Every marriage struggles during parenthood. You’re adjusting to your new roles, running on little sleep and wondering why no one prepared you for this.
You’re here for marriage tips but first I want to tell you, this is normal!
Looking back, there are so many things I wish I would have known. You and your spouse will survive this. You can actually become closer than you ever thought possible.
Here are our 7 marriage tips to help you not only survive, but flourish, during parenthood.
1. HOLD ON TIGHT!
This is the single best piece of advice I’ve ever received. I confided in a friend that my relationship was struggling and those were her exact words. She told me it was normal and “to hold on tight and don’t let go.”
We’ve had so many couples confide in us since and we both keep passing that those simple (but effective) words on. The first 6 months with a newborn are emotional. You are officially “Mom” or “Dad.” That title holds a lot of responsibility and speaking for myself, there were a lot a lot of hormones.
I remember feeling so angry one night as my husband was snoring beside me. All I could think was “how dare he not have boobs.” It felt so unfair that I was waking up every 2-3 hours while he slept peacefully in bed. It makes me laugh now but in those first few months I could have smothered him with his pillow.
It’s also okay to mourn your life before. Nights spent getting dolled up and hitting the town became obsolete and binge watching Netflix (with a mix of baby vomit and take-out food spilled on my t-shirt) became more normal.
I recall feeling exhausted, hungry, some days emotionally tapped and yet I wouldn’t change it for anything. Remember, you wanted this! You dreamed of these days. It may not be as glamorous as you thought but you are blessed. Some couples are going through miscarriages, adoption and expensive fertility treatments just praying to experience what you’re going through now.
This is a season of your life. Hold your partner tight and don’t let go, it gets better than you can even imagine! I promise.
2. MAKE YOUR SPOUSE THE PRIORITY
While your child is a newborn they will be your first priority but as soon as they are toddlers that title goes back to your partner. My parents always emphasized this to us and 35 years later (with 3 very strong-willed female children) they are still happily married.
When you put your kids before your partner when they move out you won’t know each other anymore. You’ll have nothing to talk about and your love may feel like it’s faded.
You are your children’s most influential role models. Show them what a healthy relationship looks like and remember you’re setting them up for their future relationships too.
Need to make some time for your partner? Have a date night at home tonight and take turns asking some fun and deep questions. You make think you know everything about your spouse but a lot changes from dating to parenthood.
Enter your e-mail below and I’ll send you 50 FREE Questions To Ask Your Spouse That Will Strengthen Your Marriage.
3. STOP NIT-PICKING
This is something I could easily specialize in. I was so guilty of thinking because I was around our son 24/7 that my way was the best way. It’s easy to be trapped in the comfort that I knew him more than anyone else.
Trust your partner because they need to learn too. Even though you carried your baby for 9 (come on, we all know it’s 10) months it’s not like your spouse had a choice in that matter. Remember they’re going to work every day when they wish they could be with you.
It’s easy to lose yourself during parenthood since you’re putting everyone else before yourself. Make an agreement with your spouse that no matter what happens going forward, you’re in it together and won’t give up.
I know we say in our vows ’til death do us part’ but it’s important to remind one another that wasn’t an empty promise. One person can have their bad day or say something in anger and you know (as much as it isn’t right and still feels terrible) that the relationship will stand the test of time. You are stronger than that.
5. SHOW SOME RESPECT
Marriages do get tested no matter who you are. Talk about your boundaries. In our house hard limits include name calling and never walking out of on an argument.
We are two very different people, that’s exactly why we fell in love but it’s also why we don’t always see eye to eye. We do not need to belittle each other too. In the heat of a moment, it’s easy to cross a boundary but the second you do the flood gates open. After you’ve done it once it’s easy to fall into the pattern and do it again.
We don’t have to like each other right now but at the end of the day we still need to respect each other.
6. FIND A MUTUAL HOBBY
When we started dating we were complete opposites and had zero interests in common (except for each other). He always thought it was important we find a mutual hobby and wanted me to join the gym.
I was reluctant and intimidated. I didn’t want him to see me do something I wasn’t good at, let alone sweat and make some unattractive faces in the process. Finally I gave it a chance, fell in love and became addicted. He showed me how to lift weights (without getting bulky like I thought I would) and encouraged me the whole process. Symptoms from my diseases started to improve and my mindset changed completely. Slowly it started leaking into our lives and we started cooking, setting goals and traveling together.
We had days of struggle where we felt sore, weak and wanted to binge watch Netflix with a pizza but instead we pushed each other. It’s amazing what happens when you accomplish something you never thought you could. We became a bonded team and now there is nothing I love more.
Our gym offers $12/month child care! We can have a little alone time prioritizing each other without the struggle of finding someone to watch our sons.
It doesn’t have to be fitness for you. Try scuba diving, board games, dance classes, paint nights at the pub – it all sounds so cheesy but exploring things you’ve never tried is both scary and fun. You’re in it together and I think you’ll be surprised at the outcome.
7. GET OVER YOUR GUILT
My sisters will be the first to tell you I have the ultimate mom guilt when I leave my sons (even to this day)! I can’t fully explain why but I think it’s because we went through so many scares during pregnancy and we prayed so hard for them.
However, we all deserve time to recharge. If you’re not taking care of your mental health you can’t be there for the people who rely on you. My favorite way to do this is a massage (if you have medical benefits you are usually covered as long you see an RMT), going on a date with my husband or having a girls night out.
It’s very relaxing not having to divide your attention. It also feels good to miss your baby. When you get back to them you give them you have no distractions and are a better parent.
Do you agree? Let me know by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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