On a mom blog you’ll find posts mostly about, well…being a mom. Milestones, updates, funny stories and pictures, etc. But in honor of my 4th wedding anniversary this week (July 17th), I’m dedicating this post to marriage/my husband. Because before I became a mom, I became a wife. And my marriage takes priority over my kids (*GASP*, yes, really). Having a strong marriage makes me a better mom. It just does. Disclaimer: I’m not saying single parents can’t be good parents (I know plenty of amazing single parents). I’m just talking about my situation here. Everyone has different life circumstances. I’m just commenting on mine, lest I offend anyone (which is apparently really easy to do online…have you read the comments on articles that get shared all over facebook? Don’t. You’ll lose all faith in humanity. Online commenters are monsters.)
I remember Ivor telling me once that someone “joked” to him about how once you have kids, you (the husband) are no longer the priority, but you’re even below pets. It was said in jest, but sadly I think there’s some truth to it. It’s easy for “mommy” to become your whole identity and consume your life. It is a pretty demanding role. Time consuming. Physically, mentally and emotionally draining at times. So keeping my husband and my marriage a priority requires actual effort. It doesn’t come naturally. I need to be intentional about it. I’m not content shrugging my shoulders thinking “well, this is just the way it’s going to be for now while our kids are so young…we’ll get back to our marriage eventually”. I don’t believe it was God’s design for marriages to just “get by”, but rather, to thrive and actually be enjoyed and be fulfilling! Even when kids come into the picture.
So there are a few practical things we’ve done to try to keep marriage a priority . Not to say we do it perfectly all the time. There’s always room for improvement and it requires a lot of flexibility and grace. This is just what we’ve found to work for us right now, most of the time.
1. Going to bed at the same time. Even if I’m exhausted and he’s not, just being in the same room, in the same bed, makes a difference. Seems obvious, but the physical proximity to each other makes us feel closer (go figure). The times when I’ve gone upstairs to bed and he stayed downstairs to watch TV (or vice versa) just felt strange and not right. So we go upstairs at the same time. Even if one of us falls asleep while the other reads/listens to music in headphones or whatever.
2. Along those lines, we like keeping our bedroom *ours*, a sacred place just for us, not our kids. Yes, we kept the babies in with us during those first few weeks of their lives, because it’s just easier for the nursing thing. But once they start sleeping better through the night, into their own room they go. I know everyone’s time table for that is different. But it was important to us. Once you have kids, they kind of take over the whole house. Their things are everywhere and it’s a shared space. But our bedroom is the one place that we always want to just be ours, and off-limits to the kiddos (for obvious reasons).
3. Finding something to do together. Friendship is an important part of marriage so taking an interest in the other’s hobbies/activities is one way to maintain our friendship. It’s pretty easy to do when you have similar interests of course. For us, music is an important part of his life (and I like music). It’s a hobby and a passion for him, but it’s also how we’re replacing my income since I’ve stopped working outside the home. So since he can get pretty busy with music stuff, I participate in it with him when I can. I’ll give my honest opinion on whether something sounds good or terrible (and he appreciates that). I’ll sit with him while he’s working on audio or video editing, and offer my creative expertise, etc. I’m also doing a lot of administrative work for the business (keeping track of gigs, calendars, social media, making flyers etc.). While I can’t always be at his shows with him, it’s how I can still participate in that part of his life. It’s not just his thing, it’s our thing.
4. Taking time to talk about our day. Whether it’s at night right before bed, early in the morning before the kids wake up, or at the dinner table. Spending time each day to just talk about what happened at work, or at home, telling him all the crazy things Gwen did, etc. Recapping what goes on while we’re not together is a good way to keep us connected. I like to know how his job is going and how I can pray for him. Likewise, he likes to know how crazy my day was, what the kids were up to and how he can pray for me. And it’s also a chance to brainstorm together how to handle certain parenting situations (now that Gwen is a toddler….lots of those conversations are starting to happen lol).
5. Part of #4 sort of, sitting down at the table and sharing a meal together. We both love food. Like, a lot. Good food. And good wine. We appreciate it. And we like enjoying that together. I once received a voicemail from him that was all about an amazing burrito he just ate lol. And I’m very blessed to have a husband who doesn’t just love good food, but can also MAKE really good food. He makes most of our meals. He loves to do it. And I love to eat it. He likes seeing my face as I taste his delicious food and I like having the opportunity to compliment his superior cooking skills, especially when I didn’t have to prepare it. He cooks, I clean. It works perfectly 🙂
So those are just a few things we’ve made an effort to do in our marriage to keep it a priority. I’d love to hear other suggestions! I should also note that this is all under the umbrella of GRACE and PRAYER. Lots of it! What holds our family together is not our list of 5 things, or our resolve to just “try harder” every day. It’s a complete dependence on God, his grace and goodness to us. His constant work in us. Because if we only relied on ourselves to accomplish those 5 things, we’d fail. Every day.
Thanks be to God for an amazing, adventure-filled 4 years of marriage! I look forward to many many more years of adventure (and good food).