Turning the clock backwards to 2009, my husband and I eagerly brought home our first little baby boy. We were a bundle of every possible emotion and suddenly our little world seemed so much bigger.
In the whirlwind of parenthood and soon adding two more kids to the midst, I quickly learned the importance of cultivating a strong marriage.
Once kids enter the marriage equation, there are so many other factors that enter in. Between lack of sleep, stress over all of the parenting newness, and financial strain, a marriage can be stretched to a near breaking point.
Marriage brings out our own selfish nature and becoming a parent can cause it to push through even stronger. With the reality of all of these things, it is evident that we much be intentional in focusing on a healthy marriage.
But how do we cultivate a strong marriage in the midst of so many obstacles?
I believe it starts with simple, every day actions.
Connect Every Single Day
Caring for children naturally creates busier schedules. Between the house, work, and parenting, it can seem next to impossible to add anything else to the plate. However, it is vital we make a point to connect every single day. This does not have to be a lengthy conversation or anything major, but taking the time to communicate throughout the day will make a difference. If you find it difficult to connect each day, it may be time to recheck your schedule and commitments.
Take care of yourself.
We are not able to pour into others when we are not caring for ourselves. Purposefully take care of yourself and encourage your spouse to do the same. Self-care is not meant to be complicated or expensive, it is simply loving and caring for yourself in the same way you do for others. When you take time for that bubble bath or to go on that run, whatever it is that fills you up, you then are ready to pour back out into others.
Have a regular date night.
Once kids enter the scene, dating does become more tricky. Honestly, we have not always done well with this. However, a goal is to have at least 1-2 date nights a month. Some months these are at home date night style and other times we get a babysitter and get out. It is a good thing for your kids to see you investing in your marriage.
Speak your spouse's love language.
If you have not read the book The 5 Love Languages, I highly recommend you pick up a copy and read it. This book was such an eye opener for us. After I found out my husband’s love language, I was able to intentionally find ways to show love in that specific way.
Put your spouse before your kids.
It is natural for there to be a struggle between being a wife and a mom. It can be hard to switch gears, but it is so important that you put your spouse first. This is the relationship that will remain once the kids are grown and gone, you need to invest in it. Otherwise, when the kids grow up you will be left with a stranger.
Let’s be honest, life with kids is filled with many unexpected moments. Sometimes, all you can do is just laugh. When you make a point to laugh together, you connect over the stressful situation rather than grow apart. You become molded together as a team, both on the crazy roller coaster ride!
Never give up.
Marriage is full of ups and downs and there will be disagreements. You will disappoint your spouse and he will disappoint you. Yet, we can continue to fight for our marriages. There will always be conflict, so instead of running from it, we can learn how to work through it together. Just on the other side of a struggle, is the greatest victory, press on!
Having kids does not have to mean the end of a growing marriage or that things go downhill from there. You can have a strong marriage and have kids. When your kids see you and your spouse growing closer together, it will create such a strong sense of security in them. It is worth it to invest in your marriage, so start today!
What tips do you have for keeping a marriage strong even after kids?
This article originally appeared on the author's website.