Becoming parents brings a lot of new challenges and a lot of change to a marriage relationship. The parenting stages of life are a large chunk of a couple's relationship. Parenthood begins with the birth of your first child (or sometimes the adoption of a pet) and never really ends, even after your kids are grown and have moved out of your house. Being able to navigate your relationship as a parenting team while maintaining your identity as the couple that you were when you began your marriage is important. Let parenthood strengthen your relationship with each other, not dissolve it.
...Most of all, I miss how that crisis made it so easy to set aside everything to make room for the things that really mattered. Everything that we did revolved around caring for both of our little ones and keeping our relationship with each other strong. Our priorities were clear and nobody questioned the decisions that we made because of those priorities.
It is our goal to be intentional about making time to work on our marriage every single day. That being said, at the end of each day, you'll usually find us curled up together in bed, watching our current Netflix binge. After we've finished our work day, cleaned up the kitchen and the kids are in bed, we're usually both exhausted. Some nights, we love to sit back and relax and when we do, we love having a show to watch together. Looking back on the shows that Joe and I have watched together and taking some suggestions from other couples, I put together a master list you can refer to the next time you're looking for something good to watch together. I added a few of these to our queue as well! Whether you're looking to just watch and episode or two or binge watch and entire season (or more), I'm certain you'll find something on this list that you haven't seen yet and will love!
Now days I'm pretty sure that I don't even hit close to as many texts each month as he and I were sending back then and not every message that I send is to him. I've been thinking a lot lately about how much we used to text and how every time his name would pop up on my screen while we were apart, I'd get an instant smile on my face. Our daily routines and our job responsibilities are a little different now than they were then, so we don't have as much time to text anyway, but I can't help but try to remember what we talked about all day long while we were dating.
Your kids and time together as a family is important. But without your marriage, you wouldn't have that family. Your marriage is the foundation that your family was built upon and in order to keep it strong, you have to make time to give it your full attention. It's hard with young children to justify spending time away and/or paying for someone to watch your kids. I've heard it said many times though that the investment you make in the time you spend together is a lot less expensive than a divorce and a lot more fun!
One of my favorite memories growing up was decorating sugar cookies with my siblings and taking them to friends and neighbors. It's something that I've been looking forward to doing with my kids for as long as I can remember. This activity was so fun, a great way to serve those around us and provided us with a few days worth of activities!
Make physical intimacy a priority in your marriage and remember that it doesn't always have to be as involved as it sounds. Taking that time to love each other will strengthen your relationship and help you remember your role in each other's lives as husband and wife when you may be knee deep in parenting or other life responsibilities.
Last Valentines day, I overheard a few coworkers expressing their dislike of the holiday. They felt that it was a day that is commercialized and just to get spouses to buy gifts for each other. I've heard other people suggest that they don't need a special day to let their husband/wife know that they love them. My personal opinion is that Valentines day is an opportunity to shower your lover with extra attention and that if you put some thought into your gift, it can be meaningful and memorable rather than just out of obligation.
One of my favorite things about date night at home is that it's relaxed and we have the potential to really connect and have fun together. So often we resort to ordering takeout and getting a movie from Redbox, but the more that we spend date night at home, the more I've tried to think outside the box and find something new to do together. Rather than just sitting down to eat, I thought it might be fun to prepare a meal together. We'd get to work together as a team and enjoy the results of our hard work. This meal was simple but felt fancier than our every day dinner. And Joe said that it tasted "excellent".
Just as date night is important for your marriage and one on one time with your children is important for your parenting relationship, regular family time is important too! Spending time together as a family builds memories and strengthens relationships. In addition to making date night a priority, I try to make family time a priority as well.