Once you’ve lived out your fairy tale courtship, enthralled yourself with exciting wedding and honeymoon planning and made a happy home together, ‘Happily Ever After’ usually doesn’t end there. You know the nursery rhyme: “First comes love, then comes marriage – then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”
Adding children to your family brings immense joy with new and exciting experiences. In addition to the obvious earthly responsibilities, we also feel an immense sense of pride and responsibility – spiritually -as we commit our lives to bringing up our children in God’s Kingdom.
For some couples, having children can be a tough transition. We get caught up with tracking milestones, keeping up with sports teams, church activities, taking family vacations, making school lunches and rushing to and from soccer or ballet. However, a hectic life with kids isn’t a death sentence for your marriage! The experts at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember have refined what it takes to have a successful marriage and family, and put together three tips to keep a marriage—even after kids—alive:
1. Have meaningful conversations. It might sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of couples experience “kid brain.” You know, that state of mind where all conversations revolve around the kids? First, it’s important to connect with God individually and then come together with your spouse on a meaningful level. Take 10 minutes each morning to read a devotional book and pray together daily. Mix in one-on-one talks with your spouse while enjoying kid-free activities such as walking the dog, going out to eat, taking a class or joining a couples’ book club.
2. Set aside time for the relationship. Sometimes it can be hard to get in your daily devotion time,or maybe you’re not able to connect with your spouse (kid-free) as often as you need to. Treat your relationship like a savings account and pay yourself first—make sure to set aside time for your relationship first. Set up a recurring monthly date night, pick a weekend for a ‘stay-cation’ or attend a Weekend to Remember event in your area.
3. Keep your marriage the central relationship in the home. Keeping in line with your priorities—God, spouse and then children—will make for an inspired and happy marriage. In the end, kids want to see their parents happy and in love—it’s all about balance! Couples who can only relate on matters involving kids will experience a rude awakening years down the road when they grow up and leave the nest. Make sure you nourish your relationship with God and your spouse, not just your children’s parent.
Life is never going to be perfect, and we all experience trials, rough patches and times when we feel disconnected from God, our spouse or our children. Keep your priorities front-of-mind, make time for and center your relationship with God and your spouse before anything else and you’ll find a marriage filled with love, meaning and abundance. We know that God will honor our marriage and family through His many blessings.
About FamilyLife: For more than three decades, FamilyLife, a non-profit organization cofounded by Dennis and Barbara Rainey, has focused on the mission of using practical, biblical principles to build healthier marriages and families. FamilyLife, a 501c3 organization, works in over 100 countries around the world to help to transform lives and restore hope through its Weekend to Remember ® marriage getaways, The Art of Marriage® video event, Homebuilders small-group Bible studies, FamilyLife Today ® radio broadcasts, Hope for Orphans® orphan care ministry, FamilyLife publications, and online resources. For more information visit FamilyLife.com.