I’ve been trying to pass this article off on our writers for quite a while now, but no one was biting. Deep down I think it’s because I’m the one who is supposed to share about this. -Krystle K.
Having kids can actually be very detrimental to a marriage. Not that the children are the problem, but the lack of sleep, lack of money, and lack of quality time together that results from having children can be a real doozie on a relationship.
My hubby and I have had what feels like a whirlwind Tour de France type of beginning to our family. Within 5 years we have had 4 pregnancies, 3 children and a LOT of sleepless nights. I’m not sure when it occurred to me, but slowly over the course of my first year or two into motherhood I let my children become more important than my marriage.
It’s an easy road to find yourself on when you are a dedicated parent.
“But they neeeeeed me!” I remember saying to myself so many times over.
Between years of dutiful attachment parenting, breastfeeding, cosleeping and babywearing I had at least one child physically on me at all times and forgot to make time and room (figuratively and literally) for my spouse.
Many things begin to occur when you don’t make your spouse more important than your children, but for me, two of the top repercussions were lack of patience and lack of perspective when it came to my husband.
This resulted in moments of “I love you, but I don’t like you very much right now.”
The truth is:
I met my husband first.
I loved him first.
He is my best friend.
We are the ones who will grow old together.
Too many people forget that the kids grow up and leave and the spouse is the one who (hopefully) remains after all that baby, toddler and teen raising is done.
I don’t know when I had the epiphany that I was putting my motherhood before my marriage, but I’m glad I had it and I’m glad that it was before any permanent damage was done.
In light of this, here are my 4 tips for keeping your marriage healthy in the madness of parenting:
1. Keep the date night holy.
Nothing should come in the way of your date nights. They should be on the calendar and only an act of God should cancel it. This isn’t just great for your relationship, it’s great for your children to witness. My girls always giggle over mommy and daddy going on a date. Kids need to feel secure and showing them how important your marriage is, is a great demonstration of that security. (side note: date night does not have to mean spending a lot of money…. there are many things that are cheap/free, as well as ways to think outside the box for childcare)
2. Focus on what made you fall in love with your spouse to begin with.
It’s way to easy to let the day to day dramas of raising a family, paying bills and fixing broken things stress you out to the point of taking your frustrations out on each other, but it’s important to remember that life is short. I try to strip away all of the roles I have placed on my husband and just remember the qualities that made me love him from the get-go.
3. Communication is everything
As wives we have to learn when to share, when to listen and when to wait. I’ve recently learned about the “24-hour rule” and it has saved me sooooo many confrontations in all of my relationships. Simply put, wait 24 hours before approaching someone regarding an issue. It’s crazy how many times at the end of the time period your perspective and emotions can change (and this will save you lots of apologizing if you are the impulsive type like me).
4. The grass is greener where you water it.
I love my parents dearly, but if I have learned anything from their combined 5 divorces, it’s this: relationships take teamwork, honesty, dedication and prayer (lots of prayer).
Many times I go to God in prayer for my husband, and I’m the one who comes out the other end changed. Good relationships are like river stones; you tumble over each other as you move along the waters and each interaction smooths out your rough edges to make the journey more fluid.
I hope this is helpful and encourages you to put your spouse first if your marriage has slipped into a close second to your mommyhood.
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