We said, “I do.” We had a few great years together pre-kids. We got to spend every evening together, hanging out in the quiet. Going on trips. We did whatever we wanted. And then, 5 years into our marriage, kids came along. And it rocked our world.
It was AMAZING having that first baby. The amount of attention that baby got and we all felt so loved. But once the newness wears off, your blissful happiness of having your first baby is slowly fading, you’re left with aching boobs, a saggy belly, sore c-section scar, and tired eyes. He goes back to work and you’re left with trying to figure out how to manage laundry, meals, and every 2-hour feedings with a screaming 6-week old that’s likely sensitive to your coffee. Sad day.
Add some raging hormones to that and you’ve got the perfect storm for a poor husband who, in my eyes, just can’t do anything right. Sure, adding a baby to the family is stressful on him too. He is equally a parent after all, but despite what you feel about gender roles these days, and despite how much dad helps, a newborn is just harder on mommas. Am I right? It seems that with every new baby added to the family, it brought a new set of challenges to our marriage. We argued over things like who actually was busier or who worked harder thru the day. (Dumb, right?)
One of the best things we ever did for our marriage was to make “us” a priority. Only we are responsible for how our marriage turns out. Things don’t just “happen” to us. We need to take responsibility that our marriage will only thrive if we put in the work to make that happen. Now, I by no means have all the answers and my husband will probably agree that I fail every single day at doing most of these, but I’ve learned a few things from people smarter than myself on things we can do daily, as wives, to help increase the chances of our marriage lasting forever. When I do them consistently, I can see a positive effect on our relationship.
Side Note: you can only be responsible for your own actions and no one else’s. These should be done despite what your spouse is doing or how he’s acting. Chances are, if he’s sees a change in you, he’ll notice and straighten his act up as well. This is also a no-judgment zone if you’ve been in a relationship that hasn’t worked out. We are all doing the best with the information we have at the time.
Here are 9 things, in no particular order, that after 11 years, have worked for us:
- Make him your priority. Even in the little things. Maybe fix his plate first. Don’t let the kids interrupt him when he’s talking to you. Put your phone down and listen and look at him when he’s talking. Ask him how his day went.
- Have sex often. No matter how tired you are. If you’re worn out at the end of the day and have nothing left in you, maybe have a conversation about what he can do to lighten your load a little so you are more likely to have the energy. Even if what he does doesn’t help you be less tired, the gesture is so heartwarming that it will make you in the mood. Am I right ladies?
- Be excited to see him. Greet him with a smile. Wash your face and fill in those eyebrows and brush that hair. Takes 5 seconds. I promise, even if you’ve got a newborn, you’ve got 5 seconds. Show him you care to make the effort to look nice for him.
- Choose Joy. A happy wife = a happy life. Mark Twain said, “Whoever is happy will make others happy too.” Flirt with him a little. Laugh at his jokes. Don’t take everything so seriously and be happy when he’s around. Remember how you acted with him when you were dating? That’s the woman he fell in love with. Don’t be the girl that acted one way to “get” him and then got lazy once you’re married him.
- Walk-in a state of “forgiveness.” If we fill our heads with positive thoughts, there won’t be any room for the negative ones. When your husband does something awful that’s worth getting mad over, stop and think. He’s not really a terrible person and didn’t do this to make my life miserable because he hates me. He’s human, made a mistake and I’m not going to dwell on it. I mean, we get that kind of forgiveness from Jesus, do we not?
- Hide a sweet note somewhere he’ll find it to make his day and smile.
- Say Thank you when he does things around the house or for you.
- Don’t forget to smile. The orphans in Annie sang, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” A smile goes a long way and can literally turn someone’s entire day around.
- Keep God at the Center of your relationship.
Like I said, I’m not a marriage expert and I know I can do so much better, but I can confidently say I do have a happy marriage because I try to remember these things.
We owe it to our 3 kids who watch us every day to be happy and show them how to have a healthy marriage.