Keep Your Marriage Strong While Raising Children

Source

Being married can be a challenge whether you have children or not. You have peaks and valleys in your relationship. The good times are really good, and the bad times are a testament to your growth.

When you have children, they throw in a new wonderful dynamic to your relationship, but there is also a new challenge.

It is hard to have a conversation with your partner that sticks to one topic when you are trying to clean up oatmeal your toddler dropped from his high chair or when your parenting skills are needed when reading a story.

When your kids get older, there are school programs, sports, plays, or a variety of other things you will be attending.

You cannot forget that you have a partner in all the organized chaos that sometimes occurs when your children are demanding much of your time.

Sometimes it comes down to saving your marriage while trying to be a good parent

Raising kids is a balancing act
Raising kids is a balancing act | Source

Your Children Need Guidelines

From the time you bring your children home from the hospital until they graduate from high school, you need to have set guidelines to give them structure and for you to keep your sanity.

  • Try to keep them on a schedule, which keeps you on a schedule. Children want to know what to expect at home, which carries over into school then a job. Structure provides security for all in the household. When they are babies and toddlers, have a set time for them to eat, play, and sleep, and stick to it. Make appropriated adjustments as they grow.
  • Teach your children not to interrupt. Many parents stop everything to listen to a child. Unless it is an obvious emergency, make them wait to speak so you can finish what you are saying to your partner, friend, mother, or whomever. They learn respect and you are able to keep your adult identity.
  • You and your partner must agree on age appropriate discipline, or you will have arguments. Your children will pick up on this and either be stressed out, which will stress you out, or they will take advantage of the disagreement on discipline and pit you and your partner against each other. No, your children are not bad, they are just testing the limits. Establish the discipline with your partner, stick to it, so you do not put your children in a position of “ruling the roost.”

What Does Giving Children Guidelines Have to Do with Keeping Marriage Fresh?

If you have a schedule for your household, you will have time to spend with your partner. Does a schedule always work? Heck no! You will be thrown curve balls, but if your children have structure, they have a way of dealing with the curve balls, too. When supper is ready, your children will be, for lack of a better word, trained to be at the table, plus, it is great family time. If you and your partner set aside story time or play time, your children will have the required attention from loving parents. If your children have a set bedtime, preferably a couple of hours before your own bedtime, you will be able to have adult time.

Teaching your child not to interrupt by saying in a strict tone, “Be quiet while we talk then you can talk when we are finished,” lets them know what is appropriate in many different situations. You do not have to be harsh if you start teaching them not to interrupt early, which will teach them respect for others thoughts and words. It will also help you and your partner have a conversation. Allowing your children to dominate the communications in your home is going to hurt your relationship with your partner. You and your partner need attention, too.

Agreeing on the appropriate discipline is going to keep arguments about your children to a minimum or to none at all. You must agree on discipline, or your whole household will be disrupted.

Make time for fun with each other
Make time for fun with each other | Source

Special Ways to Keep Your Marriage Fresh

You and your partner need to set aside time for each other, not only at home with the kids but away from home, too. Since you do have children, you have noticed that some of the romance has been neglected and kicked to the curb. While throwing out the romance is sometimes necessary, it is just as necessary to keep it alive, rather than letting it die in the gutter.

  • Have a date night. It is more difficult to keep things spontaneous when you are trying to keep the scheduled home life for family structure. That’s okay, though. You need to spend time with each other by going out to eat, seeing a movie, playing miniature golf, riding go-carts, going on a picnic, or whatever you both agree is fun. Yes, you are going to feel guilty because you have left the little ones at home, but stop it from seeping in and ruining the date. Do not make more than one phone call to check on the children. You and your partner spend most of your time with your children, and not only deserve your own fun time, but you owe it to your relationship. Consider it an adult guideline and requirement. (Note: If you do not have a reliable babysitter, call your local high school and ask a counselor for a list of responsible teens to call. If you go to church, you can call the youth minister or Sunday School teacher to ask for a recommendation.)
  • Surprise your partner. If you can afford it, get a room in a nice hotel. Call the grandparents, aunt, best friend, or whomever you trust, and make arrangements for the night. Send your partner an e-mail or call telling where to meet you. You can go out to eat or you can fill a cooler with wines and beers, cheeses, vegetables, cold boiled shrimp, fruits and whipped cream. Allow your imagination to take over and get into your sexy role. The kids are going to be fine without you for one night. Stop with the guilt because they are probably having fun with the person or people you left them with.
  • Try to plan something you both look forward to doing together without children. You are going to have to work harder at being a couple than you did before your kids came along. Sit down and make a list of things you could both enjoy, and be willing to compromise. For instance, your partner may like to play golf while you like to dance. Go play golf or at least drive the cart then go dancing the next time. Be flexible like you were when you dated.
  • When you are home, try to flirt with your partner. Wink, kiss, hug, and touch. You are letting your partner know with little things that you still feel an attraction, and you can still want to make the other feel special. Sometimes when life’s pressures are weighing on you, it is easy to forget these little things and harder still to feel them. Suck it up and consciously make a note to insert these special seconds into each day. You are also showing your children a healthy, loving relationship between their parents.
  • Listen to your partner and be interested in what he or she is doing, whether it is working inside the home or outside the home. If it is important to your partner, make it important to you, too. Do not devalue what your partner does, and try not to complain about things that cannot be changed.
  • Discuss things besides the house and kids. Of course you love your home and children, but you have got to come out of that box and have other interests. You can do something as simple as having a common TV show you enjoy watching, sharing music, books, movies, etc. For your own sanity, figure out interests that are your own and/or those you can share with your partner. Wrapping yourself up in your children is not healthy for anyone in the family.

Source

Communications is the Key

You must keep communications open, whether it is face to face, on the phone, or in an e-mail. Make as much of your time together as you can and don’t expect perfection. When raising children, you need to relax and enjoy the times you have together. Remember, when the kids are raised and gone, it’s just you and your partner. Keep working on the relationship so you will enjoy each other without your children. Lose yourself in each other when you can because those times are fewer and farther between when you are raising a family. Keep it real, and keep your common interests independent from your kids. Make it special when you can.

It is so cliché, but time really does fly. Don’t forget why you decided to marry this person. Plan your future around each other, love your kids, and love each other. It can all fit; it’s just a bigger challenge.

© 2011 Susan Holland

More by this Author


Comments 25 comments

chiefmomofficer profile image

chiefmomofficer 5 years ago from Massachusetts

I couldn't agree more! Priorities definitely get shifted around when you have children, and it's sometimes difficult to find time to be a couple, not just parents. It's so important to still make each other feel special and loved every day. Especially because the best gift you can give your kids is two parents who are happy and very much in love with each other. Great hub!


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

I completely agree, Chiefmomofficer. It is hard to keep a balance, but couples have to work to keep their relationships going strong. We love our kids, but we can't lose sight of our love for our spouse. It is a constant growth process for the whole family.

Thanks for commenting and dropping by! :-)


Giselle Maine 5 years ago

Thank you SO MUCH for this great hub, and for your willingness to write it after I requested advice about this! I learned a huge amount from this hub. The 'no interrupting' rule is a really good one which we definitely need to implement in our home!

I also especially like your tips about flirting with one's partner at home, listening to the other person's interests and talking about things other than the house and kids. All these things got pushed aside after having kids, so I'm looking forward to getting things back on track. Thanks so much for your valuable advice. I'm thrilled to come away from your hub with so many great ideas to try.

This is definitely a great hub for anyone with kids of any age.


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thank you, Giselle! I am honored that you value the ideas. I believe keeping our marriages on track is the best thing we can do for our children. Thanks for the idea. :-)


sunkentreasure profile image

sunkentreasure 5 years ago

HOW TO PLEASE YOUR LOVED ONE

Imagine the look on your loved one's face

discovering a secret love-note

hidden in the fridge

or when they find an apple

that has a ribbon tied all-around it

placed under a pillow.

For a very exciting reaction, leave flower-petals

floating in the bathwater.

Do something special for your loved one today

trying different pleasant ‘surprises'

and the flame of love will burn forever brightly.


sunkentreasure profile image

sunkentreasure 5 years ago

SECRETS OF LOVE By BERNARD LEVINE

Make your love one feel special everyday.

Do not allow your lives to become routine -

prepare lots of different activities to enjoy.

Never take your loved one for granted.

Keep your love forever precious,

sacred and beautiful.

What you put into your love

is what you will get out of your love.

Enrich your lives with prayer.

Always be your partners best friend.

© Bernard Levine


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Sunkentreasure,

Your poems sum up a great deal of what we need to do to keep our relationships fresh. They are beautifully written, and I am so glad you shared them.

Take Care and thanks for dropping by!


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

This is excellent information and I hope some couples are saved by following your advice. Children are important but they need parents with a stable and loving relationship. So its more than alright to put the marriage first sometiems. Great hub!


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hi Ardie, I hope it helps couples cope better knowing that giving to their relationship only helps the children. Of course, there are times we have to put our kids first, but that doesn't mean putting the adult relationship on the back burner.

Thanks for dropping by and reading! :-)


Steve LePoidevin profile image

Steve LePoidevin 4 years ago from Thailand

Very good information. Speaking from experience, it is very easy to slowly drift apart when raising a family. Life begins to center around your children and relatives. This was definitely one of several factors that led to my divorce a decade ago.


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thank you, Steve! I know it can get really hectic. I am sorry to hear that it led to divorce for you. I know that had to be very hard. I think as married with children, it is very easy to grow apart with all the busyness. It is hard work to be a good parent and spouse at the same time.

Thanks for dropping by and reading! :-)


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

I've got three little kids and finding time with the just the hubby gets harder and harder as they are growing. We always communicate, always talk or text, always make time for us even if it is only a minute or two. Sometimes that one long hug is all you need to make your day that much better. 8 years and going strong :) Here's to many many more! Thanks for the hub and ideas! I'll be back through them once or twice I'm sure!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I like "surprise your partner" the best, though all your suggestions are excellent. Voting this Up and Useful.


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Cassy, it sounds like you are doing everything right. It is a real challenge to raise kids and keep a strong marriage. Keep on keeping on!:-)

Thanks for dropping by!


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Alocsin, surprising your partner is fun! It keeps the fire going. :-)

Thanks for dropping by and voting!! :-)


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

sholland10 - Excellent hub Susan. It can be a challenge to keep things fresh, but that is also the beauty of marriage. Making an effort to keep it going and not get caught up in the rush of life and humdrum routines. My hubby and I are going on 21 years and we dated 6 years before we were married. I've basically known him half my life. We are both very disciplined, but enjoy wittiness, great humor and we tend to tease each other for fun. We like to set aside a date night for catching up on 'us'

Lots of great tips here!

voted up, across and sharing. :)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Excellent advice! My children are all grown now but I have to say everything you've stated in your hub my husband and I did. You brought back some great memories for me too. We used to often get my mother in law to babysit for the weekend and we would head out on a getaway. It did wonders for not only my husband and I but for the family as well.

Voting up across the board.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Lots of interesting and useful tips and suggestions! Well done Susan!! :)


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thanks, Marisa! It is a challenge. Like you, my husband and I have been together more than half my life too - thanks for making me feel my age (LOL) - and we have always had a date night. Those saved our sanity at times. Kids are part of the trip of life though, and I don't think any of us here would exchange the experience for anything. :-)

Thanks for voting and sharing!! :-)


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Susan, my kids are grown, too. My daughter is 18, in college, and never home, so that counts as grown. LOL Anyway, yeah, I tried to look back on things we have done in the past in order to write the hub. Giselle asked me to write it and I thought, "Hey, I think I can do that."

Thanks for dropping by and for the votes! I'm glad it brought back good memories for you, too. :-)


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thanks, Linda! So glad you dropped by! I appreciate your comments! :-)


Treasuresofheaven profile image

Treasuresofheaven 4 years ago from Michigan

Good practical advice! It all makes since. And now with adult children lingering around - there's another hub. Your principles are strong. VOTE UP!!


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Hi TreasuresofHeaven! Yes, I should figure out a hub for having grown children around. My son is out and married, giving me another daughter; and my daughter is gone most of the time with college, work, and social life. We sure do have fun when they are home, though. Thanks for the kind words.

So glad you dropped by, and thank you for the vote up! :-)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great hub as always, Susan! Communication is always the key, is it not? Amazing what gifts come from simply talking about things. Wonderful suggestions my friend!


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri Author

Thanks, Bill! Yes, communication is always the key. Sometimes we expect our spouse to read our minds when we get bogged down, but it doesn't work that way.

Thanks so much for dropping by! :-)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working