5 TIPS FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE AFTER HAVING KIDS
We all know marriage takes work. When dating or courting our future spouse we work hard to win their heart and affection. We spent time finding ways to show our love so we could demonstrate how much that special someone means to us. This may have included writing letters, making time for them, buying special gifts and saying I love you.
Marriage, just like dating or courting takes work. It doesn’t end with “I DO”. Marriage always needs to be worked on. Unlike a book that ends with “and they lived happily ever after”. Saying “I DO” is not the end of the book. Getting married just begins a new chapter.
When I got married, the next chapter for me held newlywed life and a baby. For some having children can be a few chapters later. However your book is written, here are 5 tips for maintaining a happy marriage after you have kids:
#1. UNDERSTAND WHAT A GODLY MARRIAGE LOOKS LIKE
Let’s take a look at marriage, shall we. Where did it come from? Seriously? It wasn’t man’s idea. In the Garden of Eden God instituted Marriage between a man and a woman.
Genesis 2:18 says “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
Genesis 2:24-25 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his WIFE: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the MAN and his WIFE, and were not ashamed.“
We see here that God gave Adam a help meet for him and formed the first marriage. Since God created marriage, it cannot work without him. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “a threefold cord is not quickly broken”. When we fail to follow God’s word, it makes our marriage weak. We need his guidance to build a healthy marriage that our children can use as an example for their own one day.
Here is an excerpt from Ephesians about how a husband and wife should treat each other:
Ephesians 5:25 – 5:33 says “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.
He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.”
Our marriage is supposed to be an example of Christ’s love for the church. Jesus loved the church so much he died for it. Can you imagine loving your spouse so much you would do the same? I love my husband, but I honestly don’t think I would want to die for him. Yet that is the example of the intense love we are to have. Jesus loved us so much that he died for our sins (John 3:16).
When we get married God says that we become one flesh. Obviously, our bodies don’t melt together and we become one person, but in God’s eyes we do become one knit unit. We are bound together until death.
As a married couple we are supposed to be showing love for each other daily. This means we need to be working on our marriage and allow it to flourish. Let’s look at some ways we can ensure that we follow God’s word and make our marriage a priority.
#2. PUT GOD FIRST, MARRIAGE SECOND AND KIDS THIRD
When we put God first everything else falls into place. This is His plan for perfect unity. We need to spend time in prayer each day. The best time is first thing in the morning. Pray for your husband’s safety, strength, mind and pray that he doesn’s act on any temptations that come his way.
Every day there is a battle for your husband’s thoughts (Galatians 5:17). Praying is very important and a powerful way to help him defeat those thoughts. We should also have other things on our prayer list (kids, church, jobs, nation) but I just mentioned a few ways you can pray for your husband and marriage.
After praying we should spend time reading the bible. A bible reading schedule can help you read it through in a year (2 Timothy 2:15). I always feel refreshed and ready for the day after I’ve read my bible. Spending time with God in the mornings really prepares me to battle all the problems that will come my way during the day (Psalm 5:3).
My husband comes before my kids because our relationship is long term. My kids are only “here” until they marry. People often get divorced after the kids leave home. They say they grew apart, and don’t have anything in common and can barely have a conversation. I belive this is because they became absorbed with their children and forgot to work on their relationship separate from the kids.
This is why children should come third, but they don’t come last. After them come relatives and your church family. We should think of our children as future households. Each child may go off to start their own family. They will raise their kids similar to how they themselves were raised. Which is why it is important to raise them right (Proverbs 22:6). God’s word lends plenty of examples of how Godly parents should rear up their children.
If you put God first, your spouse second and your children third you will find this order of priorities gives clarity of how to spend your time and decide what is most important to take care of.
#3. COMMUNICATE AND CONNECT DAILY
Have some point in the day where you have one conversation face to face with your spouse. There may not be time for a long meaningful conversation, but at least make an effort to talk without distractions. My husband and I text throughout the day. I know not everyone can do this, but even just a text at lunch time reminds them they are in your thoughts.
I have noticed if I go a few days without really connecting with my husband, I get irritable toward him. There is only so much vain conversation about weather, chores, kids, trash and to-do lists I can handle. It’s pretty hard to feel romantic after talking about the same things each day. There needs to be times of real connection, outside of the bedroom. You need to make time to flirt, be silly and make each other laugh.
#4. SCHEDULE DATE NIGHTS
What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t happen. Make time for your spouse. Just like I mentioned above, people always make time when they are dating, However, dates arent just for people looking to marry. They are for the Married also. There are plenty of date night ideas on pinterest. Make a list of things you both would like to do, and then schedule them out during the year.
Date nights are also where you can have longer meaningful conversations with each other without distractions. If you need conversation starters, I have a free printable with 25 Date Night Questions For Married Couples. It can really help to open the dialogue if you have a few topics you know you want to discuss before you go out. I think there should be one date night every month or at least every 6 weeks.
#5. ALWAYS BE THOUGHTFUL
This is one of those things that my husband excels at. While writing this I realized how bad I need to be more thoughtful. I used to do lots of little things for him (before kids) now I need to get back at it. I do buy him his favorite Ice cream, and cook his favorite meal on occasion. Foot massages are also something I enjoy doing for him, since he works all day on his feet.
My husband often changes diapers without being asked. This is really helpful to me because I’m often making dinner and too busy to check diapers. He sees the need and just does it. Sometimes he brings me home chocololate or wild flowers he picked for me. We also love sending text messages, he often reminds me he loves me and that he hopes my day is going well.
These things may seem simple, but that is the beauty of it. It is the little things that add up to an extraordinary relationship and marriage. One way I find new ways to show my spouse I love him is by putting myself in his shoes. I think about what it would be like to be married to me and work his job. This helps me better undertand his perspective and struggles.
Those are my 5 tips for maintaining a happy Godly marriage after kids. Remember it takes work, and the book doesnt end with “I DO”. Marriage is a book that’s always being written. Open a new chapter today by implementing these 5 tips.