Sustaining a Vibrant Marriage
NOTE: Since this is my personal website, it is written from a wife's stand point. This is where I keep track of the wisdom God has helped me understand, so that whenever I get off track, I can get back on without starting over. Maybe it will be blessing to someone else.
Sometimes as moms, we focus too much on our children to the neglect of our marriage. Working on your marriage WILL help your kids, too! It's not a kids vs. spouse thing. Everyone is on the same team, including you and your husband! 🏆 With all the responsibilities we have, it's imperative to approach the delicate aspects of marriage efficiently and strategically.
The 5 Love Languages: the Secret Sauce to Meeting Spousal Needs
The 5 Love Languages 💑 by Gary Chapman really helped me and my husband discover what we are really needing from each other as spouses (usually you have different love languages). It also has given us a language to use to let the other know when one has needs. If you can isolate exactly what he needs besides you-know-what, it can help you be strategic with the little bit of energy and time you may feel you have for him😎.
Keep a Positive Attitude in the Bedroom
Second, it is imperative to make time for you-know-what. Sometimes, when I am going through a period of exhaustion due to not getting enough sleep, I have to remind myself that that aspect of marriage is a need that I alone can fufill for him as his wife. Have an honest talk with him to find out how many times a week he really needs it AND work together to creatively make appointments for it. In the morning before everyone gets up may become a better time than at night after an exhausting day. But schedule it in so you make sure it is a priority. Normal men want to please their spouses in this area, too, so let him know the things that help put you in the mood and relax. As women we have to move beyond thinking this special need is just another chore or something they need and we don't. It is the actual glue that makes you husband and wife🥰. Without it, you are just roommates😳. Work hard to make it a priority and try to enjoy him.
When You Need to Hit the Reset Button
To get things going in the right direction, you can do like I do every now and then. Slip your husband a little note in his lunch or when he is going out the door, or send him an email or a text. Simple message: "I know I have been neglecting your needs lately. Tonight or early tomorrow morning, I want to change that. My body misses you. Meanwhile, can you take this little quiz (the 5 love languages website link) and send me the results? Love, 😘"He will have a spring in his step the whole day. If you approach it from a positive standpoint, he will be excited to participate. My husband explains to me all the time that most men are very simple to please. Find out what those few things are your husband needs, give it to him, and he'll conquer the world for you.
Helping Kids Find their Place in the Family Solar System
Lastly, kids can be all consuming. We must find ways to approach raising them efficiently as well.
- Have a special meeting time each day to focus on behavior and family organization issues (how you want things to flow) and practice those skills with the children. I call this time, Morning Meeting. It will pay you back in dividends!
- Homeschooling can be done in 30 minutes total for each child. Add an hour each day for prep. I call this system, The 5-Minute Homeschool!
- Get more mileage out of homeschooling, by focusing on a strong foundation in mathematical and reading literacy AND independent study skills. Then, by the time they reach 5th grade level, they can do most of their work by themselves with a little input every now and then to move them forward.
- If you have little ones still waking up at all hours of the night, consider sleep training (by 4 months, they can be sleeping through the night).
- All children should have an early bedtime (7 PM for little ones or 8 PM for older children), but ALL should be up in their rooms by 7.
- Make time for devotions and exercise and whatever else you need for yourself during the day. The children must work around those needs and your marriage needs or else they won't have the best you. It also helps teach them to be considerate of others and respect you. You can do this a couple of ways (below).
- Build a mandatory quiet hour into your day for ALL of them, so you can prep or get other things done for you.
- Set a periodic timer for 5 minutes throughout the day and tell them, "mommy is going to [do devotions, exercise, take a little break, etc.] right now. If you wait nicely, then [this reward will happen - maybe you will play a fun game with them]."
Growing Together as a Couple and as a Family
When the foundation is laid (basic spousal needs met regularly), it is time to think about continuing to grow as a couple. Decide on some growth traditions to adopt and stick to them. Here are a few ideas.
- Renew wedding vows every _ year(s).
- Watch a video, take a course, or read a book together on marriage, communication, and finances __ times a year.
- Plan a monthly special date together where you also plan to discuss how things are going in your marriage. For example, go out to eat, or take a shower together, or go for a walk together, etc.
Growing as a family takes effort, too! Having a special family time each day or week where you tune in to each other is a great way to keep pulse on the family unit and keep your family moving forward together. We call this time - Family Huddle - to help remind us that we are a team! Below are few ideas about Family Huddle, but I develop this topic more on another page.
- Discuss your day together. Share one thing you liked.
- Resolve family disputes through discussion and teamwork.
- Make plans together as a family.
- Recite a family cheer that encapsulates what your family stands for.
- Pray together to seek God's blessing and acknowledge Jesus' rightful place as the Family Coach!