We have been married for 11 years (together for almost 20 years, as we were high-school sweethearts) and today we wanted to share a few ways to keep a marriage strong after kids, because your marriage is important! We work on our marriage every day and our family is better for it…
We love to be together and we really try to ENJOY being together- laughing, joking, smiling and having fun. We are each other’s best friend and we think that being friends is a huge part of a strong marriage.
Here are our favorite 10 tips:
1- Don’t sweat the small things.
Yes, it is a little cliche, but it is the TRUTH. I (Becky) and always reminding Mickey that if we worry about the little things, the big things will not be FUN anymore. Ok… Ok… I’ll admit that we are late to church at times, but my thought process is this: If we are running around telling the kids to “Hurry Up!” or “We are going to be late!” and we arrive to church frazzled and stressed – was it really worth it? I just remind him “So we are going to be two minutes late today, but our four kids are happy and they are walking into church, ready to absorb everything with a smile on their faces and joy in their hearts… isn’t THAT what matters?”
2- Do your housework.
This is silly, I know, but again… it matters. I feel like when our house is neat and taken care of, I am less stressed and it makes life better overall. I have the kids help me and I just try to stay on top of chores, laundry and cleaning the house, because I don’t want to have to feel the stress that clutter brings. (Clutter brings real emotional stress.)
3- Read the book “The Five Love Languages”
This is the best book that we have ever read. We re-read it every year, because it is important. I give it to all of my engaged friends and will save our copy for our kids to read one day.
4- Put the kids to bed early.
I put our kids to bed at 7:00 because they need the sleep, but also because we need that time to connect as a couple. We will often feed the kids earlier (we all sit together at the table while they eat) but then we will eat take-out and play a game or watch a movie when they are asleep.
5- Pray for your children together.
When our son, Beau, was born and we were unsure of what God had planned for him (he has a very long medical background that you can read about here…) we started to pray together. I can remember falling to my knees, in my kitchen, wearing my favorite gray sweater, and saying “Ok- God. I am giving this to you. I can’t do anything more. I completely surrender it all to you.” That night I walked into Beau’s room and saw Mickey with his hand our our baby boy’s head, praying for him. That night changed the way that I saw my husband. From then on, we grew in God… together.
6- Read and study scripture together.
Don’t make it more “work” than it needs to. Follow the acronym K.I.S.S (as Becky says… Keep It Simple, Silly). Do not make it something that is another burden in your life. We like to read a small passage and then just talk about it. You will find that you will talk in a more deep and passionate conversation. It is just another way to connect.
7- Hug your wife in front of your kids.
It will show your wife that you love her and it shows your kids that their parents love one another (and that they should do the same when they are married).
8-Never go to bed angry.
This is one that most people and couples have a hard time to grasp. It is human nature to want to be mad, no matter how right you may think that you are. Becky and I have a sign posted our bed that says “Always Kiss Me Goodnight.” She will remind me if I forget.
My thought is simple on this. I never want to leave this world with unfinished business, or something else needed to be said. You just never know.
9- Help out around the house.
On the weekends, I try to get up with the kids (even if it is just 15 minutes before Becky) to get their breakfast ready. I usually make blender pancakes on the weekends and if I forget, the kids will ask me for them. It is just as simple way to show Becky that I care about her – that 15 minutes says a lot more than you would think.
10- Don’t forget to say “I Love you” and “appreciate you!”
It doesn’t matter if she works or stays home with the kids- you need to tell her that you appreciate her. I know that doing housework or homework with the kids can become mundane, but an “I love you” out of the blue or a “Thanks for dinner tonight” in the middle of the week will go a long way. (Again- if you read The Five Love Languages, you’ll understand the reasoning behind it.)
Becky blogs at yourmodernfamily.com, where she shares parenting and household tips.
Mickey blogs at yourmoderndad.com where he shares tips on connecting with your kids and DIY ideas.
They love raising their four kids (Jack, Beau, Ethan and Allie) in the Carolinas… and sharing what they are learning, along the way, on their blogs.