our house.”

We drove to see it that day, and continued to drive by it for the next two months until it was ours. That evening, in the glow of the falling sun, we ate Chinese food on the cold tile floor as Eli wheeled Addy around in her walker, bursting with delight.

My fortune cookie read:

Everything must have a beginning.

Now, we’re many chapters in.

We’ve been slowly fixing up our house since that night. Immediately, we changed every doorknob and toilet seat. We took down the mismatched blinds and hung new window shades. We paid a crew to clean years of someone else’s life out of the grout, watching in awe as it morphed from black to gray. We’ve patched holes, made new ones, and patched those, too.

I’m saying “we” a lot. Mostly, I watched. My husband loves a project. (He’ll tell you he doesn’t, but as soon as he finishes one, he’s on to the next. If you need him, he’ll be at Lowe’s.)

Soon after we moved in, my Aunt Carol gave us this really cool clock. Jared took it out of the box and headed to the garage for his drill. A few hours later, while I was bathing the kids, I heard strange noises coming from the kitchen. He had placed the screw into the wall while the pocket door was inside. When he finally got the pantry closed, and we emerged from the tub, Eli said, “It’s not so bad, Dad. It only has one eyebrow.” That door winked at us for a long time until we replaced it this year.

In an older house – or any house, I’m sure – there’s always something that needs doing. Fixing. Replacing. Patching. Painting.

Working on the house together is some of the most fun we’ve ever had. I’m not as handy as he is, but I can hold a brush. When we moved in, every single wall was the same shade of green. Lucky for us, it wasn’t an obtrusive one. Over time, we’ve changed our colors … missing the mark a few times and hitting closer to baby blue before finally discovering Sherwin-Williams’ “Modern Gray” and vowing never to stray again.

Most recently, we laid plank over those cold tile floors and created a beautiful stone fireplace. But there was one room left to conquer – our bedroom.

There’s nothing like a good paint job to spice up your marriage.

If Jared feels love through quality time, I feel it through laughter. Painting together, we both get something we need. Remarkably, the kids played quietly for hours while we taped and trimmed and rolled as a team.

In any relationship, it’s important to know who you are as individuals, but it’s also nice to remember what brought you together. Boy, that man can make me laugh.

Just like your house, a marriage takes work – and home improvement can lead to more improvement than you think. I know I could use a little touching up, but Jared takes me as I am. Covered in paint, I was reminded I can always be every bit myself around him.

It looks like I picked a good one. (Paint color, that is.)

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