Originally Posted by Lyris
I think the reason children become the primary focus for love, or one big reason, is that loving a child is so easy. It's effortless. And it's so so rewarding, instant gratification. Whereas loving an adult is sometimes hard and sometime not very rewarding, if youre not getting much back. We expect stuff from our partners; support, love, responsibility. You hear it all the time, 'marriage takes work," "love is a verb" etc. Although it took me a few weeks to bond with my first daughter, since then the love just pours out for my girls with no work at all, no matter what they do. As a parent, you love your baby with no expectation of reward or even reciprocity in the beginning, or you do if you're emotionally stable. I think it's pretty hard to love a partner like that, we all have expectations and deal breakers.
So on the one hand you have this baby who is designed totally to elicit fierce love from its caregiver/s, from the delicious way it smells, to the big cheek-small nose-big eyes ratio of its face. It's so simple to satisfy its needs - food, warmth, loving contact. Squeezing a knee brings hysterical laughter. Then you have your spouse who has all kinds of needs, stated and unstated. They might be tired, resentful, guilty, prickly, angry, depressed. It's really no wonder people turn to a baby or child. It's just easier.
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This post makes me excited to encounter this kind of new love that you describe.
But the way you describe a marital love isn't really very reflective of who we are today (with the caveat that it could very well end up being us tomorrow). In that it's pretty effortless to love my wife, and she feels the same. Yes it is a complex situation, and there are ups, and downs, but loving her is easy, feeling that love, and it is incredible reward in and of itself most of the time.
Do you think what you described is a byproduct of the changes a child(ren) brings to the table, or would you say those challenges were present before the children came along?