I was having coffee last week with a friend that just had a new baby and as we were talking, the conversation of marriage and kids came up. “Why does no one tell you about the effect kids have on your marriage?” she exclaimed, “I know!”. It really is interesting. People urge you to read books on pregnancy, giving birth, baby products, nursing, and more, but no one informs you about nurturing your marriage along the way. Having a baby is a huge life change and your spouse needs nurturing too! While we are a big “work in progress” on managing our marriage and kids, I can really relate to these ten tips when striving for a Healthy Marriage After Kids:
Schedule Date Nights
You need time alone, out of the house, having fun, without your kids. Regularly. And, this is HARD. There are so many excuses and obstacles that come in the way of date nights, but they are so important to breathe life into your marriage. We know this, and we are still horrible at this. It takes a lot of effort and time. You have to find a babysitter, go through any obstacles with kids like sleep or feeding arrangements then you have to actually have enough energy to go out and have fun. When this hasn’t been in option for us, we try to create “mini” dates or even twenty minutes of alone time.
Yes, gross out your kids kissing (if they are old enough to be grossed out). I knew we had this down right when Brooke was playing with dolls and had “mommy and daddy kissing”. You want to show each other affection and in front of your kids is a bonus. Let them know how much you love and care for your spouse. It will bring a whole new level of stability into their life. When they can verbally and physically see what love looks like, it just paints a beautiful picture.
Set A Nighttime Routine
When the kids go to bed, its “mommy and daddy time”. We established this early on with Brooke and it is our sanity. We have a nighttime routine with the kids and we stick to it. They are in bed by 8-8:30 and then its “us” time. We catch up on our day, watch a movie, do extra work, you name it – but we do it together. We don’t let little toes come sneaking in our bed (unless someone is sick of course). We established that nighttime is our domain and boy do we need it.
Serve Your Spouse
Life can get busy and messy, so finding ways to serve your spouse can help ease the stress of day to day life. There are so many different ways to serve your spouse from taking out the trash to giving them a massage. Its little actions of service that say you care and you want to help. Need some ideas? Here are 20 Ways to Serve Your Husband.
Have “Me” Time
You need it. You might think that you don’t and I’ve been there, but I can also tell you with experience how valuable this is for your state of mind. You need alone time. You need time where someone isn’t asking you for a snack or needing to be held. You need a drive by yourself to Target or a pedicure. You need an hour for a morning devotional before everyone else wakes up or time at night to just take a long bath. You EACH need to relax.
Send each other fun texts during the day or email each other. Start a conversation before you leave for work or as you are cooking dinner. The point of flirting is to have fun with one another and ignite romance. The everyday routine of life, especially with kids, gets busy and full of tasks. Taking time to flirt brings in a fun element to your relationship.
This is another area that is really difficult. Being a mom is HARD. Being a dad is HARD. It involves lots of work and sacrifice (of course lots of love and laughter as well). It is so easy to compare each other’s work loads and feel like you are working harder than the other person. It is not a competition. You both work hard. You both are great parents. You are on the same team.
Be Team Players
Speaking of being on the same team, be team players. By this, I mean, talk through your parenting strategies together away from your kids and always be on the same team. You might have different approaches at times, but work toward the same goals together. This might also mean that at times you are carrying 80% of the load and at times your spouse is the one carrying more. You are a TEAM. Everyone works together to win.
One of the best things you can do to strengthen your marriage is to pray. Pray for your marriage. Pray for your spouse. And pray together. There is so much power and strength in prayer. There is also great value in praying together. I know that if you haven’t done this a lot in your relationship, it can be awkward. Lets be honest, you are baring your sole and confessing your sins during prayer. You are talking to a holy God who is all knowing and all powerful. This makes prayer very intimate and venerable, so of course, it can be a bit of a struggle to do this with someone else at first. But, trust me, it is powerful.
There is something extremely intimate about going to church and worshiping with your husband. For me, I feel like I am pouring out my heart and growing towards Christ. When you share that with your spouse, your relationship deepens, because you let them into an aspect of your heart.
Bottom line, invest in your marriage for each other and for your kids. It is so worth it.