12 Ways to Prioritize Marriage After Kids
You have lived the life of simple wedded bliss, and that season was beautiful. You had plenty of time for each other because it was just the two of you. No little people running around wanting your attention all the time.
And now, you’ve been blessed with children and the season of life with kids has become your life.
Finding a way to prioritize marriage after kids is often no walk in the park. It has to be intentional and involves consistent effort. BUT, it is totally worth it and necessary to have a happy, healthy marriage.
Let me share the things I have discovered after 7 years of marriage.
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Be Able to Communicate
The first thing I think everyone needs to do as a way to prioritize marriage after kids would be to really learn how to COMMUNICATE!
It seems so simple and yet all too often it is the one thing couples don’t do. Just like any relationship you have that you enjoy, a healthy, open line of communication is a necessity.
Now, when I say communicate, I mean more than things like, “How was your day?”, or “What do you want for dinner?”.
I mean genuine communication. It takes effort.
When I was working as a teacher, my husband and I would text throughout the day when we could. Just a, “Hey how is your day?”.
It was a simple way to let the other one know we cared and wanted to see how their day was going.
When my husband and I went through our pre-marital counseling, we took a lot of personality and compatibility tests. Although it at times may have seemed like a bit of overkill, we discovered that the strongest area in our relationship was communication.
I had NO IDEA how amazing of a blessing this would be until we hit a snag. Thankfully, I can’t even remember what it was, because we talked it through and moved on.
Communication is key to any relationship, but a marriage most of all. You HAVE to be able to sit down with your spouse and be able to have calm, rational, and respectful conversations.
**Remember, your kids are watching and they will do what you do!
A Great Book on Marriage Communication
If you are looking for a good book that will help you openly communicate instead of letting things build up and then explode, I would highly recommend the book, Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; the Respect He Desperately He Needs by Emerson Eggerichs.
The basis of the book is this: when a woman doesn’t feel loved, she struggles to respect her husband. When a husband doesn’t feel respected, he struggles to love his life well.
And when either of these things happens, you fall into what is called, “the crazy cycle”. One refuses to meet the other person’s needs, and things start to crumble.
BUT if one person can bring themselves to jump off the crazy cycle and put the other person first, great things will happen in your marriage.
For real, check out this book! An added bonus: if you and your spouse want to work through the book together, there is a companion Workbook!
Spend (Quality!!) Time Together
After our first kiddo was born, we still did a pretty good job of finding ways to spend quality time together. Even with both of us working at the time, we still found the time for one another.
Fast forward to baby number two, and things changed.
Our second didn’t sleep for the first 5 months, and so finding time for just about anything was a challenge.
Much like any hurdle in life, you attack it together, get through it, and then re-evaluate. And this is just what we did.
Once our second kiddo started sleeping better, we were able to find more time to spend together. And by spending time together, I don’t mean sitting in front of each other while messing with our phones. (This one is a tough one because so many times we would do this, and then wonder where our “us” time went, so be mindful!)
When I say spending time together, I mean QUALITY TIME.
I mean take the kids to someone who will watch them, and go somewhere that can be just the two of you.
I mean have meaningful conversations.
Take advantage of the time that no kid will be knocking on the door, screaming or crying about something, or just want your undivided attention.
Your marriage and your spouse deserve this time.
Not to mention, you owe it to your marriage to devote yourself to your husband or wife.
When your kids are all grown up, you will spend your free time with your spouse, and it’s important to make sure you know how to spend time just the two of you.
Encourage One Another
This one is huge! Ok, so I think all of these things that help prioritize marriage after kids are important, but this is the one you need to make sure you are modeling in front of your kids.
We spend countless hours of our day encouraging and guiding our kids. Whether it be a kiddo who is learning to walk, one who is learning to read, play a new sport, or figure out algebra, we as their parent are their #1 support and source of encouragement.
And, this should also be true for our spouse.
We need to find ways to encourage our spouse. I get it, sometimes it can be tough, and you may feel like you’re digging to come up with something, BUT that one compliment COULD go a long way.
And, your kids NEED to see this modeled.
If you want your kids to encourage others, they HAVE TO see it modeled at home.
Be Genuinely Grateful for Your Spouse
I am 100% genuinely grateful for my husband, BUT, being completely honest here, I don’t always do the best job at showing that.
And, keeping it real, my husband does a good job of telling me when he doesn’t feel appreciated. Thankfully, this goes both ways. We both have tough jobs, one works with people, and the other works with our kids. I’ll let you figure out which is which. 😉 (PS, I’m a stay-at-home-mom!)
BUT, at the end of the day, we have to come together and be grateful for what the other provides for our family.
And, if we aren’t feeling appreciated, this is where the all-important communication thing comes into play.
Have a discussion with your spouse and just let them know that you feel like you’re spinning your wheels with no cheerleader in your corner.
Notice though, I didn’t point a finger when I said that. It was simply that you felt like you didn’t have a cheerleader/encourager who was helping you feel like what you do is important.
Be honest but also be kind. Cheer for your spouse, they are your partner in this thing called life.
Listen to One Another
OK, so this can be a tough one when you are trying to prioritize your marriage after having kids.
There can be so much chaos and “noise” in life once kids enter in that your spouse can become part of the “noise”, and you begin to tune them out. That isn’t healthy, and should really become a priority.
I will admit that I can be found at times to be messing on my phone, or fully engaged in another task when my husband is talking to me. It can be tough to stop what you’re doing and fully engage in conversation, but this is so important.
It is important for your spouse to feel valued, AND it is important to be fully engaged in the conversation.
Your kids need to see this modeled. I would imagine you want your kids to be able to sit down and have a REAL CONVERSATION.
It can be tough to teach them this because I really feel like the world has started to devalue real, genuine conversation, but as parents, we have the greatest responsibility to model and instill this in our children.
It starts at home with you and your spouse, so make sure to listen to each other.
Recognize and Use Your Spouse’s Love Languages
Yes, yes, and yes! I mentioned before that during our pre-marital counseling we engaged in MANY types of assessments. One of the assessments we did was about our love languages.
Why are love languages important?
I’m SO GLAD you asked! A person’s love language(s) is the greatest way a person feels loved. Some feel loved by receiving gifts, some by physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, or acts of service.
My husband and I don’t have the same love languages, and so it takes the effort to make certain we are meeting each other’s needs.
I AM NOT GOOD AT THIS.
I try, really I do, but because I have a different love language, it is out of my mindset to do these things for my husband.
It requires thought, and a commitment to make it a priority to meet the needs of his love languages.
However, what is helpful is that often the way a person shows love is the way they want to receive it.
So, if you watch the ways your husband or wife shows you love, you will likely be seeing the type of love they want in return.
Just a thought!
The really cool thing is that you can also meet the needs of your kids according to their love languages.
There are two really great books about love languages- one for meeting your spouse’s needs, and the other for your kids’ needs. “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman is the one for couples, and “The 5 Love Languages of Children” by Gary Chapman is the one for children.
Each book operates within the same mindset of Love Languages, but obviously, as the relationship differs, so does the advice on how to nurture and develop the relationship.
Find Time for Yourself- Take a Break
Keeping your marriage healthy requires you and your spouse to be of a healthy mind.
If either of you is struggling to maintain your identity of who you are a person, you need to make sure that you are both taking time for yourself.
Go hang out with your friends, take a walk by yourself, spend time with your family, or one of my favorites- some personal pampering!
It is so important that you find a way to keep your “tank” full so that you can be engaged with your spouse and your children.
A healthy mommy is a happy mommy, and the same can be true for a dad. Each of you needs to take time for yourselves. You will be much better as a team when you both take time for yourself and balance your time away with your time together.
You and your spouse need to be on the same page about how to parent your children.
If not, you could be setting yourself up for a rocky road ahead!
Even if your spouse makes a parenting call that you disagree with, as long as it isn’t going to affect your child’s health or well-being, you really need to try to support your spouse’s decision.
Now, with that said, it is of utmost importance that you have a RESPECTFUL discussion, just the two of you, to find more common ground on the topic.
Parenting isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, but raising your children is a gift that God has bestowed upon you and you should be the absolute BEST parents that you can TOGETHER!
It is a one-shot deal and having your spouse along with you for the journey is a HUGE BLESSING!
Maintain Your Finances Together
It doesn’t matter if you have debt, own everything you have, or spend it all, you have money.
You and your spouse need to agree with how money is being spent, saved, donated, or invested. Really, those are your 4 choices.
There is no “your money” and “my money”, there is “our money”.
Your kids need to see that you work together to make your money work for your family. And, although some might argue that talking about money is not a way to prioritize your marriage after kids, I kindly disagree.
Money is related to feeling secure for a lot of people. Our kids are some of those people, and they need to feel secure.
They need to feel that their needs are met, and you as their parent are responsible for that. Making certain that the household income if being used in a responsible manner is absolutely important and should be handled as a team.
Be Kind to One Another
This really should go without saying and it should be a simple way to prioritize marriage after kids, BUT, all too often people are kind to others and then disrespectful to their spouse.
OUCH, did that sting a bit?
Sorry, but it’s true.
We can be super kind in spirit to those we work with, and then come home and have a disrespectful and ungrateful attitude towards our spouse.
I can only imagine this is not something you want your kids to learn and think is ok.
Be kind in love towards one another.
Admit When You’re Wrong AND Learn to Forgive
Gosh, I know I keep saying this, BUT this is so critical in any type of relationship. But for some reason, it can be REALLY tough to do in a marriage.
I would have to guess that it’s because of pride that we often struggle to forgive and move on.
Your kids need to see that admitting you’re wrong is good and healthy, and that forgiveness is how you move forward.
It is imperative that you and your spouse have an open line of communication and forgiveness so that grace can prevail.
Appreciate the Marriage Relationship You Have
This one happens to be last, but ironically enough, it is one that I need to be reminded of most often.
When I look at my life, I know that I have something so many would love to have.
I have a supportive husband, amazing kids, a beautiful and loving family, a home, and the list could go on.
BUT, it can be so easy to see something on TV, or Facebook, or anywhere else and be envious of what someone else has, and in an instant forget about how blessed you really are.
So, although last, this one is certainly not least. If you are trying to find a way to prioritize your marriage after kids, make sure that you appreciate what you have because chances are, you really have A LOT!
I hope you have found something on this list that will help you prioritize marriage after kids, and help you to grow into a better you!
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