I get it. Kids change everything in life. We love them to the ends of the earth, the depths of the ocean, and with our entire mind, body and soul. It’s powerful—the love we have for our children. Some days I find myself just wanting to hug my son all day long. I just want to touch his pillowy cheek to my cheek.
Funny enough, I often recall wanting to touch merely my husband’s cheek back in the day as a form of instant gratification. You know, when you first start dating, and you just want to be as close as possible?
Somehow, no matter how hard you try, things change after kids. Some good changes, some not. One thing I know for sure is keeping a strong marriage is really important to me. So even though marriage is tough after kids, there are several major pitfalls I’m avoiding like the plague.
1. Focusing only on the kids.
Nowadays it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the craziness of a household and the needs of the children only to forget about the most important person—the husband. Because without him, there wouldn’t be a marriage, a best friend, or a family at all. A strong marriage equals a strong family foundation, which leads to stronger parenting in the long run.
2. Not taking any time for just yourself.
Even if it’s just an afternoon or a day away, taking a little bit of time to recharge can go a long way. I’m way more intentional with both my husband and my son when I take time to focus on only me. Sure, it seems selfish, and I often feel guilty for leaving, but at the end of the day, it truly is a good thing. I cannot become a better parent or wife without working to become a better person, and that means taking time to invest in myself.
3. Allowing kids to stay up too late.
I know this isn’t for everyone, but an early bedtime for our son has made a HUGE difference in our marriage. Regardless if my husband and I are able to take regular date nights, we are able to enjoy a few hours together every evening talking or just being adults.
4. Avoiding regular date nights.
Okay. We are totally guilty of this, but sometimes you just have to pull the trigger and get a babysitter. I always try to think of it like this: if I don’t invest in my husband and my marriage travels into troubled waters, I will surely regret it. Bonus: if you are able to put your kids to bed early enough, you can go out for dinner after the kids are asleep. Stress-free. You’re kids aren’t missing out on anything, and you are still getting some quality one-on-one time with your husband.
5. Forgetting to make your spouse feel special.
It’s so tough to let the chaos take over, but taking a little bit of time each day to tell your husband what he means to you can make the world of difference. I try. I’m not the greatest at this. Words of affirmation is not my strong suit. It’s a work in progress.
6. Allowing quality communication to fall by the wayside.
So you know how I just mentioned the whole early bedtime thing? Well, there are nights when my husband and I seemed to get lost in our phones and tablets, as opposed to each other. So make a commitment to shut it all off just for a night and really have a conversation just like you did in the good ‘ole days.
7. Working as individuals, rather than as a team.
Marriage is all about sticking by each other, supporting one another through the thick and thin. When you are parenting with another person, it’s tough to always be on the same page. My mantra: Communicate, communicate, and then communicate even more. I try to simply share what is on my mind, and listen to what my husband shares in return. Being a team and staying united with your spouse makes all the difference in the long run.
Bonus tip: Start enjoying more date nights at home after the kids go to bed!
I’m all about being healthy, and maybe I’m the only one, but when I’ve had a challenging day or week, take out and a date night works wonders for our marriage. The convenience of it all makes me happy. Plus, connecting and really investing in our marriage is really what it’s all about.
Want more on life after kids?
- What Kids Secretly Want to Tell You About Roughhousing — Girls Included!
- The Genius of Rotating the Kids Bedtime Routine Between Parents
- 10 Empowering Way to Improve Toddler Listening
What other marriage pitfalls do you think are good to avoid? Let’s chat in the comments!