I remember the first time I saw my future husband like it was yesterday. He walked into Cypress Bend, the restaurant below our dorm, while my sister and I were eating. He was wearing a blue and yellow jersey with a blue and yellow headband and blue and yellow sneakers, when that was cool, of course! I immediately called him over because I always knew what I want. I asked him his name. When he told me his name was Aaron, I must admit that I was a little disappointed. My ex-boyfriend, who I had recently stopped dating about a month prior, was also named Aaron. Trust me when I say that I was not ready for the sequel.
Aaron walked off, and about a week later, he asked a friend for my number. He called me and we went on our first date a few days later. It was magical. I sat in the car and gazed into his beautiful, brown eyes. I thought to myself, dang girl, you met your Prince Charming. From that moment forward, we were inseparable. We attended class together (classes that we did not have together). He came to 6 a.m. weight sessions to see me whenever he could. Of course, I wore my cutest sports bra and shortest tights every morning!
Aaron and I moved fast. Although I knew my parents would not approve, Ross (as I call him) lived with my sister and me in our off-campus apartment. Honestly, it was a blessing. It was as if he had always been in my life. My sister and I hated living alone off-campus, but his presence made us feel safe.
We had an unbelievable romance. A love that you could feel from miles away. A love that you could see in our walks and hear in our talks.
We had that fairytale love. That once in a lifetime love. The kind of love you see in movies.
In our first year of dating, I made my first Olympic team. I was living my dreams in every way. I was living my fairytale with my fairytale man.
I ended my collegiate track career early to compete all over Europe. While I was having success overseas, Aaron’s career was also taking off. By his senior season of football, he received the Jim Thorpe award, was a national champion, and selected 20th pick in the NFL Draft to play for the New York Giants.
I was so happy when he proposed in 2008, five years after our courtship, and even happier when we wed in 2010.
Everything was perfect with us. However, I guess I enjoyed talking about Ross and our love a little too much.
I will never forget the day. I was in Birmingham, England having dinner with a bunch of my U.S. Olympic teammates. We were talking about relationships, as we often did, and I was gloating about how awesome married life was! Tyson Gay, one of the fastest men in the world at the time said, “Well, you’re married to an NFL star, that’s that convenient love.”
CONVENIENT LOVE? What the hell does that even mean?
This was real love! Long before that “money” love, this is sincere love.
I was so hurt by his statement. I wanted to choke him. I am sure he does not even remember the conversation, but I did not speak to him for weeks. How dare he call my genuine, true, life-altering love, convenient!
I still don’t agree with what he said or how he said it. Yet after years of marriage, I understand the sentiment.
I guess I was with Ross for so long, I thought we had moved past the honeymoon phase and had settled into the everyday challenges of marriage. I hadn’t, we hadn’t.
I am so grateful that our honeymoon phase lasted almost 14 years before our love was tested. Boy, am I happy I didn’t divorce my soul mate.
When Ross and I had our beautiful son, it was the best thing to happen to us individually, so I could not understand why it was the worst thing to ever happen to our marriage.
Why were we for the first time so distant? So disconnected and so out of love… I guess because for the first time, our love was not convenient.
For so many years, Ross and I had the luxury to jump up and go on a dime. We moved when we wanted to, did what we wanted to, and had very few things holding us down.
Well, when you become a parent, all that changes. I do not think either one of us were really ready for it. There were days when my resentment for the notion that he could just up and go, leaving me with the baby, was so palpable.
During the first year of adjusting to parenthood, I really thought we might not make it. I thought after all the years we waited to become parents, after all the incredible love and memories we shared, my son may not grow up with both his parents.
Ross and I never spoke the “D” word in our marriage. Then, for the first time, I threw it around a lot!
I think postpartum hormones last longer than they tell you. I really thought our marriage was ending! Then without notice, love started to come back around.
Our baby Deucey kept getting bigger and more independent. Ross and I had better communication and my love for him started to grow again.
My heart fluttered when he walked in the room. I longed to see him when I traveled on work trips. I realized Tyson Gay was and is still wrong. Even when my love became “inconvenient” and the butterflies faded, marriage was still beautiful because there was absolutely no one I’d want to love on or fight with more than my Rossipooh!
I share this story in hopes of helping a mom out there who feels the way I did. Overwhelmed with the new emotions of falling in love with your baby and out of love with your spouse. It will be okay! Just don’t fall out of commitment.
Stick it out. Communicate with your spouse as much as you can and know that this too shall pass. During our marriage counseling, my pastor told us that love is not a feeling; it is a choice! You have to choose to love your partner every day. You cannot make your decisions off your feelings, especially when you are sleep deprived, hormonal, and caring for another human being who needs you to survive.
Cut yourself some slack.
Enjoy your new baby as much as you can while leaving space in your heart for your spouse.
Until next time,