Marriage is tricky business. Marriage with littles can be even harder at times. Someone recently asked me to share my tips for keeping a marriage strong while balancing the demands of life, motherhood, and working full time. This is written with someone very specific in mind, but I hope you’ll take away a thing or two as well.
10. Be real about the “season” you’re in. You are in the early days of motherhood. THINGS.ARE.HARD. Period. To balance it all can be tough. Those chicks blogging about their perfect “date nights” are likely only sharing their best side with you. They get frustrated too. They have arguments/disagreements and sometimes don’t feel connected either. They just don’t blog about it.
9. You know that thing you have less than zero interest in but is your spouse does? Try doing it with them or chatting about it once in awhile with them. For me, I don’t really care about space. It’s not my thing. But my husband is very passionate about space and space exploration. So we chat about it sometimes. I know enough about whatever the latest news is to engage in a semi thoughtful intelligent conversation. He feels the same way about just about any show on Bravo. But he’ll sit and watch it with me from time to time. (Although, not anymore since we cut cable).
8. Communicate! Find your spouse’s love language and speak it. If he or she doesn’t know yours, tell him it and give them concrete examples how you best feel loved. For me, Mike can tell me all he wants, but acts of service is my language. If you’ve never read The Five Love Languages, pick it up as soon as you can.
7. Are you doing everything you can to make sure your basic needs are met? You cannot give from an empty well. Take time make sure you are taking care of you! Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting time you need (extrovert- time with friends, introvert- time to yourself)?
6. Quality time over quantity of time. Make the time you do get to be in each other’s space really count! Can you commute together? How about waking up 20 minutes early to have some quiet time together before you have to start your day?
5. Get creative with your dates! One my my favorite dates is the “couch date”. One of us runs and gets take out while the other puts Malone to bed. We cozy up with a new to us movie or tv show and just spend uninterpreted time (aka no laptops or Iphones) together. We also take time once in awhile to have lunch together while Malone is at school. A date doesn’t have to be a night out on the town!
4. The grass is greenest where you water it. Be protective of your heart and guard your emotions. The most intimate parts of you (heart, mind, body, and soul) are sacred to your marriage.
3. Dream with the them, dream for them. Pray with them, pray for them.
2. This one is probably the toughest for me- but be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Be controlled in your speech and generous with your encouragement. The best example I can think of is the story of a man who told his son to drive a nail into a fence every time he lost his temper. He ended up with several nails in the fence. Eventually he began to control his temper so his dad had him start pulling the nails out of the fence. The nails were gone, but the damage was clearly visible. You can read the whole story here. Actually, this is probably they way you want to treat everyone, not just your spouse.
1. If 10-2 don’t work, go back to knowing each other in the “biblical” sense. Fake it till you make it. You’ll always make it.