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On my wedding day I looked at my husband and said my vows. In those vows I promised to put God first, my husband second, and our children third. At 23 years old that seemed like such a simple goal. An easy thing to promise.
Now, two kids and seven years later, I can say that it is a much harder promise to keep than I ever imagined. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom and that I’m able to be with my children all day, every day. I also think, however, that I’m at a disadvantage in fulfilling my promise to love my spouse more than my babies.
My children are so sweet. And cuddly. And they love me so completely and fully. They forgive my shortcomings in an instant. They race into my arms and shower me with praises. I am their hero. I can do no wrong.
It’s not the same with a spouse. Men aren’t naturally as emotional as us women (ya think?). We hold more grudges against each other. We don’t appreciate each other like we should. We bicker. We pick apart.
It would be EASY for Zach and I to become more like roommates than lovers. Many times we only touch each other with a quick peck on the way out of the door in the mornings. We only talk in passing as we rush around with our “to do” lists. It’s easy to get disconnected. Focus on the negatives about each other. Be annoyed at my spouse so, in turn, find the emotional fulfillment I need from my children.
This is why I’m so, so thankful for Babywise. I believe, fully, that Babywise principals have helped keep my love with my husband in tact! We keep our marriage at the core of our family.
Here are five ways Babywise techniques have allowed me to keep my vow of God, then Zach, then babies:
The focus is on the baby joining the family, not the baby being the center of it.
I love on page 21 of Babywise where it states: “To improve the quality of the parent-child relationship, parents first must continue to evaluate the quality of their relationship with each other.” The word that stands out to me is continue. It’s a process. We have to always be evaluating our marriage. This is something Zach and I both work on all the time. We try to always be improving ourselves in areas that will benefit our marriage and, in the big picture, our whole family.
Having a plan in our parenting techniques brings us together.
Prior to reading Babywise, Zach and I were flying by the seat of our pants as parents. Having a clear plan of action gives us both a focus. Babywise provides a guidebook for us to follow which relieves our stress and minimizes arguing. We rarely have any disagreements when it comes to parenting. Which is a HUGE blessing!
Great sleeping kids means great sleeping parents.
Sleep is important. Not just for children, but for adults too! Our children have never slept in our bed with us. Zach and I have our bed as our place. We both sleep well at night and enjoy having that quality time together. I love the nights when we can’t fall asleep and spend time talking and giggling. I love that we are both well rested and able to start each day able to give each other and our family our very best!
Schedules give us freedom.
Our kids nap every single day. And by 8:00 each night they are asleep for the night! That gives Zach and I a LOT of time to be able to spend together. On weekends we enjoy their naps by often having our lunch together and relaxing. At night we often watch our favorite shows together in order to have some “us” time. It takes a lot of work to get the schedule established. I’ve even posted before about how we do sacrifice and “put the baby’s first” during the first year. But all the work is WELL worth it!
Structure allows us to travel.
I think that a lot of our success so far in our marriage is that we figured out early on a way for us to always reconnect. For us, it’s travel. I’ve written this post about our passion for traveling. We don’t do many date nights as I’d prefer to save that money to go on little trips together! While leaving the kids is hard, I have found it’s good for us all.
Zach and I are able to unwind and truly focus on each other. We are able to make memories together and to relax and leave the worries of home life behind, if even for only a short time. It’s also beneficial for our children. They see us putting each other first and they enjoy a break from Mommy and Daddy too every once in awhile! Our children having such structure in their lives allows for them to stay with relatives and have very little change in their daily routine. It also makes it easier for caregivers to watch them as they know what to expect at each time of the day.
No marriage is perfect and we are constantly striving to improve ourselves and keep our marriage strong. I know that the more children we add to our family, the more difficult it will be to keep my marriage vow. I’m passionate about parenting and being a good mother to my children. Like Babywise says on page 27: “To excel in parenting, protect your marriage.” By keeping my husband second only to God, I know that I am not only being a good wife but also a great mom!
How do you keep your marriage strong? What ways to you and your husband reconnect?
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