My husband and I have been patting ourselves on the back lately for our elevated marriage game.

Between the years of 2008 and 2014, when we were pregnant, post-natal or pining over the many hours of lost sleep, we struggled to prioritize any time for just the two of us. There were dinner dates, micro-vacations and a handful of private moments between bedtime stories and Breaking Bad marathons, but not much else.

We loved each other, but we often missed each other.

Now our daughters are almost six, almost four (their distinctions, not mine) and recently two. Our kids are becoming more interactive (which makes family time so much fun!) and more independent (which allows my husband and I more private time).

As we move away from the baby stage and into this new family phase, it gets easier and easier to reconnect with my parenting partner and best friend.

I love that we can leave them in the care of a great babysitter, for example, while we sneak away to catch some live music or a bite to eat. I love that they will occupy each other while my husband and I sip coffee and share the paper over breakfast. I love hearing more about his day and sharing more about mine without straining to listen over the sound of someone crying (usually a baby, sometimes me). I love it all.

Don’t get me wrong – we still have those challenging moments when we’re trying to discuss something urgent and important while one, two or three kids are begging, demanding our attention. We still put our marriage on a shelf now and then. We know there are more challenges ahead.

But I can’t help but get excited for the next few years, for the new memories we can make together as a family, and the old ones my husband and I can revisit as two kids in love.

It gives me butterflies, actually.

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