Remember the days before having kids?
Yes, it’s tough to remember those days where we didn’t feel completely exhausted, where we went out and did things spontaneously, and spent quality time with our partner. One thing that got hit the hardest after having kids was my marriage. I mean, I knew it would be different, but in no way was I prepared for the toll it would take on our relationship. That in many ways, my spouse seemed to take a back seat to our kids. This transition happened unknowingly and unintentionally.
Things shifted, and our relationship felt distant. We were arguing more than usual about big things and little things. Sometimes it would be about something totally ridiculous! This was when I realized that we were longing for connection. We began to argue because we no longer were getting a positive connection. When kids are in the mix, it’s hard not to get sucked into the day-to-day routines and to break away from being on autopilot.
Here is How to be More Intentional in Your Marriage After Kids
Acknowledge the State of Your Marriage
When we get caught up in the day-to-day of life and begin to live on autopilot, and it’s easy to not even realize the hole you’ve dug. If you recognize that you’re marriage is in a rut talk to your spouse about it. Acknowledging this is the first step because it takes work to climb out of the hole you dug and once both you and your spouse acknowledge it is easier to climb out together.
Ditch the Dinner Dates
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You enlist a family member or hire a sitter to babysit your kid/s so you can spend time with your spouse. One of two things happen:
You go to a movie. Afterward, you get a bite to eat. You do one of three things:
1) End up talking about the kids and work
2) Don’t talk much and one or both of you end up on your phones
When you’re in a rut, you do predictable things over and over because it doesn’t take much thought. Next time do something different – go rock climbing, take a cooking class, go to a trampoline park. Do something fun and something out of the ordinary to spend better quality time with each other.
Tell them what you need
How many times do we get overwhelmed and say to our partner, “I just need you to do more.” Let’s get real: What does this even mean?!? We have to be specific with our partner about our needs.
- “I’m going to bathe the kids after dinner. Can you help pick up the kitchen?”
- “I’m having a bad week. Can we just cuddle tonight?”
- “Is it possible for you to come home early to help with picking up the kids on Thursday?”
Don’t forget that we should be mindful of our partner’s schedule too. They, like us, have their plate full with their own responsibilities. They also feel overwhelmed and stressed from work and other external things. (It’s ok if you roll your eyes at this…I’ve been there too.)
Start thinking of sex as a tool…not a burden
Unfortunately, sex is one of the first things that starts to disappear after having kids. I can guarantee, when a couple feels their relationship is in a rut because they are always arguing and on edge, that they have not been intimate for a while.
We have to stop thinking of sex as a burden or a chore, but a tool to help strengthen our marriage. We have to make this a priority just like we strive to make communication a priority in our marriage.
Don’t wait to be more intentional in your marriage
I hear so many couples say, “We’ll on us after the kids are grown up.”
No! Don’t wait!
We need to build better connections now. Don’t hold off creating experiences for you and your spouse on account of the kids. You can include them and tweak as you go along, or you can leave the kids at home and go!
Now is the time to be intentional and prioritize our marriages. It takes hard work, compromise, and communication to do this, but by taking these steps, you’ll be better able to get out of the rut and restoring your marriage. It’s time to focus on your marriage after kids so you can enjoy this season of life together too!
Want to start working on your relationship today?
Check out my online course How to Kid-Proof Your Marriage and take the first step in feeling less like roommates and more like a couple again.