It all started with the two of you, madly in love. Yet, somewhere along the way, you began to feel more and more like roommates instead of heirs together in the grace of life.
Marriage changes after having children, but it should grow sweeter instead of falling apart.
Balancing marriage and parenting can at times feel like an emotional rollercoaster.
My husband and I hadn’t been married for long before we had our first son. We both immediately fell in love with our sweet baby, and our lives shifted according to his needs.
Our oldest was about a month old when I realized that I was no longer fulfilling my role as a wife. My life so completely revolved around the life of my son that I was neglecting my relationship with my husband.
It was a bit of an eye-opener. My husband felt neglected and unloved because I wasn’t making enough time for him.
Yes, children need our care but so does our relationship with our spouse. Too often, our children become the center around which our entire life revolves.
We now have five children, and they do take up a lot of my time and attention. As their primary caregiver, too often the one that yells the loudest wins my attention.
Then there is my husband, often getting the leftovers of my time and energy.
I was a wife before I was a mother, and I will be his wife (Lord willing) after our children are all gone from home.
You were a couple before you were parents, and you were a wife before you were a mom. Focusing on improving your marriage while your children are still young will benefit you both in the future.
Cultivating your relationship with your husband is crucial to a great marriage, and these simple tips can help to improve your relationship over time!
1. Learn To Listen To Understand
I used to believe I was a good listener. I didn’t interrupt my husband when he was talking (not too often anyway), and I genuinely tried to pay attention.
Then I realized I was not actually listening to understand. Instead, I was listening with preconceived concepts in my mind. If you listen and yet already know what you are going to say, before he has finished talking, then you are not really listening.
Empathetic listening is not only listening to the words being spoken but also studying body language and the emotions behind them. This takes a great deal more concentration than just listening.
Clear away distractions, and try to listen fully without judging. Your emotional connection will deepen and the mutual trust will grow! Being an active listener is an essential skill to have.
2. Don’t Neglect Physical Intimacy
Physical intimacy in marriage is much more than our culture today portrays it to be. It has been cheapened and degraded, both by purity culture and the world around us.
In every marriage, one of you will have a higher drive. Learn to fulfill each other’s desires, and even if you have small children, make the time for it.
The connection that comes from being physically intimate with your husband will strengthen your relationship, and affirm his importance to him.
3. Spend Time Alone
My husband and I are terrible at this, even if I know how important it is. Balancing marriage and parenting with busy schedules is hard.
There never seems to be alone time available. Now that our children are older, my husband and I do get more chances to go for a walk alone, or take a drive together.
Having an earlier bedtime is helpful for some couples, as their evenings are the only alone time they get. But you have to make it a priority.
4. Put Away The Screens
When you finally have time alone, don’t spend it watching movies or scrolling on Facebook. It can feel super tempting to wind down by going on social media, but make an effort to spend time without your phone.
If you aren’t used to this, you might even find it awkward at first. We know each other so well, but when we aren’t making the effort for an emotional connection, things can start to feel strange between us.
5. Flirt With Your Husband
Wives, please don’t stop flirting with your husbands.
That passion and excitement that was there when you first started dating doesn’t have to disappear. Try kissing your husband a bit longer, and teasing him.
Have fun! A marriage shouldn’t be mundane just because you have been together for many years.
6. Verbalize Your Appreciation
Your words mean a lot to your spouse. Big or small, thank him for the things he does. When you set your mind on the good things about your husband and tell him, your marriage will improve overnight.
Whenever I feel like I cannot find anything good about my husband, I know I have fallen into a negative mindset.
There will be seasons in your life where you will need to search for the good in him, simply because the enemy of our minds seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
That includes our marriage. Never believe that Satan is for your marriage. He wants it destroyed. Practicing a grateful heart will strengthen your marriage.
7. Pray For Your Husband
The power of prayer is the most underrated tool we have as Christian wives.
Pray fervently for your husband. Stand in the gap for him. Prayer is a life-changing connection with our heavenly Father and will help you balance marriage and parenting better.
Pray for yourself, but also pray for your husband. Pray that God will show you how you can be his helper and companion.
Balancing marriage and parenting can be difficult, but by evaluating your priorities, your marriage can flourish after having children.
Don’t forget your husband’s needs, and remember that your children won’t suffer from a lack of attention. Children thrive when they see their mom loving their daddy.
Your children need you to love their father more than they need all your time and energy.
Your marriage doesn’t need to suffer, but can get better after having kids! Cultivating your relationship with your husband will help keep your marriage strong after becoming parents.
Marilyn is the writer behind Keepers At Home, a place where wives can find encouragement and guidance in guiding their homes for the glory of God. She encourages women there to be godly wives and mothers. She and her husband have five children, and have been married for 12 somewhat challenging years. They live in Northern Canada, where the winters are long but beautiful, and the summers are short.