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It’s a Balancing Act : Your Marriage and Children

before kids

Written by contributor Arianna Carlson of For the Love of Motherhood

When I first met my husband, he was in graduate school, and I had unique work schedule, which allowed us to have lazy mornings and mid-morning workouts. We enjoyed camping and hiking on the weekends, picnics at the beach, and day trips up the coast. We spent quite a bit of time traveling, just the two of us.

Then we had our son. Although we still travel, hike, and camp; those lazy mornings, uninterrupted conversations, and romantic weekends are a distant memory.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything, but I do find myself missing my husband in the way I used to when we were first dating. The difference is that most of the time, he’s right there, in front of me.

For the first couple of years, most parents are in survival mode; they are sleep-deprived, anxious, and yet so in love with this little being that nothing else in the world matters. As our children grow and become more independent, their needs change. Perhaps because they still seem to be the center of the universe, we forget that our needs…well, that we still have needs.

In recent years, my husband and I have found ourselves away from family and friends. Without that support system or extended family close by, it makes it more challenging to find time to get away. It’s not always easy, or affordable, to get a sitter, so we have had to find creative ways to spend time with one another.

One of our favorites, which, when you say it out-loud sounds a little ridiculous, is shopping. In many of the larger grocery stores in Korea you can find small play-spaces, much like the ones Ikea offers, where you can drop your children off while you shop. For a mere five dollars, I can leisurely walk around the grocery store with my husband for two hours of uninterrupted conversation. It’s worth every penny. We talk, reconnect, and catch up without the constant distractions and half finished sentences. I’ll admit that it’s not the most romantic date-night, but we’ll take it, because making my marriage better benefits the whole family. If we can fill up our emotional gas tanks, we can then tackle the daily challenges of work, school, schedules, routines, and chores with a little more patience and love.

I know it’s easier said than done, and I willingly admit (okay, shamelessly admit), that I’m not always very good at it. But it’s really important to find the energy at the end of the day to just connect, even if only for a few minutes; to talk, listen, and make time for each other. Sometimes, after the dishes have been washed, stories have been read, and we finally have the peace and quiet in our home, the last thing I feel like doing is talking. I find, in fact, that I more willingly connect on Facebook, via email, or by text messaging, than conversation. And yet, it’s during these “stages” that I find myself missing my husband the most, and longing for the life we had before children.

So, it’s time, especially in anticipation of Father’s Day, to put my marriage first. Not only is it a gift for my husband, but one for our son as well.

Here are five things you can do to make your husband happy:

  1. Leave a love note in your husband’s briefcase, tucked under his pillow or in his lunch.
  2. Listen actively, and pay attention. This shows him that you respect him and his views.
  3. When speaking with your husband, hold his gaze. This will assure him that your attention is completely focused on him.
  4. Relive the days of courtship by flirting with your husband. Quietly slip your hand into his, touch his leg under the table or steal a quick kiss.
  5. Go for a walk after dinner, or a hike on the weekends. The fresh air and casual intimacy will do you both good.

It doesn’t take much to connect with your husband; but making it a priority and ensuring it gets done makes all the difference in the world – your world.

Now take these five simple steps and do them! And please make sure you come back here and post about them in the comments below.

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10 Responses to It’s a Balancing Act : Your Marriage and Children

  1. kim Johnson June 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    Great reminder thar a solid family starts with a strong couple! Thanks for the motivation to make Hubby a priority!

    • Arianna June 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      Kim, Thanks. It’s easy to put ourselves and husbands second to our family. I have to remind myself often to make our marriage the priority.

  2. Rachel June 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    This made me laugh. Did you take direct quotations from Dr. Laura ‘s The Care and Proper Feeding of Husbands? This article is laughable.

    • Arianna June 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      Rachel, I haven’t actually read Dr. Laura’s book/article, but I’ll have to check it out. I don’t think I’m saying anything that we don’t already know. I’m sorry the article didn’t resonate with you. For some, it’s a real balancing act. In the end, my marriage is important, therefore, I will make it a priority.

      • Rachel June 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

        It’s funny, how you feel the need to reply to nearly every comment. This is unusual, but you are obviously attached and green to this venture in your life. I think it is wonderful that you are staying true to your marriage, but don’t forget your child. Also, I hope you are being taken care of. You strike me as someone whom fell into motherhood a little earlier than expected. Like the cart before the horse. Good luck to you and please don’t respond because I won’t. Think for a while. Not everyone is going to see you as an expert or agree with you and you should feel secure enough with yourself to let some things go.

        • Tony Truong February 4, 2014 at 10:50 am #

          Rachel, your comment don’t have any sense. You have the right to be critical but you’re saying all these vague things which doesn’t really mean anything. What’s the point?

  3. Melissa July 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Thank you for this article, I just discovered this website and will continue to follow it. This is a great reminder. With all the rushing it is important to make time for our marriage, it should always be a priority. Thank you for being so honest, it allows me to know that we are not the only couple that regularly deals with these struggles.

  4. Daniella September 14, 2013 at 4:16 am #

    This arrival really did resonate with me. Great tips.

  5. lara January 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Thank you for this article…dont understand how there is hate towards it!
    I just became a mom myself and am already experiencing how its easy to not put the marriage a priority as well..after all it started with us, and if we let it slip..there is no ‘family’…so thank you for saying this out loud!:)

  6. Tra My June 2, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    Dear Ariana, thank you for this article. Even though I probably don’t know what I’m reading about yet because I’m not married and do not have children yet, but I am so much looking forward to it, having been in a almost-5-year relationship. It’s all good to be imagining how wonderful things are going to be when u get married and have your first baby, and so on so forth, but when the reality hits (which I know it will hit), the most simple and practical experience shared by people like you will probably help younger women (like me) keep it all together and not crack! 🙂 So thank you again!

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