If you read any articles about marriage after kids, you’ll most likely read that it’s more hard work, that you have to make more effort or any other derivative of ‘hard’ and ‘work’. Which is true to some extent. But I don’t think we focus on the positive enough, the ways in which marriage is better after kids.
I’m the first to admit that I have found motherhood difficult to adjust to. I’m six years into the gig and still find that some days it feels like a shoe that doesn’t quite fit right. And when something changes you so much, it’s only natural that it will have an effect on all other relationships in your life too.
Now, I’m not sure if there’s a ‘terminal velocity’ of sorts where the number of kids = the highest amount of happiness, but we are at two children and aren’t adding anymore so I won’t ever be able to compare (maybe you’ve got a view on it). It has been really nice though to bring the focus back to the positive changes that have happened in our relationship since having kids, which I feel in turn has helped with the whole adjustment to motherhood.
These are some of the ways in which we feel having kids has made our marriage better:
1 – We Have Become More Efficient At Communicating
Communication is something that we spend a lot of our focus on, sometimes it falls by the wayside, but most of the time it is front and centre. BUT… we don’t have hours to chat, and usually, our conversations are taking place while we are doing other things.
Which is why we have become more efficient at communicating.
We know we need to get to the point quickly, express our concerns or worries, share our ideas for solutions and create a plan to move forward.
2 – We Make The Most Of The Time We Have Together
Date nights aren’t always possible, and I don’t think they are necessarily essential to the happiness of a relationship if you manage to make the most of the time you do have together.
After the kids are in bed each night, instead of watching TV mindlessly, we snuggle and chat and catch up on our time. Sometimes we will watch a movie together and have an at-home ‘date night’, other times we will talk about our current goals and our plans for achieving them.
It also means when the rare occasion comes up that we both have a day off together without the kids, we put each other first, put our marriage first and we spend that day together, regardless of what else we have going on.
3 – We Make A Conscious Effort To Connect
Before kids, we had all the time in the world together. Connecting was simple, we didn’t have to share our bed with kids, share our space with kids, we could be together whenever we wanted.
But now… not so much. Which means we have to make a conscious effort to connect, to talk with each other, to do things for each other, to be thinking of each other.
Simple things like having the coffee out ready for the other person of a morning, or leaving a sweet ‘I love you’ note somewhere, or talking to each other, even if it is on the phone, can make the world of difference.
When kids come along it’s easy to fall into the trap of just doing everything for them, and quickly you start to realise you become more like roommates than a married couple. Taking the time to connect is important and after we had kids we realised this had to be more of a conscious effort, which is really nice.
4 – We Have Become Intimacy Opportunists
Our little girl bed shares with us, and we absolutely love it. We wouldn’t have it any other way. When I was telling this to my beautician, she said ‘oh, but doesn’t your husband hate that you can’t have sex because your daughter is there?’
First of all, so many things wrong with that statement. Second of all, he is the one that loves bedsharing with her, even more than me. AND, if your bed is the only place you can be intimate with your husband then you’re missing out!
Once you have kids, intimacy in your marriage turns into something different. It’s not just sex, it’s about finding time to connect with each other through physical touch. Sometimes that might be holding hands while talking, or holding hands at the dinner table just to keep that connection with each other. It can be taking the few moments to stop and cuddle and kiss while the kids are quiet or entertained somewhere else.
It’s fun looking for the moments and times you can share that intimacy and you appreciate those moments even more.
5 – We Appreciate Each Other More
Speaking of appreciation, we have found that we appreciate each other even more. I mean, we’ve always appreciated each other, but after kids? That’s a whole new level of gratitude.
I appreciate my husband’s cleanliness even more allowing me to spend more time with the kids rather than cleaning, he appreciates my desire to be the breadwinner allowing him to spend more time with the kids rather than having to work all the time.
We’ve designed our lives to play to each others strengths and maximise our time together as a family. This wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have the foundation of appreciation and gratitude to start off with.
Things that were taken for granted pre-kids are now the things that we are so grateful for after having kids.
6 – We Have Greater Patience With Each Other
I’m not the most patient person at the best of times, but having kids has made me become far more patient because things don’t happen on my time anymore, it’s all on their time, especially when they are babies, and that’s just how it’s meant to be.
So, thanks to this, my patience has spread to my marriage too. Not that it was an issue before, but I found I don’t get irritated as easily, the little things that frustrated me before just don’t bother me now and whatever frustrations I do have I tend to move past faster because my husband is my safe and calm place, not a place of frustration.
7 – We Have Become More Responsive To Each Others Needs
Before you have kids it’s easy to be a little selfish, which is a good thing! You absolutely should be. As you’re finding your feet in marriage, you start putting each other’s needs first and this is exactly how it’s supposed to be.
But, when kids come along, it’s essential that you are responsive to each other’s needs and you put your marriage first.
As full of love as your life is with kids, it’s also quite chaotic. Acknowledging when your spouse needs extra love and support and then following through is so important to being able to maintain a happy and healthy marriage. This is one of the things we found makes our marriage even better after having kids.
We have become so much more responsive to each other’s needs.
I can tell when my husband needs time out, he is a classic introvert so I don’t push him too much to attend events or socialise. We make sure we schedule in regular breaks for him to go fishing or camping, even as a family, so he can recharge his batteries.
My husband can tell (often before I notice) that I need time out too. He will encourage me to spend time on my own, taking the kids away for the day or a few nights to visit family, or encourage me to get away and do whatever it is I need to do at the time to fill my cup.
Knowing that he has my back and encourages me to be my best self as a woman, wife and mother, means I don’t have to worry about trying to make sure my cup is always full (self-care) or that my needs are being met. He does this for me and having kids has made it that we enjoy being able to do this for each other.
So many people talk about the struggles of marriage after you have kids, and don’t get me wrong, it’s no walk in the park. But, it’s not all doom and gloom either. We believe our marriage is better because of these things we’ve had to adapt to with having kids, and we love it.
Our marriage is happier, stronger and more exciting because we’ve made sure that we still focus on it while raising our kids, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.