As I have stated in previous posts, and as any family has experienced, busy schedules can sometimes lead to a cycle of work, taking kids to activities, dinner, putting them to bed and starting all over again the next day. It is very easy to disconnect in this merry-go round. So why not find 20-30 minutes to reconnect while your at your children activities?
This is was extremely important in my marriage since we all of our extended family lived out of state.
I will admit, our kids are 12 years apart so we didn’t have two kids that needed to go in two different directions. However, both of our kids has friends who we had to occasionally pick up and drop off. And during the soccer years of our oldest, we had a 2 year old to deal with as well. Furthermore, since our daughter was 10, she had a demanding competition cheer schedule. My point is that it can be challenging no matter how many kids you have.
We decided to make “re-connects” a priority. We would go to these activities together and escape for a quick cup of coffee or chat in the car. Yes, you will miss out on socializing with other adults but your “woness” is the priority. This took effort in our part in terms of work schedules but it was well worth it.
Please feel free to share how you Re-Connected with your spouse.
Just picture this scenario: working from 8 AM to 6 PM, t-ball or soccer practice at 6:30 p.m. Another child has ballet at 5 PM. Dinner at 8 PM. Homework at 9 PM. Shower and off to bed by 10 PM. But wait, the kitchen still needs to be cleaned and there may be some work to be done in preparation for the next day at work for husband or wife or both.
This is a loaded schedule and there’s hardly any opportunity for communication other than orchestrating the movement and activities of the kids. In some households this may occur at least four days a week and for some, this may also occur during the weekends. In some households this may occur at least eight months out of the year, with different activities or sports. How do the husband and wife team get a break from all this? Well, the unfortunate answer is sometimes they don’t.
This leads us to the third way of keeping your marriage strong with kids. That would be the all-important date night. The importance of date nights cannot be overstated. A couple needs time to get connected or re-connected without the interruptions of hearing, “momma!”, “I need help,” or “my brother hit me.” A couple that is to remain “won” must recharge themselves by spending time with each other. A dinner at Ruth Chris’ is probably not the most practical idea but outings such as bowling, a movie and dinner, or a quick getaway. Obviously you may have to plan on a sitter or bribe a family member.
Again, the idea is not to spend loads of money. The idea is to spend time as you did before you got married. This reminds the couple of why they enjoy each other and why the became “won.”
No matter what your love language is, I think everyone enjoys having something done for them. This can be very important in a marriage. Washing your spouse’s car, helping with the cleaning if you don’t normally do it, doing the laundry, or cooking/doing the dishes. I of course am not allowed in the kitchen. Not after the chicken incident of 1999, (long and different story, LOL).
So #2 on the list of how to keep your marriage stronger with kids is Acts of Service.
This may sound strange but on occasion, because of the busyness of life (especially with kids), either the husband or the wife may need some alone time. This may sound counterproductive since there is no “together time,” but this can give husband/wife time to decompress and recharge their batteries. This in turn will allow increase energy and make they better life for her husband.
The particular act doesn’t matter. The point here is that this will not only make your spouse happy it will more often than not make “won” stronger and it let your kids see that marriage is about communication and teamwork.
When there are kids around obviously they need attention. But the parents, husband and wife, must remain connected. Failing to keep connected while raising kids can lead to lack of communication, failure to understand each other and temporary break in fellowship. So finding ways to remain connected is vital to the marriage.
I don’t know too many people that don’t enjoy a surprise. Surprising your spouse with a small gift can be fun, exciting and romantic. It doesn’t have to be a big ticket item either. Flowers, a simple note saying how much you appreciate your spouse, a photo gift of some sort, etc. The purpose here is not to break the bank but to make your spouse feel special.
I will admit, I’m not the most observant person in the world. So surprise gifts take a special effort. But again, this doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. My wife knows I’m not creative. I’ve actually sent my dear wife texts during the day to let her know how much I love her and that I appreciate her.
These are just small examples but can be invaluable in creating conversation, making your spouse feel appreciated and also it can be a great first step in staying connected and “won.”
Stay tuned for other ways to keep a strong marriage.
It is not uncommon in a marriage for the communication and the relationship itself to take a back seat to a child. It’s natural for husband and wife to shift their attention from each other to the child. However, this can be done to the detriment of the marriage relationship if the couple who became “won” is not careful.
This can especially be challenging for blended families, where a relationship has to develop with step kids. But for any family, one of most lasting gifts a husband and wife can give to the kids is to model a strong marriage. This was written by Carol Ummel Lindquist, PhD, author of “Happily Married with Kids: it’s not just a Fairy Tale.” Dr. Lindquist wrote,
“The irony is that a strong relationship with your partner is one of the best things you and your husband can do for your kids.”
In light of this, I wanted to list 5 things that keep your marriage strong when kids are part of the family. I will list these separately over a few days. Stay tuned.
“Mom, he just doesn’t understand the way I feel. He constantly talks down to me.” “Hey dad, we just can’t get along. She expects too much. Should I call it quits?”
If these are the questions either husband or wife are asking, and if these are the people from whom they are seeking answers- their parents- then there may be a good chance that their marriage could be in danger. The fifth sign that a marriage could be in trouble is if either person involves parents in their marital problems.
Marital problems will happen. It’s not a matter of if, but when. They are not fun and can a temporary break in fellowship. But these problems belong to the married individuals, not the respective parents. Scripture is clear that a husband is to “leave and cleave,” Genesis 2:24. And this means that the individuals are cleaving to become “won.”
Involving others in arguments will most certainly breakdown communication. This has the potential of making the husband or wife feel that trust was betrayed and getting that back is an uphill process.
If there’s a significant problem that can’t be worked out, a neutral third party such as a pastor or counselor is always the best way to go. What’s needed in these situations is someone who will speak truth an life into the situation, not someone who will pick sides.
So there you have it, 5 signs that a marriage may be in trouble. Do you have any other signs to add?