How I’ve Stopped Marriage Burnout Before It Started, With 2 Babies And A Business

When you first realize you love someone romantically, it’s like a spark has been lit in your heart. The more time you spend with that someone, the more this spark is fueled, and before long your whole heart is set ablaze with love.

I tried coming up with a more original reference than fire, but honestly, it’s just so fitting.

Just as this love-fire is fueled by every little thing your someone does at first, so too is it dampened by the strains of responsibility and stress.

I’ve been finding myself missing my old fire more and more, lately.

My husband and I first officially got together when we were 19, just a month shy of his 20th birthday. That will make an entire decade next year from when my life was first changed forever.

Just like any fresh young couple, we couldn’t get enough of each other back then. We both lived with our parents at the time, so we jumped at each and every opportunity to be together. We grossed out all of our friends with our syrupy sweet PDA.

Those were the five alarm blaze days.

First kiss as Mr & Mrs What are we doing with our arms, tho?

Then just a little over 4 years after we first got together, after a year-long engagement, we got married. We spent our newlywed years working and putting away money, throwing parties with our friends at our apartment, and drinking Bud Light Platnium and playing Gamecube on Saturdays.

Of course there were challenges to being around one another all the time. We quickly learned which quirks and eccentricies we didn’t care for in each other, and with the pressure of mortgage and career changes on us, we began to have more disagreements. But with relatively few pressures aside from that, we were still very much on fire.

And then, not even two years after we said “I Do,” we said hello to our first son, and not even two years after that, we welcomed his baby brother. While it was terrifying getting used to being responsible for a tiny human being, these two have added a beautiful, loving dynamic to our relationship that we wouldn’t change for the world.

In the midst of all of this, my husband has been a business owner, and recently has taken on the role full time.

And although we are humbled by the blessings that are our sons and his business, I won’t lie, it’s been rough on our relationship.

It scares me to say that for a while there, I’d felt my fire start to turn to embers.

What Happened?

Handling two under two has been relatively easy for me, with the exception of some bad days here and there. But, as you can imagine, it takes up all of my time. I’ve touched on how I’ve struggled to maintain my own identity outside of motherhood in a previous post, but I feel it’s just as important to hang on to who you and your significant other were before children. While Mom and Dad are incredibly significant roles, Husband and Wife are just as much so.

Not a very flattering shot of me, but a great one that shows how much of a loveable goofball my man is.

I read somewhere that tragically 2/3 of couples report significant unhappiness in their relationships within 18 months to three years of the birth of their first children. And even more tragic, many of these relationships ultimately end in divorce.

And as much as I hate to say it, I get it.

Between doing all you can to keep your child(ren) alive and well, keeping up whatever household tasks you can, making sure bills get paid and rent/mortgage is good for the month, performing at your job, and trying desperately to keep up with friends and family and their needs, marriage/relationships often fall in the cracks.

If you think of these things in terms of the analogy we used earlier, it’s almost like each of these things are like heavy wet leaves, dampening the flame that was burning so strong before. And if you’re not careful, the flame can go out altogether.

Like I mentioned before, I had been seeing these things in my own relationship with my husband. Not too long ago, we were going through a rough patch where we got into arguments almost daily, and while I can’t speak for him entirely, I think we both got a little bit resentful of each other.

I know the pressure has been real for my husband with his business. And though he works so hard each and every day, he still takes time to be an amazing Dad.

But I won’t lie, I had been feeling just a little bit neglected.

I know there’s a ton of articles and blogs on how to keep a healthy marriage, and I may duplicate some of these points, but here are some “Best Practices” I had been trying to get over this turbulence and reignite my flame.

Almost 5 years into our marriage and almost 10 years together and he’s still every bit a loveable goofball as ever. Never change!

Talk It Out

It’s been said time and time again, but it’s worth mentioning once more–communication is key.

And not just when you have a disagreement. I mean conversation, like you used to have when you were dating. I’m talking those deep conversations you used to haveย in your significant other’s car until 6AM that made you fall ass over tea kettle in love.

We would talk about the house, the kids, the business plenty. All important things. But I’ve come to realize that we were starving for those old talks.

I’m trying to make it a point to talk with my husband about anything other than our daily work, even if I have to find a prompt online. Just talking has done wonders for us so far.

Put A Pin In It

I’m not proud of it, but I had gotten into the habit of saying some pretty mean things to my husband when we would argue. I would just get so aggravated and felt like I wasn’t being heard. And with Mom Brain in full force, I would have a hard time articulating what I wanted to say. So I would lash out.

I recognized this after a while and knew it wasn’t healthy for either of us. So now when we have a disagreement, I’ll let him know when I need a minute to collect my thoughts, and to walk away before I say something mean.

But if I’m mad enough, I’ve managed to change my approach from, “You’re such a (mean word here),” to “Why are you acting like a (mean word here)?”

This change in how I clap back prompts him to respond with, “I’m not,” and he’ll explain where he’s coming from. By doing this, I vent out some of my frustration, and I get to understand how he’s feeling and we are better able to smooth things over.

Get Close

We used to be so affectionate when we were first dating, and physical affection is super important to my husband. I had been feeling a little bit detatched, so I was not reciprocating his attempts at affection, nor going out of my way to give any. Naturally, this put a rift in between us.

I don’t know about you, but being in the trenches with potty training, while caring for an infant and maintaining the organized chaos that is my home, along with my writing “work,” and the pressures of keeping up with a social life burns me out. At the end of the day, the last thing I want is the hand on my knee. You know the one…

I’ve been trying little things to remind my husband, and myself, that I’m still very much attracted to him and want to be close to him. Even if I’m not feeling particularly affectionate, I’ll try to hold his hand for a minute, or run my fingers through his hair. Or better yet, hug him.

Hugging releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone. It’s good for you, and the person you’re hugging. I highly suggest asking your SO at randomย if you can give them a hug. It’s kind of like smiling even though you don’t want to.

Studies have shown that if you smile even though you’re not particularly happy, eventually it will actually make you feel happy. I feel like it’s the same thing with hugs and relationships. Even if you don’t feel particularly affectionate or loving, hugging for a little bit might make you actually feel loving. It’s been working for me.

Log Off

Hi, my name is Melissa, and I’m a Social-MediAholic.

I have a social media addiction. My husband has a mobile-gaming addiction. When we’re not caring for children or building estimate for electrical work, you can find us with our noses in our smartphones.

Or at least, you used to.

I’ve recently started a social media fast, and it’s made a difference in the way I feel. It’s been bumming me out subconsciously, and I’ve been carrying it into other aspects of my life. Now that I’m not on it so much, I’m much more aware of what’s going on around me, and it’s made me more open with my husband.

I know social media can be an escape for some, and it’s a great tool in keeping up with relatives and old friends. I suggest limiting its use, though, and if you must be on it, try to involve your partner in what you’re looking at. If you don’t already, make it a conversation.

“Hey, did you see so-and-so is doing this? Maybe we should try that sometime!” Or,ย “Tell me you’ve seen this meme!”

Never. Stop. Dating.

I know this is easier said than done, especially the more kids you have, but I cannot stress enough the absolute importance of taking time to “date” your significant other.

Even with all that we have going on, my husband and I have agreed to try to carve out a certain time on a certain day each week just for us.

Childcare can be hard to come by, and with our budget a night on the town won’t be in the cards for a while. Regardless, we make our time and make the most of it, usually from the comfort of our own home.

Whether hanging out on our porch for an hour before the sun goes down, or making fun of a bad movie together after the kids are asleep, we use this time to be engaged with each other, with no distractions. It’s made a difference.

Say Thank You

I realize I struck absolute gold when I found my husband. As much as he irritates me sometimes, I really do see that I’ve been blessed with this man. He’s a hard worker, an amazing father, compassionate, funny, and gorgeous.

And I know once in a while he needs to be reminded of that.

I’ve tried to make it a point to thank him each day for something different, whether it’s for changing x amount of diapers that day, washing the dishes, or even for just being patient with me on a bad day. I realize how much he’s expressed his gratitude for me, and I used to thank him a lot more when we were dating and in the early days of our marriage. Now that I’ve brought it back, I see the changes it’s made in both our moods.

I recommend thanking your SO every day, even if it’s just for being them.

Holy throwback! Us at 19 and 20
And us at 28

Love is a beautiful, blessed thing. It should never be taken for granted.

Sometimes, yes, it takes a little work. But everything that’s worth anything does.

What have you Mamas done to keep things fresh in your marriage/relationship? Any other words of wisdom? Let us know!

Thanks for reading, my gals! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

๐Ÿ‘€If youโ€™re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you donโ€™t miss any updates! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ And if youโ€™re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿค—

๐Ÿ“‹ Upcoming Content: Two Vs. One: How To Survive 2 Under 2 and Battling Body Dysmorphia As A Mom



๐Ÿ’Our Proposal: The Prologue To Our Family๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ

Hello, my Gals! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜
So I am 34 weeks with baby number 2 as of writing this! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐ŸคฐIt happened so fast! โฒ๐Ÿ˜จ
In my post about my third trimester with Vinny, I mentioned that I had to get my ring cut off due to me leaving it on swollen fingers for far too long. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Needless to say I was not having that happen again! ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿ™…
At 33 weeks, while I was still able to take my wedding and engagement ring on and off with relative ease (it did start to leave a bit of an imprint, though), I took that lil muh off, stored it in its original home and switched it with my temporary ring! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’Ž
Please excuse my super dry hands and naked nails.Those prenatals make them grow, tho!
Back in November, I had gone to Charming Charlie’s and found this cute lil fella for about $8! ๐Ÿ™Œ I figured it would be cute for Valentine’s Day time, which is when little Mikey is due. ๐Ÿ’˜๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’‹
So, while on the topic of rings, I thought it would be fun to share my proposal story. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’ I like that kind of stuff, and I know some of you might, too, so I figured why not? ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
Before I tell you the actual story proposal, though, let me take you further back in time a little bit. โณ

๐Ÿ—“Leap Day, 2012โ„

โ„I’m leaving my then boyfriend’s house. More accurately, his parents’ house, where he was living at the time.
When you’re a young adult (we were 21 at the time ๐Ÿป๐Ÿฅƒ๐Ÿ˜‚) still living with your parents, sometimes things can get a little heated when you don’t see eye-to-eye. Around this time, there was a little healthy tension between my boyfriend and his parents, and he started getting some phase of life blues.
He walked me to my car in the heavy snowfall, no jacket on, no socks under his old sneakers. I could tell something was up, so I asked him. He took my hand and reiterated to me that he felt “trapped,” and like he wanted to get out from under his parents’ roof and start our lives already.
๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’“My heart fluttered when he said “our.” I looked him in the eyes and before I knew what I was saying, out my mouth came;
“Then let’s leave together right now and get married.” I looked earnestly into his eyes, stepping closer so that we were chest to chest. “Town Hall is still open. We can stay at a hotel until we find an apartment. I think I have enough for a week at an okay place…”
It was definitely wishful thinking, and I know it sounded ridiculous as I said it.
But a tiny part of me sincerely hoped he would say yes. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž
He laughed. “You know I would love that,” he said, his genuine love pouring through his deep brown eyes and directly into my heart. “But that’s not what I want for us.” ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—
I laughed and rolled my eyes. “Okay. But you let me know if you change your mind.” I joked.
๐Ÿ’After a few kisses, I got in my car to go back to my father’s house to work on my sociology homework (I was a senior in college at the time).
About an hour into the essay I had hella procrastinated, my grandmother who had been living with us at the time came home, and she stopped in front of my door. I felt her stare at me for a moment, and I turned to see her with the biggest sugar-eating grin I had ever seen. She continued to stare at me for a bit. ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€
“May I help you?” I finally teased.
“Do you know what day it is?” My grandmother asked, still wearing her Cheshire grin.
“…Leap Day…?” I replied.
“No,” she smiled. “It’s Sadie Hawkins Day.”
“Oh, okay?” I shrugged.
My grandmother’s eyes lit up. “That means when a girl asks a boy to marry her, he has to say yes.”  ๐Ÿ’‘๐Ÿ’’
She smiled at my aghast expression for a moment, and then made her way to her room.
It was either the weirdest coincidence ever, or the woman somehow knew about my spur of the moment idea for elopement, and furthermore that somehow, some way, my wildest dreams were destined to come true.  ๐Ÿ’ญ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ญ
I mean I can’t say that my spontaneous suggestion was by any means an official proposal, but if he had agreed to elope with me, I would have gone with him so fast our grandkids would have whiplash. ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ˜‚
I’ve told my now husband this story so many times since then, and each time he just rolls his eyes and smiles to himself.
He doesn’t want to admit I asked him first. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

โ˜€First Day Of Summer, 2013๐Ÿ’ž

Fast forward a little over a year. I was just about to finish an opening shift when a coworker of mine had called out. ๐Ÿ˜“ So I volunteered to stay a couple hours on top of my shift to cover until someone could close.
My boyfriend had “Plans” for us that evening, so I couldn’t do a double (darnit ๐Ÿ˜‚).
๐Ÿ—ณI got out of work and rushed home to put on some very casual clothes, under the impression that we would be having a calm dinner at his parents’ and be relaxing before a weekend off. ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿน๐Ÿต
I pulled up to his parents’ house, thinking I was obscenely late, and sure enough, my boyfriend is late coming home from our friend’s house.
โŒšโฑIt should be noted that my husband has a bit of an on-time intolerance, if you will. He operates on what friends and family lovingly refer to as “Tony Time,” which means if something starts on the hour, you can expect him anywhere from quarter to half past at least. โฑ๐Ÿ™„
To be fair, with important things he’s a little bit better, but still.
So, I was a little irritated with him. He finally got home and I expressed my aggravation with his tardiness for probably the 9000th time in our then three-year relationship. I told him that if he was serious about being with me, he needed to make more of an effort to be on time, and that if he were ANYONE else, this constant lateness would have been a dealbreaker (being on time is very important to me ๐Ÿ’ฏ).
He took my hands in his and looked me deep in the eyes and promised me he would always keep trying.
Looking back, that emphasis on always… ๐Ÿคฉ
Then he excused himself to go up to his room and change, as he was in workout clothes at the moment, and asked if I wanted to go for a quick walk before dinner, to which I responded with a hesitant yes, as I was beat from my extra long day at work. But I could never pass up an opportunity to be out and about with him. ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐ŸŒฒ๐Ÿƒ
๐ŸคตHe came down after several minutes in a handsome button up shirt, a pair of classy dark jeans, and dress shoes. He had run some gel through his hair and dabbed some cologne on. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ˜˜
“We’re just going for a walk, aren’t we?” I asked, gesturing up and down to my comparatively scrubby ensemble, messy hair and after-work makeup. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
“Yeah, I just felt like looking nice…” he said, looking at the floor, fidgeting…
๐ŸžWe left his parents’ house on our usual route around his neighborhood. As we were leaving, he squeezed my hand and asked me, “So, what are you doing the rest of the week?”
I returned his squeeze and replied, “Ummm, working??” At the time I was pulling nearly full time hours, which he was aware of.
“Oh, yeah, that makes sense.” He muttered.
In his old neighborhood, there is a pond which has a bit of a natural “bridge” connecting it to a trailway around the pond, which in turn connects to another neighborhood–the neighborhood of his very early childhood. ๐ŸŒ…๐Ÿ˜
We used to love going on this trail through the woods, admiring the pond and the nature surrounding it. It was hella romantic. ๐Ÿ’‘๐Ÿ’•
However, this particular day the pond was flooded, so we had to turn around to go back to his parents’ house.
Once we got back, he led me to the swing-set that sat in his parents’ yard, saying he wasn’t ready to go back in. I was still tired, but shared his sentiment of wanting to stay out a bit longer and enjoy the nice weather. The summer sun was just beginning to set. I’ll never forget that beautiful evening. โœจ๐Ÿ”…
We swang side by side, hand in hand for a moment or two, just chit chatting without a care. After a bit, I yawned, and he turned to me and said, “Aww, are you tired?” He got up to stand in front of me.
“Yeah, it’s just been a long day,” I shrugged. He knelt down and took my hands. I thought nothing of this gesture, although looking back… ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ
“So,” he began, his voice wavering. “Remember when I asked you what you were doing the rest of the week?”
I snorted. “Yeah?”
“Well, when I asked you that,” he continued, reaching in his back pocket, shifting onto one knee…
๐Ÿ’”What I really meant was, what are you doing the rest of your life?”๐Ÿ’


That Sapphire, tho. ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ Sapphire is my birthstone and favorite stone, and apparently what they used to use in England to propose with, according to my husband. He planned the whole ring himself! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜

The first thing I saw was the Sapphire.
Its brilliance, complimented by the twin diamonds and rows of smaller diamonds shocked me. I stared at it for what felt like forever and like no time at all. I looked back at my boyfriend…or, who was to be my boyfriend for only another mere second or so…
“What is this?” was all I managed to say.
“I’m asking you if you would do me the honor of being Mrs. Ramon Antonio Ruiz.” He said, his eyes misting, earnest, and full of love, and full of anxiety.
๐Ÿ˜ณ๐ŸคฏThis is the moment when most girls would have begun their cute cry, with the hand over their mouth or hands over their eyes, fanning their faces and nodding through tears of joy. It was the classic “Hallmark,” “Every Kiss Begins With Kay,” “He Went To Jared,” “Netflix Original Christmas Movie” moment that sells so many rings a year. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ญ
But if you’ve been reading a while, you probably know I’m not like most girls. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ
๐ŸคฃAt this moment, Mel.exe stopped working, and I burst out laughing
“This is a bad joke!” I sputtered. “I hope you know this is a bad joke!”
My fiancee stared at me. “It’s not, though…I’m serious.”
I fought to regain my composure. I had just been so overcome and caught off guard that my all my brain could do was blue screen and send me into a nervous fit of laughter.
“Okay, okay!” I said, and then kissed him hard.
“So, that’s a yes, then?” He confirmed.
I nodded. “Yes.”
With that he put the beautiful, delicate ring on my finger, and the rest is history.

๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ˜˜Some pictures of us from our engagement, and some from our wedding September 20, 2014๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿคต

๐Ÿ’žWe’ll have been together for 9 years this Summer, and have been married 4 years as of this past September. It feels like it’s been this way my whole life.

๐Ÿ’—Maybe because my life truly began when we fell in love๐Ÿ’—
Even though his snoring can be heard from the four corners of the Earth, he can be a bit more of a homebody than I’d like at times, he can be a little bull-headed, he takes forever to leave places and keeps the server around way too long because he won’t stop chatting, and he still has trouble being on time, I could never, in a million, billion, zilion years, in any reality, imagine myself with anyone else. Ever. ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ
I had prayed for someone like him to come into my life since I was a child, I had prayed that I might have a chance to be married and have a family with someone amazing. I had prayed for a love like this…and to this day I still can’t believe that it’s real…
I don’t know what I did to deserve it, and I still wait for something bad to happen. I still wait to wake up from this dream.
But when he tells me he loves me, when he looks at me with those big, beautiful eyes, when he holds onto me with those big, strong, yet gentle, loving arms…I believe him.
And I love him. And our children. More than anything. ๐Ÿ’‘๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ž
๐Ÿ™I don’t know what I did to deserve this dream, but I thank God above that He blessed me with it๐Ÿ™

๐Ÿ“–So that’s our story! Thanks for reading all of that! ๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜™
๐Ÿ’ฌHow many of you are engaged or married? What are your engagement stories? If not, what is your fantasy proposal? Share in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my Gals! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ˜˜

๐Ÿ‘€If you’re new here, and if this or any of my upcoming content seems interesting to you, add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ™

๐Ÿ“‹Upcoming Content: What’s In My Hospital Bag Round 2, Why Time Away Makes Me A Better Mom, and My Son’s “Home-School” Curriculum: Toddler Months/Years