Monday, January 7, 2008

Marriage Monday: Putting Marriage First

It happened again this week in a counseling session. A woman told me that her husband complained that she always put the kids first. I said, “Really?” and she replied, “I get so tired of hearing that!” I think she wanted me to agree with her that kids should come first…that her husband was being unreasonable. Unfortunately I’ve seen too many marriages fail because of inattention, so we talked about how to make her marriage a priority.

Having a baby is a joyous experience, but the shift from spouse to parent can be difficult! All of sudden the new parents have a little being that they love more than life and that demand all of their attention. Moms are hard wired to put their babies needs first so that they will survive, and dads feel an urgency to work hard and support their growing family. All of that leaves the marriage on the back burner…where it often stays even as the demands of a new baby lessen. Both husband and wife are doing more, talking less, and feeling under appreciated.

So, how do you make your marriage a priority when the demands of family life are great? Here are five suggestions for making your marriage the best it can be in 2008.

  1. Build a support network. Many new parents are learning to live on one income and less money. Find some other parents who are in the same boat and exchange babysitting services so you can find some couple time.
  2. Get your kids to bed. Not only do your kids need lots of sleep, you need some time to focus on each other after the kids are in bed. Spend at least 30 minutes a day talking to each other (about something other than kids!). Without that connection you may find yourself years from now sitting across the restaurant table from someone that you don’t know and aren’t sure if you like.
  3. Schedule a date night. At least once a week get out of the house and away from the kids. Even if it’s only going to McDonald's to get a coke, spend some quality time focusing on your relationship.
  4. Find something to compliment. It is easy to find things to complain about, but people in healthy marriages find things they admire about their spouses, and they comment on them! An amazing thing happens when you look for good things…you begin to see more and more of them, and the compliments get returned!
  5. Ask your spouse the question “what can I do this week that will make you feel loved?” Having a healthy marriage is easy when we are open about what we need and open to hearing what our spouse needs.


Robyn Jones said...

great advice...My hubby and I just had a little one after 15 forget how stressful it can be. (it's fun though...:))

Unusually Unusual Mom said...

Definitely great advice! Get the kids to bed would definitely be what I recommend (and NOT mommy & daddy's bed - at least for the whole night!)

By the way - love your new header and background!

Cathy said...

It looks great around here - nice changes!
Great advice - though it's hard to get out every week now, but I totally agree with getting the kids to bed. Early bed times equal happy parents and happy/well-rested children!