Do you remember the rush of being a new wife?
Trying to find ways to surprise your husband. Learning to cook the meals he likes. Coming home from work early. Spending all day Saturday just being together. Bringing home a treat from the grocery store. Planning a weekend away. Binge watching an entire series on Netflix all night together.
Most people call that rush of being newly married the “honeymoon phase”. For some, it lasts the first year of marriage or longer. For some, a month or two is what they enjoy of this phase.
Then real, regular, normal, boring, crazy, interrupting, stressful life starts happening. Jobs and job changes. Houses, moving, renting, buying. Social life, hobbies, and family obligations. And, the babies.
There is no end to the articles you could read on how having a baby changes everything, including your marriage. And to an extent, yes, totally right. Because it’s no longer about the two of you, it’s about the three, four, five, or more of you that make up the family you now have.
And there are fair amount of people who would say that during the kids years, it’s all about the kids. They’re the #1 priority. We need to put all of our time, energy, thoughts, finances, everything into whatever the kiddos want and need.
And in real life, sometimes I’m simply difficult for the sake of being difficult. It’s probably a middle child thing.
But this is not me being difficult for the sake of being difficult. This is me being challenging to a way of thinking.
What if our marriages are still supposed to be the priority? What if there’s a reason to put that first? What if working to bond together through the really challenging parenting years will help us not only in our marriage but also in our parenting?
You know, 5 years ago when I really started geekin’ out on all the marriage books I could get my hands on, I thought “What if people started picking up marriage books before they had problems? What if people took these principles and applied them to generally good marriages? How would that change stories, marriages, and families?”
And 5 years, 3 kids, 6 addresses, and the same marriage later, I still think these same thoughts.
Listen, I know it’s hard. So hard. I’m so right there with you. Most days, because it is required for their survival, we are all running on fumes at the end of the day after having attended to everyone else’s needs all day. We’re sleep deprived. We’re unshowered. We’re wondering how we’re specifically messing our kid up. Times that by 2. Or 3. Or 4. Or however many kids you have.
And somehow instead of it being a rush and a joy to be around our husbands it can start to feel like….another item on the to do list, another person taking, another source of fatigue.
It can’t just be another item on the to do list, another inconvenience, another hindrance of sleep. Because that’s not what marriage is.
Marriage is about the mutual edifying and building one another up. It’s making each other better – in all of the ways that really matter, being their biggest cheerleader, and their best friend.
One day, and we’ll all look back it’ll feel so soon, these babies won’t be babies anymore. These babies will be moving out, starting jobs, buying houses, and having their own babies, Lord willing.
And all of the time and energy we poured into them will be good and necessary and important.
We’ll still have our husbands. And I want to still know him, see hows he’s grown and changed over the years, still enjoy being around him. Especially still be his friend.
And those kids we raised? They’re going to need to know how a marriage works. How to be two people that are putting all kinds of elbow grease and grace into making a life together.
Our marriages matter. They matter yesterday, today, tomorrow, and they have a generational impact that we can’t see. Our marriages cannot wait until the baby’s done teething, the toddler is potty trained, the oldest starts school. Our marriages matter right now, right in the middle of all of it. Today. Tomorrow. And everyday.
So, how? How do we be intentional? How do we put effort into our marriages now, when frankly, we are drained?
How to Make Your Marriage a Priority with Little Kids in the House
1. Tap into your love language and your husband’s. The longer I am a mother, the more I find my love language of “Acts of Service” growing. Regardless of what yours is, know it, own it and use it. If you’re physical touch, ask for a back rub. If you’re words, ask him to help you see how you’re a good mother. If he’s gifts, get him a fun treat at the grocery store. If he’s quality time, just sit with him.
2. Kiss. I remember there not being enough chapstick in.the.world. when I first started kissing my husband. I never ever wanted to stop kissing him. Now it’s more like a peck on the way in and out of the door. I say NO MORE! Kiss like ya mean it! But kissing isn’t the only way to say ‘I love you’ in a big way. Here are some more.
3. Find ways to be thankful. I could (and have) write entire posts on being thankful and what that does for our outlook. For now, choose thankfulness, choose joy in the right now, in your husband.
How do you make your marriage a priority with little ones in the house? I’d love to hear your ideas!