Novelist and screenwriter Nora Ephron once wrote, “When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was.”
Unfortunately, it seems having kids can bring on marriage trouble but if you are aware of the areas that are the most affected you can easily balance these two important areas of your life and having kids can be a positive accompaniment to your marriage. These two areas can support each other instead of working against each other.
As parents do, we are engrossed in taking care of our childrens’ needs and security. Finding time to feed, bathe, and play with them between work schedules is challenging enough. Hanging out as a couple is like a dream from the old days, when getting together was like signing your name.
There is more to it than time management. Marriage trouble can be escalated with routine squabbles about everything from how to discipline the kids to your own expectations — and disappointments. Many couples spend nil time together, even when the kids are in bed, a couple will go on to do their own thing and never meet up after wards. Through it all, the nagging question remains: How does a couple with kids protect their marriage — the relationship that created these beautiful children to begin with — and still manage to be good parents? What can they do as a couple to protect their marriage and create a firmer foundation?
These tips are highly effective toward marriage trouble after kids. They will help you and your spouse create a firmer foundation and a happier married life and at the same time demonstrate to your kids what a strong couple you are, affirming to them that your family will always be together. An added benefit to this is that your children will also learn over a period of time how to be good partners themselves.
Learn to Compromise
It’s a very common problem. We give plenty of attention to our children but not enough to each other. Over time, this transfer of focus can start to hurt even the most solid relationships.
Make no mistake that a strong relationship with your partner is one of the best things a couple can do for their kids and their childhood. Harboring a solid, loving relationship sets your children up for better marriages themselves when they grow up. They will have had a good example to follow and will want to have the same as they saw their parents having.
Set a plan in place that enables you and your spouse to have free time together and spend that time together. If you are both too tired then be too tired together. If you just feel like going to bed then go to bed together. Once you get into the motion of doing something together your feeling of tired will bend, as you have something to look forward to and spending time with your spouse.
Strengthen the Foundation
How can you keep a focus on your marriage when most of your time and energy is devoted to your kids?
Keep the relationship with your partner at the top of the list, above your children. This doesn’t mean to forget about the needs of your children. You can do the little things that let each other know and the kids know how much you value your relationship with your spouse.
Keep the Romance Alive!
Shift your center of attention sometimes.
It is important for your children to learn, from a young age, that mom and dad can’t just drop everything when they want their attention. Don’t allow them to interrupt your adult conversations.
This takes time and training just like everything involving kids but it is well worth it when the training takes hold. When your child gets older he can participate more in the conversations but until then it is valuable for your relationship that your kids learn to wait their turn to talk.
You hug your kids everyday, usually more then once. Even the dog gets a cuddle or two. What about your spouse? Does he/she get greeted with enthusiasm or just a simple “hello” in the midst of your busy schedule?
Once in a while, kiss and hug your spouse when they get home, as if one of you is going away and you aren’t going to see each other for a week. The kids will have a giggle and this kind of affection reassures them that you’re close to each other, as well as to them.
The 20 Minute Reconnect
You don’t need a whole weekend away or even a regular “date night” to keep the spark alive.
Take short walks together. Catch up on each others life and use this time to reconnect to each other.
Pair up when you take the kids to daycare or pick them up from an activity. The portion of the commute or waiting time can be used to chat.
Early Bedtime for Kids
Get you your kids into a strong bedtime routine from a young age (one year old is good time to start the process).
This will give you time after your kids are in bed to do things you want and need to do and time to spend together, without interruptions from the kids. A good bedtime for toddlers, especially those in school is 7:30 -8:00pm.
Help Carry the Cargo
Share in the chores. This can also be a prime couple time.
After the kids are in bed, get the evening chores done together along with some music. Not only will you finish sooner so you can relax, but because you are helping each other there is no resentment about who does more. This is a good time to chat and catch up on things.
Teach your kids to play independently (an added value for their imagination)
When children learn to entertain themselves for short periods of time, it means less time you have to spend as your tot’s activity director leaving more time for yourself and your spouse.
More ways to keep the Glow Glowing
Revive your past
Remember who you were as individuals and as a couple before you were parents. Bring back into your lives the activities you used to enjoy together. This is particularly effective when your routine starts to feel just that – routine.
Schedule Love Making
True. It’s not very spontaneous. However, sex is usually the one area left out because something has to give right? So scheduling it into your routine is more practical. Waiting for it to JUST APPEAR one night will cause you to lose your intimate relationship.
Loud, out of control arguing is insulting, and will have huge consequences on the intimacy level of your marriage. Doing it in front of your kids will cause them to do the same with you when you have a disagreement. It also shows them you don’t respect each other. A Preschooler is old enough to recognize this – make no mistake.
Father can Know Best
If your spouse thinks you don’t trust them to take care of the kids as well as you do, it will cause resentment and you will find your spouse, bailing out of the picture every chance he gets. Don’t criticize too much and be open minded with things. Let him do it his way sometimes. Men should guard against fleeing off in order to escape parenting.
You already know that a date can reignite that spark in your relationship — but you can extend the range of dating by doing lunch dating while the kids are in day care or at an activity. If you are both working parents then meet up for lunch.
The Stages of Marriage – Feeling trapped?
Appreciate that the trying times in your marriage are only temporary. This helps you not feel trapped.
Feeling disconnected from your partner while your kids are little simply comes with the territory of parenting. It doesn’t mean you have a failed marriage and are heading for a break up. However, when faced with marriage trouble use your anger and concern as a sign you need to make an effort to connect with each other.
Marriage advice from the professionals say that one of a child’s biggest anxieties is that their parents won’t stay together. You can avoid this fear in your children by ensuring you invest time and energy into your marriage thus avoiding marriage trouble. Knowing their parents have a strong, untouchable relationship is one of a child’s greatest comforts so give it to them and at the same time give yourself the gift of an unbreakable bond.
The Parent Fairy has put together a “on the house” eBook devoted to parents and toddlers working through a sleep routine. Bedtime Delights or visit her at The Parent Fairy for guidance on how to teach your toddler not to interrupt and how to play independently gaining the power of imagination. Plus general tips and tricks on raising kids and sustaining marriage.