(This is a note: Feel free to change the language in this post to match what works for you – partner for spouse, partnership or relationship for marriage. Onward and upwards now!)
We are still continuing on our “Back to Basics” posts. I really wanted to include one on the challenge and importance of nurturing your marriage, because family stability is so important for children.
How do you hold onto your spouse and marriage in the midst of raising small children? It can be really difficult, because as many of you know, time is little, many times there can be small children waking at all various times and in your bed, and “going out” can be challenging as well.
I see many attachment-minded mothers (and fathers) who seem to replace the intimacy of their marriage with a relationship to their children. Whilst I love the connection to children, a child is not your spouse. A child is not there to fulfill your adult needs. A child will be grown up and gone, and you and your partner will be looking at each other across the kitchen table wondering what you all have in common with each other. Many of you have read my back posts on marriage and know the wise saying of my own friend who talks about preparing for the day the children will be gone from the home starting today.
Here are some of my ideas for building up a marriage during this season of raising children:
- Talk to one another with respect and have a good sense of humor. Sometimes raising children can bring up all kinds of things from the past to how one views discipline to how one talks to children and to each other. Make a true and concerted effort to respect one another, to take things in a positive light and to have a good sense of humor. Here is a whole post on respect: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/22/joy-for-january-respect-for-your-partner/
- Tell your spouse or partner what you need. They cannot read your mind. If you don’t know what you need, how will they?
- Know what stage of marriage you are in: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/19/inspirations-from-tapestries-the-stages-of-marriage/
- Work together – start by assuming positive intent and work to parent together as partners.
- Carve out time for intimacy. Outside of respect, I think many men feel close to their partners when they are physically intimate.
- Carve out time to be together and do something enjoyable together. You don’t have to leave your children with a babysitter to watch a movie, play a game or cards, or read, or take a walk together.
- Share a faith-filled life together…Pray together. I wrote about that here in this post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/05/30/secrets-of-a-happy-marriage/
- There are lots of posts regarding marriage on my blog; this is one of the early ones I wrote that I like: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/17/using-your-first-year-of-parenting-to-fall-deeper-in-love-with-your-spouse/
I am waiting to hear your ideas in the comment box below!