How to have Children without ruining your Marriage

This Man 1.) Speak the truth in love. Your spouse can’t read your mind. Honesty, spoken kindly, leads to intimacy. I am convinced of that. I have lived it.

My beautiful man2.) Create a “What I need from ___________ (insert partners name)” list. Encourage your spouse to do the same.
Keep it short and concise.
Use bullet points.
Print it out.
Place it where your significant other will see it… every day.

3.) Rest when you can. This used to really piss me off when someone who had raised children would say, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!
Seriously? You don’t understand how much I have to do while the baby’s sleeping.
Turns out she was right… When I am exhausted I am ineffective. And it is such a short season. Soon you’ll be back to the laundry, house cleaning, cooking and all of those things you thought you needed to rush back to.
Remember… Exhaustion = Ineffectiveness

4.) Ask yourself if you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. I realize this sounds hokey to many people, but it works. Grab your lipstick, eyeliner, dry erase marker, chalkboard marker… whatever will wash off and write H A L T on your mirror. Why? Because this will be hard to remember when you’re sleep deprived, so have it handy.

DSC08219Before having any discussions, before making any decisions, before making any assumptions, ask yourself if you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired. You may be a combination of all 4. Or a bit of 2. And then be honest with your partner about what you’re feeling. There have been many times when I’m hangry (hungry and angry). When I can’t think logically before I’ve had something to eat which then calms me down. Usually chocolate…

This is the most important one. I cannot stress it enough.

5.) Have a friend, who (really) knows you and will speak truth into your heart. It is crucial. I had to learn, that my husband is not my girlfriend. There are some things I am not going to take to him to process through, because he can’t fix them and they are stemming from emotions anyway. Emotions change. That’s why we don’t ever make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.IMG_3685

I have learned this lesson the hard way. However, I have a wonderful friend who has known me my entire life and on the days when I needed to put my boys in their car seats, drive around until they fell asleep, call her and do the ugly cry, she was invaluable.

You may not be a Jesus freak like I am, calling out to God every other minute to guide my thinking. You may not be someone who prays out loud in their car not caring that the person next to them at the stoplight thinks they’re crazy… like I do.
That’s okay.
There has to be someone you can cry out to in times of uncertainty.

I had to make sure that I had (and still have) a support system. Whether it was 1 other woman or 5, I had to build a community of women who were either in my stage of life or had been there. Who wouldn’t judge me. And who would give me sound, applicable guidance on how to journey through this season without losing my mind or suffocating my husband in his sleep.photoI’m not going to lie… Having young children was one of the most difficult things that Chris and I have ever done. We had to decide and still do, that we are on the same team. It is not you fighting your significant other. You’re not going to agree on everything. That’s a given. You must know how to say “I’m sorry” and do it quickly even if you don’t think you were wrong.IMG_4482

I had to remember that Chris is a little boy with long legs. He went from being the center of my universe to having this miniature person consuming all of my quality time, many times leaving him with left overs. He deserves the very best of me. He came first. Without him, I wouldn’t have my children.

Believe me, I know how hard it is to show affection after being pulled on all day by our little ones. Again, this season is just that, a season. Sandra Stanley described it so beautifully when she said, “The days are long, but the years are short.
Your husband will be the one there when your children no longer require your attention for their every need.

There is so much more to talk about here. Let’s make it a two-part post.

Share your thoughts in the comments of what else we should discuss that will encourage moms who are in the trenches and I will use those to build part 2 of our discussion. Men are welcome to share their experience as well.

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6 thoughts on “How to have Children without ruining your Marriage

  1. Thank you for posting this. I love that its a simple uncomplicated list that is impossible to accomplish without the Lord’s help….like everything else in life. 😉 I have an 11 month baby and another on the way and we are excited to be growing our little family but hear 90% of the time,”Children ruin your life, marriage and fun” mantra from those around us and especially loudly from fellow Christians at times. How can we say children are a blessing while at the same time bemoaning all the “fulfillment” they keep us from? I think its a simple thing as well, we really DON’T believe God’s word when it comes down to it. He says they are a blessing and we should trust that the Almighty knows what he’s talking about! 🙂 Thanks, looking forward to part 2.

    • Kim,

      My oldest son turn 12 months old the week I found out we were having another baby. I was nursing and on the “mini pill” at the time. I was crying so hard when I got off the phone with the nurse that my husband thought I had a terminal illness.

      Truth is, I was happy and terrified. Chris had lost his job due to the economy taking a nosedive and I was trying to make up for his salary with a dozen other jobs, including (but not limited to) dog walking, babysitting, contracting at the church…and other random jobs.

      Children don’t ruin your life. They add so much substance and joy. It’s difficult to express with words. You can still date your spouse, have sex, laugh at how exhausted you are, stumble around early in the morning before you’ve had your coffee. It’s all part of what makes “doing life” with your man so incredible. It has the power to mold you into one.

      God tells us in his word that children are a blessings. I agree wholeheartedly. It has been my experience that most blessings come dressed as other things. It is only when looking back that I realize just how much of a blessing they were.

      God’s plan will be carried out (hence my pregnancy in spite of nursing and birth control) whether we go kicking and screaming or open our hands and say, “Yes, Lord. Your will, not my own.”

      Thank you for your comments.
      Blessings to you and your growing family!
      You’re in the thick of things 😉

  2. Very good insights!

    I only have contention with one point: “I had to remember that Chris is a little boy with long legs. He went from being the center of my universe to having this miniature person consuming all of my quality time, many times leaving him with left overs. He deserves the very best of me. He came first. Without him, I wouldn’t have my children.”

    I find it very objectionable to refer to one’s husband as a little boy with long legs. It is simply degrading to this beautiful, powerful, capable and compassionate grown man, whom you deemed worthy of your entire life’s constancy. Would a wife feel celebrated if her husband referred to her as a little girl with long legs?

    You are not wrong in recognizing he deserves your very best, but his loss of your attention was that of a husband and lover. It is in that spirit his needs should be attended. To say it was childish invalidates his status in your life, and can perpetuate frustration and resentment in both your hearts.

    I have recently found my sorority of friends, and you are so very right about needing a stable safety net of girlfriends to turn to when the going gets lonesome! I am so glad to have them in my life, and so is my husband! No more late nights of frustration for both of us, me trying to get an emotion acknowledged, him trying to fix something that isn’t his place to fix!

    They are also a Godsend when it comes to sharing childcare via play dates and sleepovers, so that we each can recover some moments of marital quiet and privacy.

    Friendships are vital to marital happiness. ❤

    • Megan,

      Thank you for your honest feedback. Please allow me to clarify the term, “Little boy with long legs.”

      I had to come to an understanding that my husband, though a grown man with many responsibilities and roles, still needs adventure. He needs to get dirty working on projects and have time with other men to talk about hunting trips (if they hunt) or their new bird dog, shoot pool or play video games (if they’re into that). He still needs to know how much I adore him. They really never grow out of being the adventurer who craves adoration from the woman that they love.

      Many of the traits I see in my boys, I see in Chris. It’s one of the things I love the most about him. He can build legos with our sons for hours. It’s a bonding time for them. If he could not channel the boy, there’s no way he could sit on the floor, ignoring the cramps in his legs while building castles with moats and fire breathing dragons.

      I’m not asking you to agree with my terminology. I just wanted the opportunity to share where I am coming from with that phrase. In fact, my dad is the one I got the phrase from.

      I wouldn’t mind someone saying that I’m a little girl with long legs;
      A. Because I’ve always wanted long legs and never had them
      and
      B. Because I hope there is always a childlike, playful, wonder filled side of me.

      I’m so glad you found a group of women to share life with.
      You said it well when saying, “No more late nights of frustration for both of us, me trying to get an emotion acknowledged…” It took me a long time to learn that I didn’t need to have an emotion acknowledged, knowing that it would change by the next day.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, reading and taking the time to comment.

      Blessings to you on this journey.

  3. Oh, Joy, my newfound friend via your thought-provoking words….gonna have to print this out and digest it…. Thank you for writing this 🙂 I already see I’m missing pretty much most of the last one. I also feel like it’s actually been HARDER as our boys (9 & 5) have gotten older. (We were blessed with babies that were “sleeping machines”…don’t hate me for that! Ha ha!) Boys/kids pitting one parent against the other…….my boys are experts….

    I hope you feel extra blessed today….I do 🙂
    Ginger

    • Hello friend.

      I am one who has to process things as well and to be honest, if someone had given me this list when our children were in diapers I probably wouldn’t have taken a second look at it. It’s too hard!

      Truth is, it’s not hard, it’s simply. It just isn’t easy.

      We definitely have our challenging times with them being a little bit older. We have tried to nip the pitting one parent against the other stuff. It’s hard.

      Having other women who know what season you are journeying through is crucial.

      I’m so glad you are reading and thank you for commenting.

      Blessings and Light.

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