My husband (Brent) and I moved in together after three months of dating and were together for two years before we had kids. We started having kids three years before getting married. We didn’t go the traditional/by the book route but we have been together long enough to know some things. We have been through it all and made it through it all. Marriage takes work.
It’s more than a piece of paper — something I thought for a long time. We built a foundation before having kids and built an even more solid foundation after having them. We still run into some bumps but we have figured out what is important to us and what works for us. Below are some tips on how to maintain a strong marriage after kids.
Show affection in front of your kids
Before having kids I didn’t know how important this would be but your kids need to see you show love to each other. This was something I didn’t understand at first because I grew up in a single-parent home. So every time Brent would try to love on me I would tell him to stop — I was a prude, I know. Of course, y’all need to keep it appropriate lol so don’t get too crazy.
Establish a spiritual connection
Before I met my husband I remembered very little about the bible. I mean I grew up in the church and went to vacation bible school, but I lost my connection with God as I grew older. My husband brought Him back into my life early in our relationship and I’m so thankful for that. So be sure to maintain your relationship with God as that should be the basis of your marriage.
Never go to bed angry
This one y’all, this the one!! Lol. In all seriousness PLEASE do not go to bed angry, don’t go sleep in another room, don’t go sleep at your parents’ house. Take a breather from whatever disagreement y’all are having, come back to it clear-headed, compromise or agree to disagree.
Your kids notice everything. They may not understand it but they are used to a routine and they will notice when mommy and daddy aren’t sleeping together. If they are old enough they’ll begin to ask questions.
Love is more than a word
You have to do more than just say “I love you”. Let your love speak through your actions. Take turns giving your kids a bath or washing their hair. Give one another a break from the kids. Ask your spouse “what can I do for you right now?”. Your love language may not be the same as your spouse so don’t be afraid to ask. Cook them their favorite meal, give them a massage, be quiet lol. If you’ve been together for a long time you know what to do to make your spouse happy so just do it unexpectedly.
Prior to marriage, I didn’t think intimacy was that important but oh boy it is. I mean think about it, this is the only person you are allowed to be intimate with for the rest of your life. Have fun with it, get creative, take advantage of time without the kids or when the kids are asleep to do the deed. Being intimate doesn’t always mean sex, you can be intimate physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.
Learn to negotiate conflict
You are going to run into some disagreements during your marriage, that’s a given. What you do when you come to those disagreements are vital. You won’t always get your way so get that out of your head now. You won’t always agree when it comes to the kids because y’all weren’t raised in the same household. Learning to negotiate and compromise can alleviate conflict within your marriage.
Y’all should have discussed raising children before having them. Even if you had the conversation you could have a change of heart when the kids are actually here. Check out my post ‘6 Important Things to Discuss Before Marriage’ here.
Put kids to bed early
YES, GOD! (in my mother-in-law’s voice) Put those babies to bed early — at least try to. Even if it’s just so you two can be in bed doing your own thing. It’s so important to end the day on a good note, so what better way than putting them to bed thirty minutes to an hour early and enjoying each other’s company. Use that time to ask each other how you are feeling, do the deed, play some games, watch a movie, go over the next day’s plans.
Put them to bed early especially if it was a long and stressful day. We put the girls to bed no later than 8:30 pm. Are they sleep by 8:45? lol heck no. But they know it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Don’t ever stop dating each other.
Yes, you think you have reached a peak when it comes to being in a relationship but you still need to win each other over every day. Do all the things you were doing when you first started dating. Don’t forget why you two fell in love with each other and how those kids got here in the first place. *wink wink*
Plan for the future and don’t forget about your goals
I think this is by far the most important one. When you have children I think you can lose sight of who you are as a couple and what you want both want out of life. So it’s crucial that you two have a plan for the future, map out your goals and never lose sight of them. One thing you can do as a couple to map out your goals and visualize them is making a vision board. Check out my post about them here.
Ultimately, your kids aren’t going to always need you and they will not always be living with you — God willing. At the end of the day, it’s you and your spouse in that marriage. When those vows were exchanged you two became a unit, so you need to work as a unit. Don’t stop putting the work in and don’t forget about each other by only focusing on the kids!