So many things change when we have children, including the dynamics of our relationships – that is why it is important to be intentional about finding ways to prioritize your marriage once you become parents. Our lives and our marriages can easily revolve around our kids if we are not intentional. We are 6 years into parenting and our relationship changed when we became parents. Being first-time parents, we were clueless and knew that we had a lot of learning to do, therefore we focused on that. In hindsight, we know that we should have looked at how to make both our marriage and parenting work. Here are some ways to prioritize your marriage after having kids.
Allow your marriage to evolve
There is no turning back after having children and I mean this in a very positive way. Therefore, allow your marriage to evolve as you evolve from wife to wife and mom, and your partner to husband and dad. There is much beauty that comes with recognising and appreciating your partner as you see them changing and living up to their role of being a parent (I honestly fell in love all over again). Moreover, our kids are growing and when the time comes for them to leave our parenting nest and spread their wings; it is our spouses that we will remain home with. If we do not intentionally nurture our marriages and wait until our kids are grown, I fear the kind of marriages we will have.
Prioritize quality time alone
I am not sharing this point because I am the best at it, quite the contrary. I was horrible at taking time with my husband, away from my daughter – I either avoided it or took her with us (don’t make that face- I learned my lesson!). Children are a beautiful gift and so are our marriages. Prioritize dating your spouse and going on weekend getaways with them to recharge and rekindle your love. Don’t be like the old me and think that you need a lot of money, honestly coffee dates count! As long as it is the two of you. Your marriage, yourself and your spouse truly deserve this time. Get planning 🙂
Do not parent the other parent
Let me confess – I used to tell my husband how to hold our baby, how to feed her etc. “Don’t hold her like that”, “You are feeding her the wrong way”. It was bad. Now I know to let dad be dad, I mean it’s his child also. Did I mention that I used to also correct my husband in front of our daughter (please don’t try this at home), this consequently drew us apart. Parenting is a team effort and you and your spouse are on the same team.
I do not believe that a healthy marriage can exist without healthy communication lines being open. Here’s what we have learned about communicating in our 5 years of marriage:
- Listening is important – it is so easy to interrupt your partner because you can’t wait to get your point across but the chances of them hearing and considering what you are saying are very limited after you have interrupted them.
- Don’t just talk only about responsibilities – “Please don’t forget that you are dropping off this week”, “Our son needs new shoes, please get them after work”. Being responsible is highly recommended, so is checking in on your spouse and chatting about their day and their goals. Talk about such things as well.
- Make it safe to talk to each other – There was a time in our marriage where we did not communicate about everything for fear of being judged or misunderstood. It took a while but we eventually talked about this and declared our marriage for us to communicate freely. Now we communicate about our deepest fears and greatest desires and share our thoughts (respectfully) without judging each other.
Of course, we don’t get it right daily, but it has made a huge difference in our relationship. We have learned that communication is a continuous work in progress.
Take time out for yourself
It takes two healthy individuals to constitute a healthy marriage. Therefore you need to ensure that you are taking time for yourself, to feed your needs and wants and to nurture your dreams and passions. There is a danger of running on empty when you ignore the practice of taking care of yourself. I believe that there is a section of our love tanks that only we can fill and no matter how well our partners communicate our love languages, that section will remain empty until we do for ourselves what fills us up. I love what Robert Paul from Focus on the Family said:
“Roadblocks to self-care affect marriages because a spouse who isn’t cared for comes to the marriage depleted instead of ready to give. A marriage thrives when each spouse is seeking his/her own care”.
I do not think that you will regret the decision to prioritize your marriage. Keeping your marriage strong after having kids is not a walk in the park, it requires consistent effort – however, it is not impossible! Please share how you prioritize your marriage after having kids.