After asking you guys what kind of content you would like to see on the blog, SO many of you requested ‘marriage advice after kids’. Because of the multiple requests, I knew it was important to take on this subject matter. I’ll be honest… It feels a little bit strange sharing my marriage openly with the world (I think it just makes me feel a little bit vulnerable). However, I think it’s a topic that most couples can relate to and I’m excited to dive right in.
Just to give you a bit of a ‘back story’ – Nick and I met while we were in high school. We were introduced by our best friends (but lived in separate cities), and we started ‘dating’ when I was 14 (I know…so young. Crazy right)? We dated throughout high school and ended up breaking up at the end of my grade 12 year. We both needed to experience life without one another and have the opportunity to become our own people. I went off to University, he went off to College. We dated other people, partied a little bit too much, all the while trying desperately to forget about one other and move on. It didn’t work so well. I called him one day at the end of my first year, and we decided to meet for a short visit. The love I had for him never changed…and all of those emotions were so intense that I knew I couldn’t live without him. We have been together ever since (married for 6 years and 2 babies later). We have known each other for a total of 16 years and I can honestly say he is my person.
I’d love to say that our marriage has always been perfect…but that’s simply not true. We are a normal married couple; we have our disagreements and arguments. There are moments after a long day that we take our exhaustion out on one another…we aren’t perfect. We have been through the hardest points in our lives together…and I mean, the HARDEST. With that said, we are happy and we have WORKED at being happy.
I don’t want this blog post to make it seem as though we know everything about having a healthy and happy marriage after kids, because we don’t. Everyone who is reading this has their own ‘situation’ – no relationship is the same. With that said, these are things that Nick and I have done (and continually do), that I believe has strengthened us as a couple in a massive way. So…read on to hear our tips. (And, if you want a deeper dive into some of my relationship advice, click here for my podcast episode on all things marriage and relationships).
We Avoid ‘Bickering’ At All Costs
I know this may be shocking to some people because let’s be honest… in a marriage it’s just such a common thing to bicker at one another on a daily basis. Nick and I simply don’t do a lot of this, and we never have. When we start getting into a silly argument over something completely unimportant, we catch ourselves pretty quickly and cut it off right away because we know it really doesn’t serve our marriage and isn’t at all productive.
I find that many couples are stuck in a bickering ‘rut’ that may seem incredibly hard to get out of. Going back and forth, blaming one another or arguing simply to argue is so common, and I totally get why it’s common. Marriage is HARD and sometimes you use one another as a scapegoat. However, one of my biggest pieces of advice is to try and shut it down. It’s not a productive form of communication, and it doesn’t do anything but build frustration and anger within your marriage. It doesn’t serve you.
We Lift One Another Up
Nick and I speak kindly to one another, and for the most part…we are on the same ‘team’. I fully believe in him as a person, a father, and a husband. I see his incredible qualities and I do everything in my power to focus on those positive features, versus picking out the things that drive me nuts about him. He does the same for me. This doesn’t mean that we are in ‘lala land’ all of the time. We have arguments when he does something that pisses me off (and vice versa). However, we don’t FIXATE on the qualities about each other that drive us crazy. Instead, we make an effort every single day to see the positive, and focus less on the negative.
We Make Time for One Another
I know, ladies. This is HARD TO DO when you have young children, and it’s even harder if you have little babies. Time alone with your partner when you have little ones can be almost non-existent (I promise, it gets easier). However, if you can try and sneak in even one date night per month, or set aside some time once the kids go to bed, your marriage will be better for it. And trust me, I have been there SO many times…the evening rolls around and all you want to do is fall into bed, completely zone out and not be bothered. That is completely fair! With that said, a happy marriage doesn’t just happen…it takes work. This means tuning into your partner and being emotionally and physically available for quality time, consistently. We talk about this in more depth on our podcast, so click here to listen in!
This sort of ties in to my previous point, but when is the last time you truly checked in with your partner? When is the last time you asked him/her how they feeling, how work has been, whether they are happy and OK? I know this sounds like a no brainer, but I feel like it’s overlooked a lot of the time. We get so busy with work, kids, juggling activities and household chores that having a conversation with your hubby (that doesn’t involve kids and isn’t happening while racing out the door, half distracted) becomes almost non-existent.
Nick and I are big on communicating with one another…not yelling or blaming or bickering or only talking about the children. We chat about life…about what’s been bothering us, what we are struggling with, something funny that happened that day. If this is something you’ve been overlooking in your marriage, make time to simply talk, undistracted (and not always about your kids). If you can’t do this with your spouse, who can you do it with?
We Want Happiness for One Another
Nick was the person who insisted I start a blog. He knew I wanted to do it but fear was holding me back. Now that I have a business of my own, he is so incredibly HAPPY for me. I’m busier than I have ever been (which means less family time), but he sees my passion and wants me to continue along my path. Nick and I both have our own interests, but this only makes us stronger.
I think that in any marriage, this is so essential. It’s important to allow your partner to pursue their own goals and interests. It’s important to share in their success, without feeling a sense of inferiority or a feeling of being ‘left out.’ Focusing more on how to make one another happy (versus what your partner should be doing for YOU), is vital to any successful marriage. This doesn’t mean that you shove your feelings under the rug in order to ensure your partner is happy and you aren’t. That is NOT okay, and this would only make you incredibly withdrawn and unhappy. What I mean, is when both partners want happiness for the other person, it’s a win win situation.
Remember that You Both Started FIRST….Before the Kids Came
It’s so easy to forget who you were as a couple before you had kids, isn’t it? Children completely change your world and flip it upside down, in the most beautiful and challenging ways possible. But, try and remember back to the days that your (now) spouse was your entire world. You were madly in love. But…why were you madly in love? What made you feel all of those butterflies in your belly? Bring yourself back to those moments as often as you possibly can, in between the diaper changes, house cleaning, and dinner prep. Try not to lose sight of the fact that you two started before you brought your children into this world, and that in itself is IMPORTANT and SPECIAL.
So, there you have it. A little dive into my marriage and things we do (and don’t do) that has really helped strengthen it. For those who are looking for more inspiration relating to relationships, head to my podcast episode where Nat and I talk about our marriages and what we do to make it work.
Due to the popularity of this post, I’ve added some bonus content that I think you’ll love! If your relationship is feeling a bit stale these days and need some suggestions on spicing things up, I highly recommend opting into this free download! Enjoy! xo
Lots of love,