When you started dating your future spouse, you probably had all the butterflies, tingles, or excited feelings. You had a vice grip on your phone waiting to hear that little ding meaning they’ve sent you a text or a message and furiously respond to them. You couldn’t wait to see them the next time and it seemed like minutes would tick away as long as an hour.
Maybe you kept those feelings for a good while after you were married. You still had date nights and late night chats. You still had time to cuddle or relax together.
Think about your life now. What is different and when did it begin to change? New jobs, children, adult responsibilities like paying the mortgage and other bills. All of these, and many other things make it so that our life changes. It’s not all bliss and roses. But it can be even better than before because love changes, it deepens and grows into something even better than the butterflies.
It sounds crazy but marriage should come first, before kids, before jobs, before life. Because if we aren’t working together with our spouse, we’re pulling away from them, maybe not intentionally but a ways down the road and you’ll see how far apart you’ve come.
As a mother to a set of 1-year-old triplets and a 4-year-old, life has thrown us quite a few curveballs. But by doing a few things to help keep our marriage strong, we can get through some of those challenges, maybe not perfectly but together.
I can’t say enough about how important it is for spouses to communicate, even on the little, mundane things. My day doesn’t look a whole lot different from the one before since it involves feeding babies, playing with cars and trucks, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse a gazillion times. But Max always asks what we did today, how did it go, and what do I need.
Sometimes I give him the play-by-play, mostly because that’s all I can think of and other times I have a fun anecdote from our son. There are other times when I have to make a mad face with eyes wide and teeth clenched to signal that this day could not end fast enough.
And then, while I’m preparing dinner or holding babies or folding the crazy amounts of laundry we now produce, I make sure to listen and engage with my husband. He is usually helping me with one of those tasks at the same time and we talk about work, about situations and experiences.
Even if you don’t have time to sit down and look him straight in the face for hours on end, talking about your feelings and needs, you can do it if you’re paying attention and responding.
Because when he trusts you to listen to those little things, chances are, you’ll be the first person he’ll come to when the big things are happening. And that’s where you should be. The first at the top of the trust list.
The first step is to talk and express your feelings. Your spouse should be your best friend, and if he or she isn’t, it’s never too late to get there.
It doesn’t matter if you go to a top-rated restaurant or if you hang out at home, in your pj’s eating popcorn and playing a game. Make time to be together. If you’re constantly missing date night, take time to put it on the calendar. Then, if something comes up, you’re already busy.
The best thing is that there are plenty of ideas out there for both dates outside of the house and some where you can still connect if you can’t find a babysitter or just don’t feel like leaving the house.
The importance of date night is to take a break from your everyday life and just be the two of you again. You can have a whole conversation uninterrupted and can talk about the things you need to do or fix.
One of the best things to do is pick out things that you’ve always wanted to try and do them. Maybe you cook up a meal together that you’ve never had or you head over to the park (you can do a day date!) and swing or play on the slides. It might seem weird but there’s nothing more fun than doing something that makes you feel younger.
Maybe you aren’t the best at whatever new thing it is that you tried but it might make for some funny memories.
Serve Each Other
With phones, video games and many other distractions, it’s easy to slip into the “me” frame of mind, feeling like we need a break and so we zone out into these distractions. It’s then that we forget to check how our spouse is doing.
There is nothing better or that brings a flood of love and gratitude faster than a little heartfelt service. Anytime my husband does something that shows me he was listening, like helping me clean or run an errand for me, brownie points are earned.
Sometimes we just need to sacrifice a few minutes. Since our early mornings are crazy with feeding babies when they wake up, it’s nice to have the dishes done from the night before, just to make less clutter. Find something that can make your spouse’s day run smoother.
Maybe you can make them a lunch with a love note inside. Organize a room or an area they use frequently. Make dinner, or order in if you don’t cook.
Take the time to look outside yourself to make your spouse happy. It helps you connect and you end up learning more about him/her when you look and listen for those opportunities.
What Should You Do?
No matter where you are in your marriage, know there are ways to strengthen it. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes of introspection, realizing our own weaknesses before we accuse our spouse of things. Find ways to serve your spouse and things might just change as you grow together.
Build Strong Relationships Now!
Strong Relationships, noun.
1. able to withstand great force or pressure.
Marriage & Family are the most important relationships we can have in this life. Join us as we work to strengthen each other and fight to help others do the same!