Marriage after kids is a completely different animal compared to marriage before kids. Marriage is hard work and takes effort. If someone tells you otherwise, don’t believe it. And, don’t believe every photo and tweet and post on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow us to share only a sliver of our life with others, and let’s be honest, we always show the best of the best instead of our worst. It’s easy to see others with a “perfect” life and feel jealous. Always remember that nothing is perfect. Having a solid, real marriage with bumps and imperfections is more important than trying to look the best on your Instagram.
My husband and I had a pretty solid relationship before welcoming our daughter into the world. We weren’t perfect and never wanted to be and we still aren’t. He puts up with my stubbornness and indecisiveness. I put up with his everything (ha!) 🙂
After bringing a child into the world, we were in this new unchartered territory of our relationship. Some days, it felt like we were just totally out of sync and couldn’t stand each other and other days, I felt like I was going to completely burst with the love in my heart. Add in some postpartum depression and anxiety and it could get WEIRD. But, throughout all of those huge adjustments, my heart full of bursting love wins each day no matter what.
Throwing kids into the mix makes certain aspects of marriage trickier than before, but, it is so crucial to focus on your marriage and relationship so you can teach your little ones about some important qualities in a strong, healthy relationship. It’s a constant effort and we’re still trying to figure it out, but, we TRY to remember to do the things below! We’re working on all of these and it’s sometimes a struggle to fit them into our schedule. That’s real life though! It’s always a work in progress.
Date each other– just because you’re married now doesn’t mean you should stop dating each other. Make sure you set time aside each week, month, whatever, for just the two of you- no kids, no distractions. You don’t have to go out every time or spend a ridiculous amount of money. Stay in, order pizza, get some beers, and watch a movie or play video games. Make a nice dinner together and snuggle on the couch with a drink afterwards. Enjoy each other without any distractions- simple as that.
Unwind together– we’re still working on this and trying to make it a routine. Find something comforting and relaxing that you can enjoy together at the end of the day. Lately, we’ve been using our new electric kettle (AMAZING- thanks Rosewill for creating this amazing kettle that we use every day!) to enjoy a cup or two of tea in the evening after our kiddo has gone to bed. Even if we watch TV while drinking it, it’s still something we’re sharing. It’s amazingly relaxing and helps you to unwind after a long day of life and having to be an adult!
Exercise together– this is another one we are working on. My body is a mess so we’ve decided that some light yoga is a good start so I don’t kill myself 😉 We’ve tried once so far and it was an epic failure trying to do some relaxing yoga with a rambunctious toddler slapping us in the face and tickling us when we have our eyes closed…not our best plan. However, for me, I push myself harder and put more effort in when I’m working out with my love. He motivates me and that is extremely important.
Pray together– if you are religious, this is something that will bring you so much closer. It’s awkward at first and it’s still awkward for us, because, neither one of us is an out-loud prayer. Knowing what’s weighing heavy on your partner’s mind is huge, and, seeking God together is an extremely bonding act. We also enjoy doing devotional plans through the YouVersion app- there are a ton of plans for every aspect of marriage. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend watching “War Room”- whether you have the strongest marriage out there or your marriage is about to break its last thread, watch it. I can guarantee you will take something from it that can only do good for you and your partner.
Talk together– simple as that. Don’t just have the typical day-to-day conversations. REALLY talk WITH each other. Discuss things you’re passionate about. Discuss your fears and troubles. Discuss the joy in your life. Discuss real life and how it isn’t exactly how you pictured it, but, you’re still grateful and blessed. After we had our daughter, she was nursing non-stop and sleep was not on our radar. Instead of me being awake by myself nursing her, my husband would get up, too, and we honestly had some of the greatest talks and discussions during those late night/middle of the night feedings. We learned so much about each other and ourselves. That was one of my absolute favorite things after bringing our sweet girl home.
Support & respect each other– this is a hugely important aspect of any relationship. It’s not always easy to remember because daily life moves in and we forget that our partners need more than just hugs, kisses, and other physical affection (although very important also!). Try to remember to build your partner up. Ask what is weighing heavily on their mind or if there is something they need from you. It means more than you think.
Make time for *ahem* “the fun stuff”– But seriously, physical intimacy is an important aspect of marriage. It is bonding in a completely different way. Make time for it because it is extremely important to nurture that bond and special aspect of your marriage.
Never stop working on your marriage– this one is hard, because, some days, it is really easy to get lost in the everyday routine. Even if you think you have the strongest marriage in the world, you can always benefit from cultivating an even greater amount of love and understanding in your relationship. Cherishing your bond is crucial. If you’re not working on your relationship, it becomes easy to turn into “roommates” versus spouses and partners in life.
Marriage is a daily work in progress. You’ll have “off” days, good days, terrible days, and amazing days. All that matters is how you handle each day and how you can improve on yourself and your marriage.
What is your favorite part of marriage? What do you struggle the most with? I’d love to hear it! 🙂