09/03/2014 11:54 am ET Updated Nov 03, 2014

Finding Coupleness In Our Parenthood

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For the first 12 years I knew my wife, I was her one and only. And she was mine. We did everything together. We were "Pete and Gloria," the couple. Then came our first daughter in 2005. And our second in 2008. I want to say it happened slowly over time, but really it happened very quickly, I went from being first place to second. And I get it. I think I understand the love a mother must have for her children. Somehow, the kids understand it too. Lately, they've started to remind me: "Mommy loves us more"... "she gave birth to us." Mom is quick to remind them: "I love you all equally... I just love daddy differently." Then they tackle her when she tries to kiss me. Really, I think she's being nice. I know the truth. I see it in her eyes. She would walk to the ends of the earth for her girls... She'd do the same for me... but they'd come first.

There's no question, in the trajectory of our time together, we've entered a new phase in our relationship. We've gone from couplehood to parenthood... the question is: Will we ever see couplehood again?

Perhaps the biggest thing we've sacrificed for our kids is the couple-ness that brought us together in the first place. What's couple-ness? I think couple-ness is the walks in the park, and the drinks on the beach, and the unscripted Saturdays, and the lazy Sunday mornings that define you and your partner. Our couple-ness is changing. It's evolving. I don't want to wait another 20 years to be the folks in the Cialis commercial who finally have wine and romance when they realize the kids are grown and they can enjoy that time in their life. And I don't want to compete with my kids for my wife's attention because truthfully I think it IS important that they know and believe they're the most important things in the entire world for both of us.

I've come to one conclusion:
maybe I just need to rethink our couple-ness.

Last night when the kids went to bed, I went and got ice cream for the wife and I. Butter pecan for her and cookies and cream for me. We had a little couple-ness there watching TV. This morning when I dropped her off at work, she gave me the sweetest little kiss and there was a little couple-ness in it, I could tell. Tonight when I get home from work at midnight and she's already asleep and I brush back her hair hoping she wakes up for a faint second just to say "hi," there will be a little couple-ness there too. I know it. It turns out, the couple-ness is still there, always there, if we want it to be.

I may have gone from first to second, but when it comes to couple-ness I'm still first and sorry kids, that's never gonna change.

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