Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where did the sparks go and how can I get them back?

When my husband and I met, sparks flew. I loved dating Dennis. We would read in the park, hike up to a beautiful spot to watch the sunset, have romantic dinners, he left notes on my car, brought me flowers. . .he was the perfect gentleman. Our wedding was out of a fairy tale, our honeymoon was romantic and the first few months of marriage were bliss. We were so in love, I swear hearts flew out our eyes every time we even looked at each other. Even after I got pregnant with our first child it still seemed like we were on our honeymoon. We swooned over the idea of the two of us creating one. We would lay in bed and watch my belly move in awe, it was magical. Then we brought our precious little baby home and everything changed. It was hard to have hearts shoot from our eyes when we were so exhausted we could hardly keep our eyes open or because they were too red and puffy from tears of frustration of not knowing what the heck we were doing. There was no romantic hikes, quite reading in the park. . .instead we were doing all we could to keep our colicky baby from crying non-stop, changing diapers, lugging 100 million pounds of baby items everywhere we went. It seemed like our romance took to a back burner or worse was lost in the back of a cupboard somewhere.
Once our little ones arrive it is really hard to keep a marriage going. Babies demand our full attention. It is easy to put our love life aside. But, I want to pose a thought to you. . .When you said your vows you said until death and for some, an agreement for eternity. Your children are with you (in your home) for about 20 years before they go off and make their own lives, your spouse could be with you for 30, 40, 80 years or even forever!! Even though your children are demanding and require a lot and it is important to establish a relationship with them, it is critical that we maintain our relationship with our spouses, we will be them a whole lot longer!!
Here are a few tips on how to help maintain your marriage after the little ones start to arrive:
1) TALK TO EACHOTHER!! Talk about your feelings, be open and accepting of what you both have to say! Take turns telling about your day, talk about goals, talk about and dream together about a future trip or activity that you will someday do together. Whatever you talk about just do it. (Fighting doesn't count as your talk time!)
2) PUT THE KIDS TO BED EARLY! We put our kids to bed at 7pm!! For some that may seem way early and yes the kids do wake up by 7am but, kids do require 10-12 hours of sleep so it is best for them and it gives my husband and I time for us. Even if it has been a long day and we are both exhausted we still sit together in front of the TV and snuggle and have time to be close and uninterrupted!
3) USE A BABYSITTER!! I know it is hard to leave your little ones. I would cry the first few times I left my children and worry, but if you find someone you trust it can be done. This is good for you and your spouse to have an opportunity to get out of the house and go on a real date, even if it is just going to a park and swinging on the swings together. You might not believe it, but it is good for the children as well. They need to know you have a life aside from them and that it is important. They also need opportunities to be around other people and be used to you not being there ALL of THE TIME! I know some moms and dads that they never leave their child or children because the child cannot handle it. In the real world you can't be with your child 24/7. It is better to break them in gently and on your terms.
4) DO SOMETHING UNEXPECTED. My husband used to put notes on my car at work, sometimes now I try to return this little tradition by sneaking a note into his bag so at work he will find it.
5) BE RESPECTFUL WITH EACHOTHER. Even thought fuses get shorter once we become parents, it is important to discuss issues and problems that arise in a loving and respectful way. For example, my husband is not tidy. It was fine before kids because it was easy to pick a thing or two of his and it not make a difference. Now with 4 little ones and a husband it is too much for me to keep up with. I pointed this out to him calmly and let him know how difficult it was for me and how important a tidy home is to me and since then he has tried harder. Not that he is perfect, but at least I see him making an effort.
These are just a few tips, if you want to find more, I found a ton just by typing in the key words "maintaining marriage after children" on google.
Let us know what other great ideas you have by posting a comment on this post!

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