How to Grow Your Marriage After You Have Kids
Life changes drastically after you have kids, and not just in the sense that you’ll get less sleep (for the next 18+ years). From talking about who changes the next diaper to deciding what kind of parenting style to follow, you’re living in a whole different world.
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As such, it can be harder and harder to find one-on-one time with each other, and your relationship with your spouse is inevitably going to change. If you want to change it for the better, you need to work on your relationship, both in the short term and long term.
In the Short Term
Make Your Spouse a Priority
It’s easy to focus completely on the kids. They require a lot of attention, after all. However, kids grow up and move out of the house, and it’s important to remember that a family is built on your relationship with your spouse. As such, make your spouse a priority in the short and long term. You’ll be leading by example and showing your kids that your significant other has needs too – and that the world doesn’t revolve entirely around them.
Offer a Few Surprises
Flowers for no reason. A text to say, ‘I love you.’ An unasked-for foot massage. Simple things like this show your spouse that you’re thinking about them.
Switch Up the Roles/Responsibilities On Occasion
You get into too much of a routine, and it’s easy to get into a rut. To avoid just that, switch up some of your household duties. Take turns packing the kids’ lunches or doing a load of laundry, and give each other a break every once in a while.
Give Yourself 20 Minutes to Reconnect
Feel like you’re running around like crazy? Stop for a moment and take a second to catch up, even if your kids are in the middle of making a mess. A simple check-in like this can help you feel just a little bit reconnected.
Home-cooked meals are great and all, but they take time. Save some time for yourself every once in a while by keeping your favorite restaurant’s number handy.
Set Early Bedtimes for the Kids
It’s inevitable: Kids will always wake up early. However, you and your honey can get some much needed time to yourselves if you put them to bed early.
In the Long Term
A marriage is a partnership, especially with kids involved. That means if your child is asking for something, don’t give in if the other has other has already said no. United you stand, united you will remain.
Compliment Each Other
Not only are compliments always nice to hear, but they’re also a sign that you’re thinking of him/her. They’re also great to hear after a long, stressful day, whether you’re in the office or at home with the kids.
Hug one another.
Remember to give each other hugs and kisses, and showing your affection for each other in front of the family.
Plan Date Nights
Alone time out of the house is a must. Find a babysitter or family member to watch your kids – or send the kids on a sleepover – and go out and do an activity you used to do before kids.
Spend Some Time Apart
That said, there’s also some value in alone time. This time will help you recharge your batteries so you can feel rejuvenated. It’s all about finding balance between time together and time apart.
Focus on Communication
Last but certainly not least, always pay attention to the way you communicate. It can be easy to nag if something isn’t getting done, but nagging doesn’t help you or your spouse. Talk any issues through, and be honest and upfront. The longer something brews, the less happy you’ll be.
Your family is built on the foundation of your marriage. Life may be different after kids, but it can also be more rewarding. You’ll start to see your spouse in new and better ways. However, you can’t rest on your laurels. The way you interact with your spouse is being a model for your kids.
Image by Oleh Slobodeniuk
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