Welcome to Week 3 of the Love and Marriage Series!!!
This week we're talking about making your marriage a priority and how you keep your marriage interesting. There will be a linky at the bottom of this post - feel free to write your own post on this topic and link up with us!
Once you have kids, everything changes. I'm sure you've heard that one before, but it's really true! The marriage and relationship you have with your spouse before you have children, will greatly impact the type of relationship you have after they enter the picture.
My favorite piece of advice is to date your spouse. Let me give you some backstory.
After we (finally) brought Brayden home from the hospital I had no desire to spend any time away from him. When all of my friends were enrolling their kids in Mom's Day Out programs, I kept him home with me. I should add here that there isn't anything wrong with those programs, but after what we had been through I just couldn't part with him for a second.
After a few months, Chris was ready for a date night. To be honest, I don't remember how old Brayden was when I finally left him with my mom and dad for a few hours but he had to have been close to 6 months old.
And you know what? It was great. We got a chance to actually have a full conversation without being thrown up on (both my kids had horrrrrible reflux) or interrupted by crying.
Making date nights happen every few months became important to us and thankfully my parents didn't mind keep Brayden (and then when Brody arrived on the scene, they kept him too). We've even gotten to take a few little trips and leave the kids with my parents.
I realize that leaving your kids with family isn't practical for everyone. You might not have a grandparent nearby or a babysitter you trust. Something else we do is have "Friday Night Date Night." The funny thing about FNDN is that we don't actually go anywhere. Instead, after we put the boys to bed at 8, we get a dessert, take it to bed and rent a movie. We have the instant Netflix thing and Apple TV so there's a nice movie selection to choose from. We take turns picking the movie (I made him watch Pitch Perfect for one of my selections, hahaha) and have a little at home date. We've even watched TV series this way (like Friday Night Lights). It sounds kind of corny but we both love it and look forward to it.
There are other ways to make your marriage a priority besides dating your spouse. I mentioned that things change after kids. That's true in more ways than just the lack of one on one time you get with your spouse.
That's right, I'm talking about my favorite subject again...communication. C'mon, you knew it was coming! ;-)
I've seen this happen so many times. You have kids and suddenly the only people you communicate with are...THE KIDS! You're completely immersed in their needs and their wants. To an extent, that is great! But you have to make time for your husband. One thing I've learned works best for us is when Chris comes home from work, I ask him about his day. Then we talk about my day. Then we talk about the kids day...how they behaved, how Brayden was at school (he's in Pre-K two days a week).
Keep in mind that at least for us, as our kids have gotten older, things have gotten easier. Life settles back down in a lot of ways. Your kids need you less. I'm at the point with my boys where they are happy to go off and play together and Chris and I have plenty of time to talk. But when you have your first child, or when a newborn enters the equation, it can be hard. In my experience, I had to make a conscious effort to make sure we had our time to talk and catch up, and it be about us.
The last little thing I want to touch on is outside commitments. I see this SO much in the blog world as well as my everyday life. Everyone seems to be concerned about being "perfect." It seems like perfect is being defined as going out once a week with friends, planning extravagant parties, being involved in every single group that you can be a part of...and if that works for you, that's great. I've learned that is doesn't work for me or my family. I wrote an entire post about that HERE. For me, Chris, Brayden and Brody come first. And they need me, not only to be physically present but mentally present. I do most of my blogging during nap time, so it doesn't take away from my family in any way. Sometimes I do go on GNO's...I even organized the last one my friends and I had. And that's awesome! But (again, for me) it can't be every week or even every other week. I can't be a part of every group out there.
I think my best take away would be this:
Remember why you married your spouse. Don't let those things that you love about one another be buried under a bunch of commitments to other people or groups your involved with. Make time for the person you love. Make them a priority in your life.
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