How to Keep a Strong Marriage After Kids
I’m sure you’ve heard it. “Things will change after having kids” This is true, however it doesn’t have to have to be a negative the way it’s so often portrayed by people. Full disclosure, I am no expert on relationships. However, my husband and I met when we were fifteen years old and we have been together for a total of seventeen years. We’ve been married for six and have two children.
Even though our bond is magic, relationships are hard work and having kids does make them even more complicated. However, there are some rules we have implemented into our marriage that has been really successful for us. While there is always room for improvement, I feel these practices have made our bond even stronger – so here are my RULES FOR MARRIAGE AFTER HAVING KIDS.
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Be On The Same Parenting Page
It’s hard, I know. But being on the same parenting page seems to be one of the most crucial things when it comes to kids. Sometimes it feels like they have a sixth sense on how to get parents to play against each other. And not in a malicious way but it’s like a survival tactic to be able to stay up just a little later and party with daddy after mom said no. Or eat lollipops at 8am for breakfast even though, again, mom said no (this literally happened to me this morning, so it’s fresh in my mind). They have this amazing skill set to adorably manipulate a situation to where one parent says no and then immediately turn around and manage to get the other to agree. How do they do it!? Because boundaries not being set early on.
Although my husband likes to jokingly go against me in playful circumstances, when it comes to any serious matter with the kids, we always have each other’s back. We vowed really early on that we would back each other up when necessary and if there was something we didn’t agree with, we would discuss it in private. This has worked out for us and generally the kids respond really well to it since it lets them know what the, there it is again, boundaries are. Without being on the same page, I feel pretty darn confident, my house would turn into a full blown circus.
Never Fight In Front Of The Kids
Have you ever been hanging out with friends, and they start to fight with each other right in front of you? The feelings of awkwardness that enter the room are undeniable. Imagine that for a kid. Not cool, for you, or for them. If you have to duke it out, do it in private.
Make Time For One Another
This is one is so so important! I totally get that life gets more hectic with kids but spending time with each other builds a foundation for a strong relationship. A strong parental relationship also builds a strong household. Plus it’s just nice to have some one on one time with each other, so you can remember what it was like to be man and woman, instead of solely mom and dad. Make an effort to carve out at least a couple nights a month to spend some quality time together to reconnect. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost an arm and a leg, just something to catch up and keep that spark alive. If you need some ideas, check out my post about “Eleven Inexpensive Date Ideas”
Keep Each Other Number One
This is one of those things that seems too common after children. People have kids and their significant other becomes number 2. Suddenly their connection gets lost. I totally get that your kids are your world. My little guys are the center of my universe, but I wouldn’t have created them without my husband. He helped me bring them into the world. Plus one day it will go back to being just him and me. Don’t get me wrong my kids are so SO important to me but my relationship with my husband is the foundation of our family, therefore it has to be the most important.
Talk. Talk about your favorite TV show, talk about your day, talk about your hopes and dreams. Whatever you do, just keep communicating. Show interest in each other’s hobbies and interests. It shows that your genuinely interested in what the other person has going on and that you care. They’ll know that you are interested in them, and therefore they will continue to be interested in you. With all the chaos that comes with having children, keeping the lines of communication open could be possibly the most important thing to keep the spark alive.
Don’t Be Selfish
Think of your partner’s feelings. Expect them to acknowledge yours as well. Don’t make every decision solely based off of what your partner thinks, but don’t be selfish by not considering them at all. So long story short, just be considerate.
Appreciate Each Other’s Sacrifices
My kids kick my butt on most days. These days I’m lucky if I can get a nice long shower in and some days I feel defeated. On the flip side, my husband goes to work every day and busts his butt to provide for our family. With his schedule he sometimes misses holidays and special occasions that I know it breaks his heart to miss. I can honestly say even though I wish so badly, he could be there, I appreciate the sacrifices he makes for our family more than I can put into words. He puts our family first and I try to always do the same. Being balanced and appreciating each other’s sacrifices and expressing it, in my opinion, builds a stronger family unit. So if your partner does something you are thankful for, make sure you let them know.
Give Each Other A Break
Like I said above, long hot showers are hard to come by. However, my husband knows this. On the days he works night shift, and comes home very early in the morning, he will stay up long enough until the boys wake up and hangs out with them while he let’s me sleep and then take that coveted shower. This is a HUGE stress relief for me. Allowing me that break gives me a refresh to gain my sanity. Same goes for him though. He busts his butt at work and he also deserves a break. Whether it’s time to play a video game or work on the yard (yes this is actually a “break” to him) he deserves some “me” time too.
Support Each Other
I’ve got my husbands back no matter what. Whether it’s with the kids, with our family or our friends. I have confidence in him and in turn I support decisions he makes. I know he feels the same way. So even if you or your partner make mistakes (no one is perfect!) be there for each other and support one another through the process. It builds a stronger relationship in the end.
Acknowledge Each Other’s Strengths
Things get hectic with children and because of this we sometimes forget to acknowledge those amazing qualities in our partner, we were once so vocal about. Don’t forget. If you think the way your husband plays with the children is amazing, tell him what a great father he is. You love his cooking? Let him know. If you think the way he takes out the trash is sexy, tell him dammit!
Whatever it is, make sure to express it, even if it’s something small. That small compliment can make a huge impact on his day. Or could make him realize something he thought was just routine, is actually making an impact on the way you view him. When my husband acknowledges stuff he thinks I’ve done well or that I excel in, it makes me want to do even better and go even further. And this goes for things I may have never even realized were significant. You never know what could make an impact, so if you admire something, make sure to express it.
To sum it up, say I love you a lot, make sure you’re on the same parenting page, communicate and have each other’s best interests at heart. Show how much you love each other and your little tribe that you’ve created. If you do this, your relationship will do nothing but grow stronger.
Be on the Same Page
Never Fight in Front of the Kids
Make Time for One Another
Keep Each Other Number One
Don’t Be Selfish
Give Each Other a Break
Support One another
Acknowledge Each Other’s Strengths
What are your favorite tips for keeping a marriage strong? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment down below and don’t forget to subscribe to get on the From Son Up to Son Down list!
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