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Most women are nurturers. Anyway, most of the ones I know are. After kids come along, that magnifies x approximately 1 billion per child. Facts. Many women feel responsible for happy, healthy children, and for creating a happy marriage.
Having a happy marriage can be easier in the beginning when it’s just the two of you. Then if babies come along, life changes in a big way, and all of a sudden, you have these little miniature people that YOU are responsible for.
And all the incredible responsibility that comes along with that.
Keeping them alive and basically, turning them into good people… Easier said than done.
But somewhere along the line, we started putting the kids above our marriage… And we’ve got it backwards.
God created marriage. He created it to be joyful! He made Eve for Adam because Adam was lonely and God saw that he needed a helpmate.
I love in Ecclesiastes 4 where it talks about the advantages of companionship.
Two are better than one because they help each other be successful. They can lift each other up if one of them stumbles. Two can keep each other warm. They can fight battles together and conquer opposition because their backs will never be on their enemies (that’s the Hannah translation).
Putting our kids above our marriage isn’t how it is supposed to be. God made marriage first, then children came after.
Your marriage matters more now, not less.
It matters more now because you have all these little eyes, looking to you.
Looking at how you treat each other.
Is it kind? Does it honor God? Are you thoughtful? Do you look for opportunities to create peace, or do you conflict where it could be avoided?
How you speak to each other.
Are you patient? Are encouraging words and life words your go to? Do you tear down or build each other up? Do you compliment each other?
How you touch each other.
Do you come up and hug each other when one is washing out a dish at the sink? Do you smile and greet him with a hug and a kiss when he comes home from work?
If you stand as a unit, or if you can be divided.
Can they ask for an Oreo from Mom, get a “no”, then go to Dad and get a “yes”? When Daddy says something and they go to Mommy for the answer they wanted, does she stand behind Dad? Unity in the small things matter as much as it does in the big things.
They’re looking at how you love each other and defining what “love” really means so they have a model for their future relationships; and there is a good chance they will try to mimic whatever example they grew up with, whether it was loving or not.
You’re their first example of everything, and whether or not you have a happy marriage, yours will set what will one day be their standard for what they consider to be a normal relationship.
In the real world, it’s hard to make your marriage a priority, and it’s easy to go on autopilot.
When you have one that peed on the floor, another that’s crying because you told her she couldn’t have raisins right now, and another that needs a bottle, it’s hard.
Or when the dog hurt his back and you have to take all 4 of them to the vet, it’s hard.
When you have a bunch of whiny, grumpy, hangry, tired kids, and it’s only 11:07am and bedtime feels like it’s 5 years away, it’s so hard.
When 2 out of 3 have ear infections and sinus infections and they’ve never been grumpier, and the baby is having trouble nursing, and you can’t seem to get off the couch because she won’t latch or keep the big ones from coughing all over the baby like they have hairballs the size of tumbleweeds lodged in their lungs, it’s so hard.
I could go on about the baby that is into everything and puts everything in her mouth, the oldest that thinks she’s the mom, and the threenager with an attitude bigger than she is, but I won’t.
When you could just barely do the bare bottom minimum today, you aren’t going to want to spend intentional time after they go to bed, as much as you want to just take a shower, turn on the TV, and not be touched except for the best blanket on earth cocooning you until you go to bed.
I saw something once that I thought was super cool (wish I could remember where to thank them for the inspiration), but it was basically like a 2-2-2 rule:
Every two weeks go for a date, every 2 months, go away for a weekend, every 2 years, go away for a week.
Really though, there’s no way. Not right now. But we could do maybe a date every other week and go away for a night once a year. When they get older I fully plan on just Joey and I going away by ourselves, but right now, I feel like they’re too little to leave for too long.
This is such a cool concept that you can adapt to make work for you.
So in real life, how do you make it a priority?
How do you not put it on the back burner, because that’s the easiest thing to do?
How do you not just coast through your marriage when it feels like you live at the circus?
Well, I’ve done both; and I’ve found some ways to create a happy marriage in the middle of the monotonous chaos of having three little ones.
Is it always easy to build a happy marriage? No.
Is it always worth it?
1) Make intentional time after they go to bed to talk.
It doesn’t even have to be for too long. Twenty minutes make a big difference. Make an effort to talk about something that doesn’t involve the kids.
2) Make time for dates (even if it has to be after they’re in bed).
This isn’t going to be every night, obviously; but once a week or every few weeks, if you can’t go out, make time to spend together after the kids go to bed. Intentional time… No movies. Act like you like each other. Act like you’re dating. If you’re at home without a sitter and need a date night, I got you covered! Read this.
3) Go to bed together.
Joey and I very rarely go to bed separately anymore. I don’t know what it is, but something about this really promotes oneness.
4) Read your Bibles together.
It doesn’t even have to be anything super elaborate; just a few verses a day will go a long way.
5) Pray together.
And take turns doing it. Pray for your home, your family, your marriage, your kids, protection, grace, mercy, safety, and anything else that’s on your heart.
6) Don’t hold onto stuff.
Nothing good ever came from harboring ill wills. It’ll hurt you. Air it out.
7) Forgive. Fully.
To add on to the last one… Forgive. Fully. That means don’t bring it up again and don’t keep thinking about it. Let the past stay in the past.
8) Talk about what’s on your heart.
No head games. He’s not a mind reader. No matter how small, share. It’ll make your life a lot more peaceful than holding something in your heart, and looking at him with more annoyance than it warrants when he leaves his socks in the floor or doesn’t take out the trash. Get. It. Out. It has no place in your marriage.
9) Hug often… And let them see you.
And be a part of it when they wiggle between your legs and laugh.
10) Kiss… And let them see you.
Because they’re watching.
11) Learn each other’s love languages, dialects, and become fluent.
I save the best for last a lot, don’t I? This was honestly huge to Joey and I. Learning each other’s languages then working at becoming fluent at it made a huge change to how we perceive that we are loved. Even if you know it, really feeling it deep in our bones is life changing. I felt so strongly about this that I wanted to share it with you! I wrote a whole post about it here:
12) Prioritize date night
This is way less about what you do and more about the intentionality of the quality time you spend. Need some new date night ideas that aren’t dinner and a movie? Read this!
How will you make your spouse a priority and work to build a happy marriage today? Drop a comment and let’s chat! I’d love to hear from you!
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Have a beautiful day, my friend!