Blue Bloods – the TV series, once had this line about marriage:
“Despite what the priests say, marriage isn’t a contract. It’s an ongoing negotiation.”
You could argue that this is true in so many other aspects of life as well.
But, let’s focus on this most important and undoubtedly sacred union between human beings.
Whether you agree with the above statement or not, marriage is certainly a challenge that is constantly evolving.
You work hard to maintain that spark in your relationship with that special someone.
But, even that isn’t enough at times because life gets in the way.
There is a household to manage, job demands to fulfill, and children to take care of. That last bit is arguably the biggest test for any married couple.
The arrival of children is the turning point in any marriage.
Sure, they are wonderful and watching them grow every day is a pleasure.
However, increased levels of stress and anxiety are also a harsh reality.
Sleepless nights, which were probably unheard of before, suddenly become a regular occurrence. Your attention is divided while the finances may also face the strain in many cases.
As a result, couples may get lost in this daily grind and start to lose the connection that brought them closer in the first place.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain a strong marriage after kids.
1. Reframe and Redefine Your Relationship
Acceptance is one of the first things. There has to be a realization on your part that life will not be the same again.
When you accept that a major change has taken place in your life, it will help you evolve and go with the flow.
Instead of trying to resist the change, accept it. It will allow you to enjoy the happiness that children bring.
At the same time, it will help develop an understanding with your partner that you two are in this for the long haul. That way you and your spouse can better manage the stressful parts of raising kids.
And there will be many!
2. Don’t Let Your Emotions Dictate Your Behaviour
Any life-changing event can bring with it feelings of self-doubt and loneliness. While part of you will certainly be over the moon at becoming a parent, you will also have those moments where you dread the future.
Your partner will be no different. They’ll also have similar feelings.
You are both in this together. That means being each other’s support system by sharing responsibilities rather than shirking them out of fear and stress.
Let the craziness of this new chapter in your life sweep you away and trust that things will work out.
3. Practice Gratitude
More often than not, parents feel like they are doing more than their fair share in raising the children. The responsibilities should be equally managed when both partners feel that way.
Quite often, a lot of what you are doing will be invisible to your spouse and vice versa.
Take the time to develop an attitude of gratitude. It’s important for both the husband and wife to develop this.
Don’t forget to regularly thank your better half and compliment them for what they do. Find out what their favourite way of receiving gratitude is – verbally, physically, etc.. They will love you for it.
4. Have a Consistent Routine
Having a consistent routine can really work wonders for your sanity and peace of mind. Not only will this save you lots of time for each other, but your kids will also learn the importance of leading a disciplined life from a young age.
Some couples even go so far as having printed schedules for their children’s daily activities. Give that a try.
Remember that a routine doesn’t have to be time based. It can be based on the steps that you take to do something. For example, having a bath, brushing your teeth, reading a book, then tucking into bed.
It doesn’t matter on the time exactly but more on the actions that are being done. As soon as your child knows those things are done, they know they’ll be expected to sleep after.
5. Early Bedtime
Just like having a set schedule every day (with some flexibility, of course), an early bedtime can make the difference between a stressful marriage and a happy one after kids.
We understand this is easier said than done. Especially when you have a newborn child starting the waterworks in the middle of the night.
However, as they grow a bit older, you can certainly tuck them in early. This will give you a few hours of downtime to reconnect and relax with your spouse.
It is these moments of total and undivided attention for each other that will help you maintain a strong foundation in your marriage.
6. Make Time for Intimacy
Once you have a baby, this will probably be the last thing on your mind. However, regular playful affection is great for smoothing over any creases in a relationship.
For young parents, especially, it might be hard to find the energy, time, and privacy for some healthy physical affection.
That makes it even more important to keep the spark alive in a relationship. So try to make the most of those brief moments throughout the day and show each other what they mean to you.
Comment below if you have any other tips that you use to keep your marriage strong!