In the 9 months after we find out we’re expecting we make so many adjustments in our lives in preparation for the baby. We:
- Read books on parenting
- Purchase the necessary items for the baby
- Take parenting classes
- Baby-proof our home
One thing we often forget to do is kid-proof our marriage.
Marriage has its own set of challenges even before we bring kids to the mix, yet we don’t take any type of action to prepare our marriage for this adjustment. It’s time for that to change. Here are my 4 key tips to kid-proof your marriage:
1) Create a “We” Mentality
When we get married and begin to prepare for having a family, we have big dreams. Dreams for ourselves, for our marriage, and our kids. Yet, as a couple, we never discuss and cultivate a “we” mentality in preparation for growing a family.
How will we handle a job transition?
How will we navigate the loss of a loved one?
What will we do if someone didn’t get any sleep?
How do we hope to navigate parenthood?
It’s crucial before having kids to discuss how you AND your spouse will tackle common life occurrences, both big and small. The first key tip to kid-proofing your marriage is to sit down and create “we” goals for life.
2) Show Priority to Your Marriage
People often look back on their marriage after their kids grow up and go off on their own and wonder where they went wrong. It’s quite simple. They didn’t make their marriage a priority. We over-commit ourselves and our families with other activities that fill our calendars.
Something to remember is that spending time together doesn’t always have to be an extravagant ordeal. Here are some ideas:
- Spending 15 minutes a day talking as friends goes a long way.
- Picking up a special dessert to share after the kids go to bed is always a treat.
- Playing a board game or reading a book together is a great way to connect.
3) Create Healthy Boundaries in Your Household
As someone that speaks with couples on a regular basis, one of the things I see is that couples do not discuss, create, and agree on what boundaries they want for their family. Many times we create an unhealthy boundary in our marriage, whether it’s intentional or incidental when we prioritize our kids before our spouse. Did we really envision our future to be us sleeping with the baby sleeping in the master bedroom while dad sleeps on the couch? Did we envision not spending quality time at night with our spouse because our kiddos want us to lay with them in their bed until they go to sleep? These types of activities can create division and cause deep resentment. Sit down and look at what boundaries need to start being enforced and work together as a team to make it happen.
4) Cultivate Growth in Your Marriage
Just as we need to nurture seedlings to grow over time into strong trees, we need to nurture our marriage in the same way. We can’t expect to still be compatible partners in our marriage after the kids grow up if we don’t intentionally cultivate our relationship.
What stage is your marriage in?
What can you do to nurture your marriage to grow?
Do you need to go back to the basics to get your marriage healthy again before growing?
We all agree that going from a couple to a family is difficult. It’s our responsibility to build a good foundation and continue to cultivate your marriage; you’ll grow together while raising your family to where you can be stronger than ever once the kids leave the nest. So, now take a moment and decide how you plan to kid-proof YOUR marriage and let me know in the comments below.