There are so many great things about being married. Finding a person you want to share your life with is a very special thing. It is wonderful to feel loved and to be able to share the love you have with someone else. It is also something that has to be nurtured and takes work to keep healthy. That is hard enough on its own, but when you add in the extra element of kids, it gets a little more complicated.
Being a parent is the greatest joy you can experience. It is also the hardest work you will ever do. It takes a lot of time and can be very emotionally and physically exhausting. When you become a parent, it often makes you put everything else in your life on the back burner. Including your marriage. Unfortunately, that can make your marriage more difficult and put a wall up between you and your spouse. Most people don’t do this intentionally, but it tends to happen to the best of us.
It is really important to keep a focus on your marriage after you have children. Ultimately you can be the most effective parents when your marriage is strong and you are able to work together as a team. A healthy marriage also sets a good example to your children of the way they should be treated in the relationships they will encounter in their own lives.
Now, if you are a new parent, don’t get discouraged too quickly. The first year of parenting is totally about surviving. You are sleep-deprived and emotional. Just remember to lean on your spouse for support and not hold grudges. As long as you are both doing the best you can during that first year, that is enough.
As time goes on, you really need to make time for each other. It is so important to have time away from your children to help you reconnect and remember why you love each other. This can be complicated for some parents if you don’t have a trusted person to leave your children with, or financial constraints keep you from date nights out. The truth is, there are a million ways to do this with any amount of time or budget.
Date nights are a great way to reconnect, and all it takes is staying up a little later than normal. Feed the kids, get them to bed, and let the fun begin. Cook a special meal together, watch a show or movie you both enjoy, or just share some wine and good conversation. Try to switch the focus to your lives and away from what the kids are up to. Finding a way to make this happen weekly, or even monthly, will make a big difference in how you connect to your spouse.
If you have to opportunity to get away for the weekend, just the two of you, take it! A weekend without the kids really takes the pressure off and allows you the chance to reconnect. It also is a great time to talk about the plans you have for your life and family without distraction. It is so hard to talk about the things that really matter when you are busy with the kids, work, and all the activities going on. Setting aside a weekend to do something fun together feels like fuel for a marriage. It will allow you to keep moving through life just a little easier.
It is so important to remember that, even though you are parents, you are two people who fell in love and decided to join your lives together. That is really special. Taking time, no matter how much, to be together and enjoy that love will keep your marriage healthy. It will also go a long way to making you better parents, too.