My husband and I had our first child just one month shy of our first wedding anniversary. Boy, were we in for a shock as we began to navigate married life after kids! We attempted to go away to a beautiful resort to relax and celebrate but instead, we spent the whole time trying to get our unwell, non-sleeping one month old to stop crying and sleep… So romantic.
Being a first-time parent can really test your relationship. It certainly tested ours. It’s a whole new chapter in life and regardless of the kind of baby you are blessed with (a great sleeper or not), couples inevitably have to make sacrifices and discover their new “normal” as a family unit.
My husband, in particular, went through a big stage of mourning. Mourning for a time when it was just the two of us, free to do whatever we pleased, whenever we pleased! It sounds a little ridiculous writing that as babies are an enormous blessing, but they are also incredibly hard work. And this brand new tiny screaming bundle had taken me away from my husband.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing and if I had my time again, there are definitely things I would do differently to ensure my husband knew I hadn’t forgotten “us”. But over the years we have worked hard at our marriage and learnt many things along the way that have helped us navigate the somewhat craziness of married life with young kids.
Tips for married life after kids
Put each other first
This is easier said than done but I’m talking about the little gestures that can make all the difference. My husband makes an effort always to greet me first, before the kids, when he comes home from work. Firstly, this makes me feel loved and important and secondly, it is so good for kids to witness things like that. As an old quote from Theodore Hesburgh says, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
My husband also knows I’ve got his back. If our boys speak to him rudely I will step in defensively, telling them not to speak to their dad like that. Yes, I am a mother, but I was a wife first. And my kids need to know that their mum and dad have each other’s backs.
This one is hard. It’s still a process for me. Communicating effectively is not just about speaking our minds. The delivery is also important. It is so easy to hurt each other with our words and our tone. And our partners can’t read minds (unfortunately) so we need to have open, honest conversations with them. Learning how to disagree respectfully is also a challenge. There are some great resources below that have helped us with this!
Invest in your marriage
Marriage is a choice. I choose to love this person (who sometimes drives me crazy!) every single day. It is a choice worth investing in. We personally feel it is worthwhile seeking guidance and wisdom from outside sources- from people who are further along in their marriage journey than you or from trained professionals who can give you a different perspective on things. It is an investment you won’t regret!
We have found a few resources that have really helped us gain insight and encouragement in our marriage. The 5 Love Languages quiz helps couples discover how to love each other effectively, as we all feel love in different ways.
Danny Silk from Loving on Purpose is a brilliant speaker and teacher who provides lots of laughs along with wisdom. There are loads of resources on his website that are also available on Amazon, eBay etc.
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Mike Gungor is exactly as the title suggests. Hilarious. A wonderful series to watch with your spouse. The topics themselves (“The Tale of Two Brains”, “How to Stay Married and Not Kill Anyone”) give you an insight into what you’re in for!
Date your partner
It took us a while to get this happening but we try to have regular date nights. KID FREE. And we can definitely tell when one is overdue! Even just going for a coffee together while mum-in-law babysits for an hour can help couples reconnect. And as hard as it is, try not to talk about the kids. Our beautiful kids consume so much of our lives, so take that short amount of time away from them to just BE with your partner.
Life is crazy at times with kids, but I hope these few ideas encourage you in your post-kids marriage journey!
MOPS Blog Administrator