A few months ago, my friend Kaitlyn asked me to write a few posts for her. One of those was on maintaining a strong relationship with your spouse after kids. I ran across this post yesterday and realized I hadn't shared it on my blog. You can read the original post on Kaitlyn's blog by clicking here.
It's so important to maintain a great relationship with your husband after kids. In fact, I think maintaining a healthy and loving relationship with your spouse is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids as well as one of the most important things you can teach them.
As you know, when I got married, I not only became a wife, I also became a mother. I didn't have a true adjustment issue because in reality, once Kevin and I started dating, we started doing everything as a family. The only things that officially changed were my last name and address and the whole marriage thing. With that said though, my husband and I both know how important it is that we keep our relationship and connection strong.
Life with children is busy. (Who am I kidding? Life without kids is busy!) There's the juggling of schedules, the extracurricular activities, the things at church and homework that has to be done, not to mention those other things that are given, too, like eating, bathing and household chores. And if you're like us, you want to spend good quality time with your children every day that doesn't involve soccer practice and writing the alphabet.
For us, I think the key is balance. For the most part, we do pretty much everything together. My husband doesn't race, but he's always there at the finish line. I'm not a big fisher, but I love being out on the water just spending time with him. Plus, there are some times the boys aren't at home with us which means we have time for just the two of us - automatic date nights. For us - me at least - I think learning how to carve out that time for just my husband and me is something that we all have to work on continually when we become parents.
I strongly believe (and know) that in order for me to be the best mother I can be, I need to be the best wife I can be. That means taking time to talk with my husband about his day (and he does the same for me), sending an e-mail or text during the day just to let him know I'm thinking about him and planning time for just the two of us to do something whether it be dinner and a movie out or staying in and just having fun together.
I'm very fortunate that I married an amazing man. He's someone who understands the true meaning of partnership, who puts us and our family first and he knows the importance and value of time spent together. Our family only gets stronger as we grow even stronger as a couple.
Here are some of my tips for maintaing a healthy, close and intimate relationship with your husband no matter the ages of your children (and it even applies to those of you who don't have kids!). This list isn't in any particular order because I think all these things are important!
- Make sure you put your spouse first. This doesn't mean that you neglect your children or take your focus off of them at all. It simply means that you put time and effort into this vital relationship because you know that having a strong marriage means having a strong family.
- Remind your spouse how much you love them. And flirt a little! I love it when my husband tells me I'm beautiful, that he misses me during the day and how happy he is that I'm his. I like to remind him of those things, too. Stick a note in his bag for work, send him a flirty text and just remind him how lucky you are to be his.
- Reconnect when you get home. If you're like us, you both work and when you get home, it's time to feed the kids, get things ready for the next day and have family time. Make sure when you walk in the door you give your spouse a hug and kiss and ask about their day. I like seeing that Kevin is excited to see me when I get home and wants to hear about my day.
- Take care of yourself. If you read my blog regularly, you know I'm a big believer in a healthy lifestyle. I'm a runner and while I run to take care of myself, I'm going to tell you that I also do it because I want to look good for my husband (I think we all want that!)!
- Pray for your spouse and your marriage. I'm a Believer, and each day I pray for my husband and I pray for our marriage. I think it's so important to do these two things.
- Carve out time to spend together. Some days are going to be long. There'll be nights when you're up in the middle of the night because your child had a bad dream. You may have had a rough day at work. Whatever the case is, make sure you make time to spend with your spouse even if you only get 15 minutes of face time with just the two of you. For us, it's getting up after the boys go to bed. Some nights it's really tempting to just go to sleep when your kids do (we still put the boys to bed and sometimes it's a long process, but its our favorite time of the night), and that's ok. But don't make a practice of it. You need that alone time with your spouse whether it's vegging out on the couch, having a talk or spending - ahem - some grown up time together.
- Make sure you take plenty of time for the two of you. I'm going to say this in a delicate way because my mom and my in-laws read my blog, but make sure to keep a healthy intimate life with your spouse. That's one of the biggest blessings of marriage and don't take it for granted. Every one wants to be loved and feel loved. Share that with your spouse. And don't let too much time go by without it.
- Have date night. It doesn't have to be weekly or even the same day, but set aside some time to go out on a date and just talk and connect as two people madly in love with each other. Plan something to surprise your husband with that you know he'll like, cook dinner at home and rent a movie or make a weekend out of. Just don't neglect couple time because when you do, other things suffer.
- Enjoy things together. I've already told you that my husband and I do many things together and I love that. Find something that the two of you both enjoy, both want to learn or take turns picking something new to do together. It's important that your fun is had with your spouse, not just your girlfriends or extended family members.
- Support your spouse. If your husband is into sports like mine is and is still active in some city sports, go and watch him, cheer him on. You'll find that you enjoy cheering him on as much as he enjoys playing. My husband is my greatest cheerleader at my races and I feel so loved that he not only goes with me, but he wants to be there.
I'm sure there are a million and one things left off of this list - I'm learning all about marriage and motherhood at once. Be sure to share your tips - I'm all for learning more!