They say everything changes when you expand your family, and they are right, but the thing is we have more control over what changes and what doesn't. Joseph and I have tapped into our creative minds to keep our marriage healthy and alive. After the birth of our daughter, Amani, we immediately felt the reality of exhaustion and a never ending “to do” list with little time to do it all. Then add in getting used to the post-partum body/body changes, breastfeeding and everything else...let just say those first 3 months after birth were so tough. The things that were routine for us like greeting each other with a kiss, praying together or even eating together quickly became foreign. We had to be more intentional (there’s that word again) and find ways to keep this flame from totally burning out.
What we both started to realize is self care must be prioritized in order for the marriage to thrive.
If we don’t have energy, are not eating well, haven’t done anything to bring peace and joy in our lives (empty cup) we cant possibly give anything to our marriage or to anything else.
Makes sense right? If our car doesnt have fuel its not going to keep going, if a flower bed doesnt have the proper nutrients in the soil then it will not grow plants and if the fire place doesnt have enough wood (or turned and tended to), it will not burn sufficiently or at all.
It makes me wonder if this is what is happening to marriages - there isn't enough energy, time and resources invested to keep the marriage alive, healthy and enjoyable!
Studies show that the average marriage rate is between 7-8 years and somewhere around the 5th year, the risk for divorce increases. At this time, some couples have kids slightly a bit older and feel okay with letting the marriage go after years of resentment, unresolved conflict and not doing proper maintenance on the marriage itself!
To avoid this, we complied some really good tips from friends and marriage coaches and advocates and started putting things into practice.
Below are some of the specific actions we took (and are actively doing) to keep our love and energy up:
1. Walk with God - Remember John 15. God is the vine and you are the branches! Abide with him and you can do anything. He also gives wisdom without finding fault (James 1:5).
2. Prioritize self care - That includes mental, emotional and physical health! It matters and helps you show up as your best self.
3. Take advantage of the lunch hour - They say intimacy starts before the bedroom, right? Take time to connect over a meal, an activity or something to bring you closer.
4. SERVE each other - When your focus is on each other and not just yourselves it indicates you care. This is especially important if your spouse receives love primarily through acts of service.
5. Discuss sexpectations and schedule sex in busy seasons - This doesnt mean it will be boring, it means it will intentional. It works!
6. Find something you both enjoy doing together - Connecting over an activity that you both find joy in brings that spark of excitement back!
7. Flirt throughout the day - Our friends at The Ultimate Intimacy App have this already set up for you to send to your spouse! It just shows you are thinking of them!
8. Get in the habit of doing one thing you used to do - Change is hard for some and not so hard for others. To navigate the major life change of having a child, it helps to bring back something familiar. It could be the music you used to listen to together, a show, praying at a certain time, or even a meal you both love.
So what about you? Which one above have you done or planning to do? What would you add to the list?
We know this stage of marriage, with a young kid or kids, can break marriages so we pray that all of you reading will do your part to pour into yourselves, your marriage and your children.
If this is an area you and your spouse want to work on further so that your children will see a healthy prioritized marriage in the home, please book a complimentary 30 minute call so you have the support you need. We are here for you and we are praying for you!