- Gender and Relationships
Keeping Your Marriage Alive When You Have Kids
I was recently talking to a friend who is considering marriage. Among the many pieces of advice that I offered I told them that the feelings they have now will not always be there especially when you throw a couple kids into the mix. Those of us who have children understand the joy that they bring and how they can drain all our time and energy leaving nothing for our spouse. Here I want to give some tips on how to keep the relationship with your spouse alive even among the chaos of raising children.
1. I had blue eyes first
When you have children, especially when you have multiple children, you can easily forget your spouse. You may be spending time together, but it is spent chasing, correcting, yelling, shuttling, and doing all the various activities of raising kids. Rather than the peaceful walks in the park together, you are now stressing out together. When this happens we must remember that our spouse was there first and that they will be there after the kids are gone. Obviously this does not apply in every family, but I am saying that our spouse should take first priority. While this does not mean that our children are not important, it does mean that the one we fell in love with should still be the one who gets our attention.
2. Let's get together
I remember on the movie Parent Trap a scene where the twins were trying to get their parents back together by singing a song with the lyrics 'let's get together yea, yea, yea...'. I wonder if that could be our kids singing. So often we are pulled apart when we used to be so close. In order to keep you marriage alive you need a commitment to get together, just the two of you.
3. A walk in the park
One of the things my wife and I love to do is walk on Portland's waterfront park. It is beautiful and it is our space. No kids. No distractions. Just us. When was the last time you and your spouse had that time? Maybe it's time to take that walk with no agenda but just talking. You will be refreshed and amazed at what you were missing in the chaos of life.
4. How 'bout a date?
Guys, when was the last time you asked your wife out on a date? Remember those butterflies you got when you were trying to ask her out for the first time? Maybe you need those butterflies again. Getting a babysitter and going on a date will help you get reconnected. It doesn't have to be expensive or fancy, but it does need to happen. Put in your schedule like everything else if you need to, but make sure it gets done. You will be glad you did.
5. We need to talk
When you are dealing with the issues of life you rarely get to have deep conversations or quiet talks. One thing we like to do is put the kids down to bed, turn down the lights, put on some soft music and talk. We get a chance to talk about some issues that need dealt with, and we get an opportunity to learn more about each other. When I am chasing the kids, dealing with school and other things I don't tend to open up with my wife. During our times alone I open up and share what is on my heart. It draws us closer.
There was a time when all that mattered was the one you had fallen in love with. Now, maybe other things have gotten in the way. I encourage you to fall in love all over again. Spend time together and share the joy of marriage once again. Some day you may have the joy of sitting on a porch together in your golden years and the time you invested in each other now will pay off as you share laughs and pleasant conversations.