How would you like to create a kid-proof marriage? One that does more than just survive the child-rearing years, but thrives and grows despite the chaos? It is possible with some of the tips I’m sharing with you today!
True or false? Marital satisfaction decreases in over half of marriages after the birth of the couple’s first child.
It’s false but only by a small margin. Research shows that among couples, 51 percent of the wives reported stable or increased marital satisfaction, and 49 percent reported a decline after a baby was born.
Today we’re going to look at three things you need to establish in your home to have a kid-proof marriage. This is not a kid-free marriage or a family where the kids are not having their needs met. A kid-proof marriage teaches your kids to respect and honor the special bond their parents have.
The challenges kids present in your marriage
You want to reconnect with your spouse, but the kids are always there. You feel guilty for wanting to spend time with spouse. There is so much more to do once the kids are born.
Think about a typical day, and how much time you must spend with your kids. From the moment you open your eyes, many of you, especially stay-at-home parents, are entirely focused on what you need to do with and for the kids, but you may not have those same thoughts about your spouse.
For example, just keeping the kids fed is a huge task. With breakfast in the morning, perhaps a packed lunch for school, and then a healthy dinner. Not to mention snacks, especially if you have any teenage boys in the house.
Dirty clothes are everywhere, and you have errands to run. You may drive the kids to school or pick them up, and all the other activities that require the parent taxi.
Sometimes you try to talk to your spouse, and suddenly someone appears needing help. Or maybe your spouse tries to tell you something funny from work that day, and suddenly there’s a blood-curdling scream from another room. Perhaps you finally sit down and collapse into a quick hug on the couch, and a toddler is suddenly squirming his way between you.
We all love our kids. They are both a huge responsibility and one of our greatest joys, but to keep your marriage healthy, you need to set boundaries and prioritize your spouse over the kids.
In today’s society, most parents will tell you that their kids come before everything, including their spouse. It’s gotten to a point where parents who don’t think this way are criticized and accused of being a bad parent. Even people who tell you their spouse comes first may not be living that out.
One of the Seven Mindsets for Marriage Success is setting proper priorities. This means making sure that your relationship is #2 on the list right after your relationship with God.
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6
Understand, prioritizing your spouse over the kids does not mean that you are ignoring the needs of your children. It’s not an either/or situation. You can meet all the needs of your kids and still prioritize the time to spend with your spouse.
Three Ways to Prioritize your spouse
But how do you do that?
There are three different things you can establish as part of your family life that will allow for time with your spouse without feeling like you are neglecting your kids.
Create an expectation
First, create an expectation that you, as parents, need time together.
It needs to be a part of your kids’ lives to know that their parents love each other and like to spend time together. It not only keeps them secure now, but it gives them a great model for their own future marriages.
So, do something each day that will demonstrate to your kids that your marriage relationship is important to you. Talk at the table after dinner and refuse to be interrupted for anything less than blood or visible bone!
Kiss each other where your kids can see. Older kids just love this (sarcasm, in case you weren’t sure). Our kids used to yell at us to get a room. To which we would reply, the whole house is ours so…😏
When you take the time to connect with your spouse, whether it’s going away together, having a date night, or just taking the time to have adult conversations in your house, make sure the kids know that wanting to spend time with your spouse doesn’t mean you don’t love them. If you also take time to spend with each child individually sometimes, they will come to understand that one on one time is vital for any relationship.
Last week’s blog, How to Eliminate the “No Time” Excuse in Your Marriage, listed ways to make time during your busy day to reconnect with your spouse. But today let’s look at some that specifically apply to the kids. Let’s create a kid-proof marriage!
One easy way to get alone time with your spouse is to create and stick to bedtimes and even wake up times. Not only will your spouse appreciate having time with you, but your kids will sleep better when you keep them on a consistent schedule.
If you would rather have time with your spouse in the morning, you can also create a “wake up time” where the kids stay in their rooms until a particular time. Granted, this is going to work better with older kids than toddlers.
However, younger kids can adapt to a wake-up time too. There are cute clocks for sale online that will light up and indicate to younger kids when it’s okay to come out of their rooms in the morning.
Date nights are the best thing you can to do stay connected. Having time to go out alone can be a tricky proposition for a lot of couples, especially those of you who live where you don’t have easy access to grandparents or other family members. It’s not impossible, though. It just takes some extra planning. Perhaps you can trade childcare with another couple from your church and take care of each other’s kids so you can each have date nights.
Going away for the weekend can require a lot more planning because you may be uneasy leaving your kids with someone who’s not related to you for more than a few hours. Could you perhaps have your get-away in a place that is closer to family, so you can drop the kids off with Grandma before you go? You don’t have to tell anyone how close you are if you don’t want to!
One of the best ways to make sure you can connect with your spouse daily is to designate your bedroom a kid-free zone.
I know many of you out there may be co-sleepers and share the bed with your kids. It’s everyone’s own choice, but I disagree with doing this because it puts your kids between you and your spouse. Making time for one another is tricky enough with kids in the house, why make it even less likely by literally inserting another person in between the two of you?
If you choose to create this haven for your marriage, your kids should understand that that room is mom and dad’s private, quiet place. We always kept our bedroom door shut, so there was no question that that room was just for us.
Earlier I showed you that marital satisfaction only improves after kids are born for 49% of couples. This means the chances of keeping a satisfying marriage after kids are pretty much 50/50.
If you want to make sure your marriage is one of the relationships that has better marital satisfaction when you have children in the home, it takes a little planning and great intentionality. Decide to prioritize the relationship.
Remember the three things you can create to create a kid-proof marriage without your kids feeling like you are neglecting them.
- Set expectations
- Create time
- Set aside space
The more consistent you are with any ideas you implement, and the longer you give for it to take hold and begin working, the better.
Which one of the three would you like to try and implement in your family? Let me know in the comments!
If you are new here, I’m Tracey, and I started Marriage Confetti to give you a biblical foundation on marriage and provide you with actionable steps that will help you change the way you think about being married and create a marriage that is worth celebrating. If you are frustrated with your marriage, this is the place to be.