Tuesday, September 16, 2014

how I keep my marriage alive after kids

Linking up again with Ashley for the Mamas Tell All series....this week's topic is: How do you keep your marriage alive after kids?  And in my case...kid.


This is something that is definitely not easy and takes a lot of work, just like most things in marriage.  But it's one of those things that I enjoy working at.  When I read this topic, the first thing that popped into my head was Date Nights.  Steve and I love date nights and we used to be really good at them.  Before Claire started school, she would spend every Tuesday night at my parents.  This started when she was about 18ish months old until kindergarten.  And so, every Tuesday was date night.  It was awesome.  We'd go to the movies, go out to dinner, walk on the beach, go to the mall, watch movies at home, run errands together...whatever it was, it was a few hours of just us.  We'd dream and plan and wish and hope.  Just us...no distractions.

Well since Claire started kindergarten, she doesn't spend the night at my parents anymore.  It's definitely made date nights more difficult, but we still manage about 2 of them a month.  They've been such an important part of our marriage.  I know when "Judy" comes, we'll figure out way to make those nights a priority still.  Maybe it will just be once a month for awhile, and maybe Judy will be tagging along at first, but we've come to recognize the importance and value of time alone, to just be together.  And it doesn't have to be for an extended amount of time, maybe even just 30 minutes.

Steve & I have also always been really good about keeping our friendships a priority.  He loves to spend Fridays at the shooting range with the guys, and I love to spend Saturdays with girlfriends.  I've even gone on a few girls weekends and left Steve & Claire at home.  Whenever the other wants to hang out with friends, we encourage it.  We know the importance of it, how it fills us up and re-energizes us.  And sometimes we just crave it.  Neither of us has a lot of friends, but the ones we do, have been around for a long time.  And so we invest in them.  And anytime one spends time with a friend, we can see how much it makes a difference.  It's like that time away is just what is needed to be able to come back and jump fully into our roles as spouse and parent.  It renews our perspective and brings the joy back to our roles as spouse and parent.


There are so many other things I could say, but I'm going to end with this.  Always respect your spouse.  For some people this is really easy to do and for others it's a constant struggle.  Either way, do it.  When you're around your friends and family, never put your spouse down.  Always encourage and build them up, even "behind their backs."  It's especially important for your kids to see and hear you and your spouse treat each other with respect, as that sets the standard for how they'll treat you as well.

It takes a lot of effort at times to keep your marriage alive after kids, but it is the most important relationship you can nurture.  As husbands and wives we need to have as strong of a relationship as possible so we can be strong for our kids as well.  My wish for all of us Mommas is that we'd figure a way to carve out time to be alone with our spouse, no matter how frequent.  Make them feel like they're the most important person on the earth to you (hopefully they are anyway!).  My wish is that we'd take time to ourselves, to be filled back up so we can come back to our families and be better for them.  And my most important wish is that we as mommas would respect our husbands.  If you have sons, you're setting an example for him of what to look for in a future mate and if you have a daughter, you're teaching her how to love and respect her future husband.

Mamas Tell All

Love the Here and Now

39 comments:

Anne @ Love the Here and Now said...

Yes, yes, yes! I am doing a guest post tomorrow with Life with Amberly and Joe and I stated the exact same things about friends and space. It's so healthy! I couldn't agree more!

Melissa Camacho said...

I'm SO glad you mentioned the friends! I wanted to say it in my post but completely forgot! It's so important to remember to take time for friends. I love my hubby, and I know he loves me but we just can't be around each other ALL the time. hahaha. Very well said, mama! <3

ashley said...

RESPECT! AMEN!!!

Rachel Kahindi said...

Building him up even when he's not around is such a great point!

Whitney said...

Totally relate to needing friend time too! It's important for them to have guy's night and for us to have girl's night, absolutely! I always feel young and like we are dating again when I come home from dinner with friends!

Brittany said...

What a great job you've done of devoting time to cultivating and growing your relationship. It's not often that I hear of couples that get one night a week but it's so encouraging. Thanks so much for sharing. Great post Mama - Thanks for linking up!

Amy @ Set Free said...

I feel bad for my girlfriends who never go out and do things with just the girls. :( I value that time so much, plus it's a great opportunity for Steve to play 'Mom" and do things with Claire that maybe they wouldn't normally get to do together!

Amy @ Set Free said...

It's so true, and don't you feel bad for the girls who aren't "allowed" (or whatever) to do things away from their hubs and/or families?? I always love leaving Claire with Steve because he comes up with the most fun things for them to do together, things that Claire and I wouldn't normally do w/o him. Plus it just gives a whole new boost of energy to be home! Glad you agree!!

Amy @ Set Free said...

YES!! I can't stand hearing women put their husbands down! Makes me wonder how they talk behind closed doors!!

Amy @ Set Free said...

Every man needs to feel respected!! :) It's what makes them feel more manly!

Amy @ Set Free said...

Yes!! So true! That's a great way to put it...glad you agree!!

Amy @ Set Free said...

Well, we're not perfect at it, but we try! Sometimes I'm so tired and would rather NOT go out, but I'm ALWAYS glad when I just suck it up and go!! :)

ashley said...

Yes, thats very sad. He is the one person in the world that should never have to be put down by his wife, & should always have her to lean on. The book even said.. that the world already makes our husbands feel like failures daily, so he does not need to hear it from us. I need to work on uplifting my husband more, he has enough stress from the world on his shoulders. I need to be his cheerleader! :P

Amy @ Set Free said...

That's a good point...not only should we NOT put them down, we should be going out of our way to build them up!

TheAdventuresofBugandBoo said...

Date night is definitely helpful!! We don't get to do them as often as I'd like, but just getting a little bit of time together on our own boosts our interactions in a lovely way. :) And respecting your spouse - amen. I read a wonderful article once about only being positive about your spouse in public - no joking negativity, no cracks about how they don't pick up their socks, etc - and the impact it has on how your spouse feels that you're proud of them, supportive of them, etc. Sounds good!

Fawn Rosenbohm said...

Great post Amy. I love the part about making spending time with friends a priority it is so hard but so important for both spouses! Love your blog sweet girl!

Amy @ Set Free said...

Thanks Fawn! I love yours, too...so glad we have blogging and oils to keep us connected. :)

socalledhomemaker said...

Wow, I hadn't thought of the point about spending time with friends. That's a great point! Thanks for linking up to Mamas Tell All!

Amy @ Set Free said...

I love this link up! And yes, for my hubs and me, spending time with friends has always been a priority in our marriage...doesn't work for everyone I'm sure!

Catherine said...

SO true! We moved overseas a year ago and it has almost been impossible to have a date night (no babysitters+ no where to go). Been having to rethink what "date night" looks like for us and get creative!

Amy @ Set Free said...

Well as exciting as it sounds to move overseas, I know leaving family and friends would be so difficult! I hope you're able to create that community and find times to get away with your husband!!

ashortblonde said...

While, I don't exactly love that we've had to battle infertility...I do know that our relationship has had the added benefit of more time. More time to grow as friends and as husband and wife. It'll change a lot, but we've grown a lot through the low points we've shared together.

Amy @ Set Free said...

I'm sorry you've had to fight that battle. For 4.5 years we thought we were infertile, hardest but best 4.5 years of our marriage. It really brought out the best and worst in both of us and sometimes I didn't know if we'd make it. When you get through those low points, you come out so much stronger, more in love, and a better team. And when babe finally comes...in whatever form that is (adoption, fertility processes, etc.), it's something you appreciate and do not take one bit for granted. I'll be praying for you. You're on a hard, but rewarding journey.

Tiffany Gowesky said...

So true how even 30 minutes of undistracted time together is so valuable. We try and do at least a monthly date night without the kids. Love your encouragement to never disrespect each other - so true and such a good reminder!

Kendra Loisel said...

I don't have any kids but I can completely see how this could dim a marriage. I love the idea of setting specific date nights. You and your husband are adorable fyi!

Jenna Brussee said...

These are really great points! Even in dating I have found the importance of a regular date night. It sounds funny since I'm still dating, but it's easy to let the schedule fill up without making time to be together, just the two of us. I'm glad to be learning these things now to apply when I'm married later.

Amy @ Set Free said...

Don;t you love date nights? They're my fave! I'm working hard on the disrespect part, realizing that sometimes even when I think I'm joking, it's not!!

Amy @ Set Free said...

Ah, thanks girl. Marriage is hard work and it's great when you find someone worth working hard for!! :)

Amy @ Set Free said...

It's so true, because when you're dating, you're making habits for marriage!! It's important to have specific time set apart from everything else to just be together, listen, talk...etc. So glad you're already doing that while dating!

Faith Golden said...

I'm not a momma yet but I loved this post!! Even though we don't have children yet we always try and be careful not to fill out schedules so full that we don't have time for "us" time. I completely agree about date night .. always a good idea. :) and YES .. I completely agree about always having your spouse back!! They should be your best friend and you should always take up for them and have their backs. :) Great post!

Amy @ Set Free said...

Thank you!! And it's so great that you're developing healthy "date night" habits now. Once the kids come, it's harder to schedule them (and more expensive if you don't have free babysitting!), but you already know the importance and will do what it takes to make it happen! :)

Amy @ Set Free said...

You guys really are going to be fantastic parents! So glad you're in the habit of date nights now...kids make it that much harder when they come along! And yes, time with friends, it has been such an important thing for S & I to have that. Makes us love and appreciate each other even more. I always feel bad for girls who say they can't get out and do things unless it's for the whole family, or the hubs needs to come along or whatever. You're so right...it fills a completely different compartment, and makes such a difference...a healthy one...in marriage.

samaeby said...

This is a great read! I feel like we go back and forth with our consistency on this even without kids. But when we do have our date nights and balance with friends, it's noticeable the difference in our house. We're both so much more filled up and it's a great thing to strive for.

Amy @ Set Free said...

So true! And such a great practice and habit to have before the kids come! :)

alyssa nicole said...

Awesome for you guys! I hope you continue to have a good marriage and that it gets even better! Never stop dating and always love deeply. <3

Betsy Gettis said...

this is so great Amy! I can imagine that making time for just the two of you (or for friends) can be tough with a little one, but it sounds like you guys do a great job! :)

Amy @ Set Free said...

Thank you!! We still have so much to work on and I know things will change when Baby #2 comes. BUT we've seen how worth it the hard work is...thankful we're a team! ;)

Ashley LaMar said...

The biggest thing for me is to always believe in, and have confidence in, your spouse. If they have a dream, encourage it. If they have a goal, support it. The world is full of enough people trying to squash our dreams and drag us down. It's important that the one you have promised to build a life with is always there encouraging you, believing in you, and building you up.

Amy @ Set Free said...

YES!! So true! Especially men...I think they have a bigger burden on them, knowing they're the providers. They should get to do what they love and dream about so that they enjoy providing!