I have been married for almost 10 years; for the first 5-6 years of my marriage it was just my husband and I. We are both extremely busy professional people; yet we always found time for date night, spending time with our separate friends, travelling and just really enjoying life. Fast forward to current day our lives have totally changed; we are the parents of two small children (2 ½ and 4). When they were younger, adjusting to them felt natural, but now it is causing strain in our marriage. My husband has not complained openly but I know he feels the difference as well. My question is how do you balance your relationship with your spouse with that of your children?
Dear Married with Children,
When we get married we never think that the transition from husband and wife to husband, wife and child is going to be so tough. We tend to believe that because there is love in our husband and wife relationship; it will automatically translate into being supportive and aware of each other’s need once you are parent. Not so. The truth is that life gets busy, kids have activities and before long the marriage is secondary to your parental role. I don’t believe women need to be taught one role is to take priority over the other. I simply think as women we need to invest the time in both by respecting their role as wife and mother.
Tips to create balance in your wife and mother roles:
A Positive Start with Dating
Don’t forget to date. You have to have quality time as a couple. I know this may be tough with our hectic schedules and lack of energy. Yet for a husband and wife to maintain a healthy bond they have to spend time together alone as a couple. I know what some of you are thinking, with the kids these days that’s impossible; but this is one you can’t waver within your marriage. Make a schedule and make a point to stick with your plans. I recommend at least once a month. A romantic night out at your favorite restaurant or going to see your favorite band is just some of the many great date nights you can plan.
The Little Things
Try to keep the simple act of surprise in your relationship. Make it about your hubby at least once a week. It’s easy to find time to talk to our kids about their day at school or surprise them with their favorite dinner. What about your husband how often do you remember to make him feel special? I’m talking simple things ladies; not like a new car or sports watch. But that act of kindness shows him you are thinking about him. For example, my husband loves lemonheads, so every now in then I will pick him up some on my way home. It’s the little things.
Maintain Bedtime and Your Own Space
These last two go hand and hand. Children need consistency and so does a marriage. If you plan to get your children to respect and cherish your spousal relationship; you have to teach them how.
- Maintain and enforce a bedtime for your kids. Don’t let them slide in this area; be strict with bedtime for your children sake and your. When they are in bed at the same time each night it can be your planned nightly “quality time.”
- Too often married couples with children make their bedroom a shared domain. Not a good idea. Make a real effort to make this your shared space for your nightly couple retreat. As with many retreats make sure your bedroom is inviting, clean and warm. And that alone time can be a relaxing time for you and your husband to spend a few moments together at the end of each day
Remember your marriage is equally as important as your parenting…