Because so many women worry about losing that spark, or ending up divorced after having children, it seems only right to lay out some seriously helpful information on this subject. Couples who successfully tackle parenthood together tend to do certain things that keep their bond strong. So here are the 10 things people do to have a successful marriage after becoming parents:
1. Prioritize Your Marriage
Couples who prioritize their marriage tend to weather life’s challenges better. Yes our children mean the world to us, but without our spouse, they would face even more hardship, so making sure that your marriage remains solid ensures that everyone in the family is taken care of.
Prioritizing our marriages even after becoming mothers doesn’t put our children last. There is no pecking order in a family. I don’t love any of my children more than any other, or more than my husband for that matter.
2. Schedule Special Events
Date night and spending quality time together without children climbing all over you is a must. This is so important for a relationship to thrive. Getting a babysitter to allow you the freedom to go out and experience new things together keeps your marriage exciting and fun.
Sure, sometimes you just can’t leave the house or your favorite babysitter is unavailable. Even making sure to enjoy alone time once the kids go to bed can be an event. Trying not to squeal when your husband tickles you and the baby is sleeping is hilarious; it’s all about that much-needed mom and dad time.
3. Form Realistic Expectations about Life with Kids
One of the best things couples do to ensure a healthy marriage as their family changes is to go into parenting with realistic expectations. People love to speak in absolutes: “Oh, you’ll never sleep again.” “Don’t expect to ever have time for romance anymore.”
The idea that we can’t prepare for how a baby is going to impact our relationship is false.
These gloomy outlooks on parenting might be comical, but they’re not realistic (or helpful). Perinatal psychologist Dr. Alyssa Berlin spoke about this on the For All Moms YouTube channel, saying, “This idea that we can’t prepare for what having a baby is going to look like and the impact on our relationship is false. There’s a lot that we really can do.” She explains that couples who explore the idea of parenting and what it’s like before their first child is born have a better chance of handling the postpartum period later.
4. Rely on Your Faith and Values
This is a huge one. Couples have to have a strong faith and/or a set of well-defined values that they not only live by, but will also instill in their children. Knowing that the man you love has the same spiritual devotion and practices as you will carry your marriage through the rough times. Those ideals become your oars when you feel like you’re navigating through terrifying waters.
In addition, what values you wish to instill in your children are serious. If you’re both on board with the same life rules and traditions, you will be more likely to find harmony as you pass them on to your little ones.
5. Remember the Past but Look Forward to the Future
It’s always fun to look at the old wedding album and remember how carefree your days were when you embarked on your life together. Looking back can be romantic and remind couples of what they mean to each other. This is fun, so long as you don’t get caught up in missing that old life.
There’s always a balance to be found. Looking back for just a short glimpse is wonderful, just don’t forget to keep smiling at what lies ahead. No matter how regimented life may be, there are always unknown possibilities awaiting us. Being able to face that with hope and excitement helps keep our relationship going.
6. Accept Challenges Together
Having been divorced I have to say this one is paramount. Couples absolutely have to accept the challenges that come their way, but not only that, they must do this together. It’s not enough to be brave and bold on your own.
When one person stops trying, the other can’t carry their weight forever.
Women need to lean on the man they love for strength. And men need to turn to their wives for comfort when things get rough. They can’t look elsewhere for help, and they can’t quit on each other. When one person stops trying, the other can’t carry their weight forever.
7. Respect Each Other’s Space
As much as marriage relies on love and togetherness, it also requires a bit of space. We can’t always be together, that gets too crowded. Every couple needs their alone time.
It’s important to appreciate our moments alone and to allow our spouse to enjoy theirs. Meditation, relaxation, and even cursing at that puzzle that just won’t fit together gives us time to remember ourselves so we can have the confidence to appreciate the ones we love when it’s time to come together again.
8. Admit When Something’s Wrong
Everyone struggles with this at some point. So many adults think that part of having it all together is never falling apart. It’s a pretty ridiculous fallacy and one that sets us up for failure.
We can lie to ourselves, but once you hit a certain point in a marriage, you can’t really lie to your spouse. They’ll know something’s up, and if you don’t admit it to them before they figure out what’s wrong, it may wind up hurting them unnecessarily. It’s better to admit when something’s wrong, and work on finding a resolution. It’s not easy, but it will ease the pressure and the pain.
We can lie to ourselves, but once you hit a certain point, you can’t really lie to your spouse.
9. Accept and Love Each Other for Who You Are
Older couples understand that you just can’t change the person you love. Honestly, you shouldn’t want to. I love my husband, but he does plenty of things that drive me nuts. Even so, if he didn’t do those things, I’d miss them.
It’s hard to explain, but once you hit a certain point in life, you need someone there to do things you don’t like. Nobody wants to always get their way, and having someone there to challenge you and force you to compromise on the dumbest things keeps life fun. As one wise old husband said on Love Lessons: 125+ Years of Marriage Advice in 3 Minutes, “Be sure to buy two tubes of toothpaste.”
10. Express Love
Last, and purposefully so, successful couples express their love for one another. They kiss. They tell jokes just to make their spouse laugh. They rub each other’s shoulders or sometimes scream “I love you!” from the bathroom.
Best of all, couples who keep fighting for each other have the prospect of making it to the cute old people stage. The one where you get to walk around holding hands in public as if you’re kids again. That is an expression of love that I cannot get enough of already.
All of these elements of marriage enrich our lives and bring couples closer together. Some are romantic, and some are annoying, but they all matter. Husbands and wives have to prioritize their marriage and all the little things that allow them to thrive after becoming parents.
Just seeing elderly couples holding hands or holding hands with my husband and teasing him about it when he complains about growing older makes me giddy. Those moments mean more than we think. Because after all, that’s all life is: just a series of moments.
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