My husband and I have never been married without children. When he married me, I was already a mother. So T, the brave soul, jumped in with both feet--he became a husband and a father all in one fell swoop. Not long after that, we had another child together. She was practically a honeymoon baby . . . or would've been, if we'd had a honeymoon. That's how it goes when you marry "late" (I was thirty-five). Biology waits for no woman!
So, now we've been married six years. It's weird. I can't believe it's already been six years because it seems like we are still very much newlyweds. At the same time, I think it must've been much longer than six years because of how well established we seem to be. It probably adds to this effect that our oldest is now twelve and looks fifteen. People assume we must've been married at least sixteen years.
One of our struggles is getting "us time." That's hardly news. Everyone with kids has this problem and probably some people without kids have this problem. But, when I look around at our friends who also have kids and our friends who are still thinking about whether they want to have kids, I realize there's a big difference between us. We have never had a time when we were married without kids. Maybe that's why it bothers us more than it seems to bother them when we can't get enough time alone together.
The closest we came to "married without children" is when we were dating. We got a few weekends together where we got to sleep when we wanted, eat when and what we wanted, make our days without planning around the needs and wants of children. Those weren't "real life" weekends though. That was vacation time, days taken off work and other responsibilities to run away and play together. Mostly not even in my town or his, but some other town we chose to visit. Not real life.
I wonder how this will play out as we age. It's already only six more years till the big girl goes to college. If they go as quickly as the first six years of our marriage, that'll be tomorrow afternoon. When the littlest runs off to college, I'll be (oh my) fifty-four years old. Fifty-four, and married without children. I think we'll be a whole new class of empty-nesters: newlyweds. Maybe that would be a good time for that honeymoon.