Before my wife and I were married, we loved to talk about our future children. We would talk about how many kids we were going to have, what their personalities would be like, and what they’d grow up to become. But we never really focused on what our marriage was going to look like when we had kids—we kind of figured it out along the way.

Now, looking back, I realize that I’ve learned a thing or two about myself, my wife and our life together while we were trying to conceive.

1. I learned to cherish the time we had together, before baby…

It’s so easy to get caught up in baby fever that we forget to nurture and cherish our marriage while we’re in the “trying to conceive” stage. When we were going through it, my wife and I realized that our marriage was never going to be the same. It was no longer going to be the two of us exploring the world. Instead, it was going to be a whole new adventure—our family growing up together and taking on the world as a team.

With this new realization, we wanted to take advantage of the time when it was just “us.” We wanted to do things that we couldn’t do when my wife was pregnant or when we had kids. This was a great incentive to get out there and do new things!

…so we took one last BIG trip.

We decided to take a trip to Europe, to visit Paris and Rome. We knew traveling would be difficult with kids or when pregnant, so this seemed to be our last time (for a while) to plan a huge trip. And it was completely worth it! We never stopped laughing, and we really enjoyed our time together in new cities, just the two of us. After the trip was over, we were fully ready to plunge into whatever being pregnant or parents would throw at us.

2. It brought us closer together.

My wife and I grew so much closer to each other when we were trying to conceive. I started seeing my wife more and more like a potential mother, which made me so happy. She was no longer just the beautiful woman that I started dating and ended up marrying. She was my wife, ready to embark on this grand adventure with me—but instead of Europe, this time it was parenthood.

3. I learned to appreciate my wife in a new way.

This shift in perspective made me love my wife in a different, much deeper way. She was willing to get sick from the pregnancy, willing to sacrifice her day-to-day life to take care of our baby and willing to go through a lot of pain to give birth to our child. She was even stronger than I ever imagined I could be—and when I saw her this way, my heart grew 500 times bigger.

Needless to say, this process takes you on an emotional roller coaster. It has its moments of excitement and disappointment, to say the least. What I didn’t expect while we were trying to conceive—even before making a baby together, or meeting our baby together—was how much more in love I was going to fall with my wife.