And then you live happily ever after, right? How do you baby-proof your marriage?
For most of us, it isn’t that blissfully simple.
Inevitably, as life goes on, your marriage will weather a storm or two: cross country moves, lost jobs, the death of loved ones or the stresses that come with raising kids. That’s life.
What counts is how we lean on each other to survive the storm in one piece. Come together, pick up the pieces and move forward with the new realities that life has handed you, never wavering in your commitment to each other.
Marriage is work.
Have you ever heard someone say, “You will get out of it what you put into it.”?
Well this speaks true to the commitment you make with your partner. Marriage is wonderful but it is no walk in the park!
Remember you promised “for better or worse” not “for better until it gets really damn hard”.
Maybe you were pregnant before you were married, or maybe you have been married for years and can’t seem to get pregnant, your relationship has probably weathered some challenges.
Trying to keep your relationship thriving is hard without kids, adding a few little humans into the mix, well….
We were so excited to be pregnant with twins! We talked endlessly about our hopes and dreams once we had a family.
And then we got home with two babies. We were tired, vulnerable, inexperienced and really freaking overwhelmed.
We were beginning to manage life with two little ones, which complicated our existence together incredibly quickly! Although we thought we had everything planned out, we just didn’t understand what was ahead of us.
We found ourselves wanting to chuck bottles at each other from time to time.
Then, a few months into our new adventure, a dear friend “forced” us to let her babysit while we enjoyed a few hours out of the house, baby-free!
That night changed everything for us because we had the opportunity to look each other in the eyes and talk for a moment about navigating our new life together. Without the needs of our two sweet babies constantly chirping at us, we finally openly communicated and were able to get on the same page. We remembered why we signed on to this life together and figured out how to align ourselves as parents.
Which is why we vowed to always put our relationship first with these 7 simple guidelines to baby-proof your marriage:
These don’t have to be fancy nights out on the town, just make them regular and deliberate. This is kid-free time together can happen with or without a babysitter. If we can’t find a sitter, we put it on our calendar and have date night in our living room once the kids fall asleep. It sounds cheesy, but it helps to know that we planned some time for just the two of us, to light some candles, cook dinner and watch Netflix together.
Just because we are occasionally feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with each other, that doesn’t give us a pass to talk trash about the person that holds our vulnerability closest to their heart. Confront your partner head-on and communicate directly about what’s bothering you. Remember, nobody died from telling someone how they feel.
Do you remember why you fell in love with your partner in the first place? My husband had a cute butt and an infectious smile behind the bar that a girl just couldn’t resist, hence leaving my number on a bar napkin. While there is much more to that story, we often talk about those early memories in our relationship!
You have those memories for a reason, no sense keeping them a secret from one another. You’d be surprised how fast your heart will start fluttering when you relive your first date, your first kiss or your first “I love you’s”. The spark is guaranteed to come alive each and every time!
Shift Your Expectations:
Not everything about your life with kids is going to look the same as before. You both have to be able to accept that and make adjustments. Find systems that work in your home where you both participate. Sharing the load only helps to ensure one person isn’t carrying all of the weight. Life will begin to function pretty seamlessly when you explicitly make a plan together that tackles the changes that parenting brings to the table.
Humble Pie is Best Served to Each Other:
Remember what I said earlier about communication? Don’t blame each other, talk it out! You’re on the same team after all. When raising twins, there is a lot of room for error and miscommunication. Inevitably, things will get said that you don’t mean. Try to mend those bruised feelings by saying, “I’m sorry”. No one is perfect.
Forgive, forgive, forgive:
Never go to bed upset. I know this one sounds old school, but it’s so true. Tired, stressed people can react without clarity. Always remember to give each other a little grace, and know that you are each giving your best to your relationship. Parenting is hard, can challenge us to the core and can easily leave you feeling deflated. Your partner is your teammate, so rely on each other.
You do You:
Once upon a time you were a single woman, with a calendar full of girls nights and weekend trips. The life you led as a single person, with minimal responsibilities helped mold who you are.
My husband is the first to encourage me to go out for a night with the girls. And after some great conversation and a little wine, I always come back feeling refreshed, relaxed and a better version of me.
Before you fell in love, friendships were a fundamental piece of your life. Maintaining those friendships is vitally important as well. It can be easy to get lost in being a parent and a partner. Give each other the space to find enjoyment outside of the home, you’ll appreciate each other so much more.
Marriage is a ton of fun. There is nothing better than oogling over the perfection of your kids together or secretly playing a sweet game of grab ass behind the counter in the kitchen. It can also be messy and a lot of work.
My husband is my best friend, my rock, the light of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I will never downplay the friendships I cherish so dearly with my gal pals and I certainly never hesitate to pick up the phone to call my bestie so I can hear a woman’s point of view.
But the thing is, my husband is the last person to console me at night, has those 3 a.m. conversations about the things that make me lose sleep, and the first person to impact my life the next morning. He is the reason I am a mother and he holds every piece of my heart in his hands; I will forever cherish that.