Having young kids can put a real strain on a marriage. It’s the hardest time of your life, when you have tiny people running around eating up all of energy and attention.
Anyone who knows me, knows I should not be talking. There are times I love my husband but I strongly dislike him for walking over that pile of laundry that needs to be folded, or for not loading the dish washer. However, we are a team. We make it work, we work together for the most part.
When you have young kids, its all about finding those little moments to show love and support for each other. Its not about long romantic walks, fancy four-star dinners, or little boxes filled with jewelry. Its about the basics.
This is a habit I have to say we picked up from my parents. After thrifty-five years of marriage I think they know what they are doing.
We leave each other notes, love notes all the time. Every time I leave town I leave him a love note, a thank you after a rough day, or just a little flirty text when I know he is having a long day at work.
My favorite is the note that sits on our coffee pot every morning. A note my husband scribbled early one morning before he left for work. We have reused every day since, to let the other one knows that the coffee pot is prepped for the next morning.
Just a little love notes to let the other one we are thinking about them, and that we appreciate them.
Skip valentine’s day/ anniversaries/ birthdays
We don’t drop five dollars on cards for every holiday, we skip the expensive gifts, we don’t go out for fancy dinners. You see we skip all of those big events. I would rather he brings me home a bag of Dove cholate after a rough day of potty training, or flowers on a random Tuesday. My favorite thing he does, is bring me home a big bottle of water. I am a cheap date I know. That means more to me then anything else.
We show each other we care all year long, not just on holidays.
Have a safe word
We have a word- a safe word really. Anyone can say that word at anytime and the other parent has to drop the subject. It’s our way of telling the other person that we need to take a break, push pause on the conversation. Once we say that word we can take a break, walk away, and regroup.
We can also use that word as a code word- a way to tell the other person we need to take a breather from the tiny humans.
If I had a rough day, and I need a moment before dinner. I can say that magical word and he knows he needs to jump in. He keeps his work clothes on, no bathroom break, no “quick one-minute babe.” He knows he needs to jump into action. It goes both ways.
You don’t have to like each other but you have to respect each other
You will have different ways of doing things, you will have different ways of parenting. You have to respect each other’s ways. (I have a hard time with this one!!) My husband approaches bath time totally differently then I do. As much as it upsets the toddler, and I can see a way to prevent the melt down from coming, I need to respect his way.
No matter how much you try to be on the same parenting page, there are small things that you will do differently. You need to respect each other’s ways and approaches. It’s the only way to survive those first few years of parenthood.
Be ready to have fun when it’s family time
I work my butt off, so when he is home we can have family time, fun time together. I work hard to make sure its not spent getting an oil change, folding laundry, or walking the aisles at Walmart. I make sure all of the ‘household’ stuff is done. That way we can take walks to the park, play on the floor with the kids, go to the zoo, or just have some giggles as a family. Our time together is limited, and it is precious. I want that time together, not running around dealing with life.
These are just a few ways that your marriage can survive those first few years with tiny humans invading your marriage. When you have tiny people eating up every once of energy and attention you have, you have to go into survival mode. Just a few small things a day can protect your marriage, and show your spouse you care.