October brings so many of my favorite things—cool weather, chunky sweaters, pumpkin everything, Colin’s and my wedding anniversary! October also means vacation in our household. You see, when my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we got to wondering why people only take one honeymoon. What prevents us from doing this every year? For many, the answer is kids. For us, it turns out the answer is nothing! So, for the last nine years, we’ve spent our wedding/anniversary date away from home. This got me thinking about all the things I’m grateful for in our childfree marriage. In honor of nine years with my hubs, here is a listicle with nine things I love about my childfree marriage:
- Relationship satisfaction. It’s no secret that kids will change a marriage. An article on fortune.com reads, “Comparing couples with and without children, researchers found that the rate of the decline in relationship satisfaction is nearly twice as steep for couples who have children than for childless couples.” Yikes! Colin and I were terrified of having kids for this very reason. Even back when I assumed we’d have kids one day, I dreaded having our relationship irrevocably changed. As the years went on, our relationship grew stronger and I started to fear kids even more than before. Thankfully, we realized that being childfree was a lifestyle we could choose.
- Ability to focus on us. Relationships take work but I think they shouldn’t feel like work. Or, at the very least, they shouldn’t always feel like work. It can be enjoyable, and obviously healthy, to strengthen your relationship with your partner. From time to time, I like to talk with my hubs and figure out where we can improve. Sometimes we ask each other random and generally silly ‘What If’ questions and discuss the similarities and differences in how we problem-solve. I’ve also been wanting to read “The 5 Love Languages” from the 90’s. That’s probably next on our list! (If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought!)
- Frequent date nights. Roughly 30 percent of parents haven’t taken a date night in six months or longer. Even to this utmost introvert, six months sounds like a really, really long time. My husband and I like to go out on date nights and I think they’re necessary for our relationship! Plus, I get cranky if my hubs and I don’t go somewhere fun in a while. True story.
- Being able to do our own things. Both Colin and I are hobby people. We like to have some sort of side project going on at all times. Over the years, these hobbies have evolved but we’ve always maintained some sort of separate interest. Why? Well, psychotherapist Arnie Kozak says it best: “If cultivating a relationship with ourselves is not worthwhile, what other relationships would be?” Time alone is an important aspect of relationships. If we had kids, it would become much harder to find time for hobbies and just good ole silence.
- Quiet evenings. If you have friends or family with kids, you know how their evenings look: They rush in from work, whip up dinner for their hungry children, run a bath, bathe one or more children, read a story, begin the bedtime routine, and of course deal with any battles that ensue from any or all of these things. I’m grateful for our evenings that consist of after-dinner coffee, walking our two pups, reading on the sofa, soaking in the tub, or just watching Netflix together.
- Spoiling our dogs. We’re avid dog-people but, even more specifically, we’re our dogs-people. We love our weird Boston Terriers to the moon and we enjoy catering to them. One has a booster seat for rides in our car (even typing that makes me wish I was kidding) and they both have all kinds of toys. They eat good-quality kibbles and see the vet regularly. Not only that, but we enjoy caring and, yes, spoiling. So what if we spend an hour perusing dog collars on Etsy, okay? We like having furbabies as opposed to real babies and our relationship doesn’t suffer for it. And while we’ve made it so neither one of our pups would ever make it in the wild, we like to think we’ve given them enjoyable lives in Suburbia.
- Sharing our money. While not every couple shares a bank account, this has worked well for us. Although, we could both probably stand to order fewer things from Amazon. It’s also nice to only have to divide our money two ways as opposed to three, four, or more as parents must. We don’t have to purchase diapers and onesies and we don’t have to save for anyone’s college.
- We ‘Get It.’ Being childfree can be amazing but it can also be isolating at times. At work, both my husband and I have been told the popular bingos about kids: You’ll change your mind. Just wait ’til you have kids. It can be frustrating to be surrounded by people who just don’t understand your lifestyle. It’s a beautiful thing when we get to come home and unwind and vent about people who just don’t ‘get it.’ To any parents reading this, sometimes we do bond over our complaints about you…#sorrynotsorry. It’s important to be with someone who just gets it!
- Traveling every year. As I mentioned at the outset, we love being able to take a ‘honeymoon’ every year. We’ve had the pleasure of sipping champagne in Virginia, watching the sunset in Sedona, walking the Vegas strip, sailing along the Neuse River, touring mansions in Newport, hot-tubbing on a cruise ship, listening to opera in London, and more. It doesn’t matter where we go, as long as we go. I feel really fortunate that we’ve been able to experience so many new places together and I can’t wait to experience all of the kitschy goodness of Niagara Falls this year!
What do you appreciate most about your childfree relationship? Let me know below!