I once read an article about how amazing it is that more people don’t get divorced in the first year of becoming parents. It was a satirical article and written for laughs, but it had a lot of great points about why keeping a loving relationship going when raising children is freaking hard work. My favourite point being that the biggest love affair a mother will ever have is that with their baby. And isn’t that the truth?
When we become mums, all we want is to dote at our new babies as our heart expands. We still love our husbands, but we look at them more with the gratitude for helping us create the real loves of our lives. I have found through my own relationship that the more my husband loves our babies, the more I love him. Life becomes all about the offspring and less about the people who made them happen.
Of course, this is sad really. We know these babies all grow up and at some stage leave the nest. While we never stop loving or worrying about our kids daily, no matter how old they get, we must know that if our relationship is lucky enough to last the distance, there will eventually be just the two of us again. Back where we started: you and he.
Like most marriages, our relationship has gone through its ups and downs, but we learn as we go and we try to focus on building our love despite the chaos of kids, so we stay in love for the duration.
I’m definitely not an expert but here are a few tips we’ve been taking on board recently:
- Always say hello and good bye to each other. Such a simple thing to do right? We have in the past just gone about our day, missing such an important part of connecting. We always make a point now of saying good bye to each other and greeting each other in a loving way.
- Keeping it young and a bit silly. We’ve always done this, we act like teenagers in our text messaging. There is no holding back and we send the random messages of lust to each other just for fun. If nothing else, it gives the other person a good laugh on the other side of the phone.
- We schedule time together. Life is busy and with kids it’s hard to even discuss plans for the day ahead, let alone next year, five years, ten years and beyond. So we schedule in regular dates and time together without the kids. We haven’t been away overnight yet (I will praise the day!); instead we just get a babysitter or ask a grandparent to babysit and go out for a nice meal. It can actually be as simple as putting the kids to bed early and having a movie night together on the couch. Any time together without being nagged by little children is a good time.
- We schedule time away from each other. A contradiction maybe? But giving each other time away from the family to be ourselves and not a ‘parent’ is even more important than time together, I think. We can get lost in this whole parenting gig and we need time to unwind so we can come home and be better parents or wives/ husbands. In this way, time apart really helps us to appreciate each other more. My husband likes to surf, I like to go for walks and attend dance classes so we make sure we do those things. I once went on a girls’ trip and came home more in love with my husband, family and life in general than I ever had been. It is nice to recharge.
- Communication!!! This one we are working on, we need to talk to each other and find out what is going onin times of stress. Understanding how we can support each other is great and helps us learn more about each other as our relationship grows.
- Praise. We praise each other. We show our appreciation for each other for what each of us do in the household. We have our roles and we love on each for being great at that. The more love and praise in the house, the more loved everyone feels.
- \We’re honest. Brutally honest sometimes, but we appreciate that we each want to become a better person and parent. Taking constructive criticism and positive feedback is part of that for us. We try not to take offence, just put into action.
- PDAs. Who doesn’t love a public display of affection? Well, the people having the PDA, that’s who! We don’t hide all our affection from our kids, we want our kids to know we love each other and if they see us holding hands, they are happy that we are happy together.
- Always finish the day off right. No arguments. At the end of each day, we put any disagreements to bed before us. We go to sleep at ease and know that we will wake up fresh without anything to worry about.
Learning and growing through our relationship has been a lot like riding a wave. Throw a baby (or three in our case) into the mix and we often feel like we are riding a tsunami. The key to our successful relationship is really just being kind to ourselves first, giving our relationship a daily dose of lots of love and keeping things real. Being a mum is a 24-hour job, but so is being a wife. From one mother to another; Good luck! 😉
Images: Cassandra Michelin