I’ve been married for almost 6 years, together for 8. I feel like that needs to be stated for the mere fact that I am on the heavy side of a decade with the same man by my side. We have been through countless career changes and promotions, a couple houses, 4 dogs, like 5 vehicle changes, two pregnancies and therefore two wild toddlers on the ground that occupy the space within our house.
What I am getting at here is that my husband and I have gone through so many lifestyle changes and seasons in our time together. There have been so many ups and downs, highs and lows, and a whole bunch of boring in between. I don’t mean boring in the sense of uninteresting. I direct that word more towards all the tedious daily routines that we have to do as adults. If you don’t enjoy grocery shopping, or going to home depot for Drano, or cleaning out closets, or doing yard work, or picking out new sheets with your significant other then you aren’t going to enjoy spending your life with someone. Because the truth is, there is a whole lot more of the “boring” in between than there are vacations to the Caribbean.
Marriage is hard and when you add navigating this whole parenting thing while trying to keep your relationship intact – let’s just say that life gets challenging real quick. I am no expert by any means and I am certainly not trying to claim to be one here, I just feel like I have gained some wisdom in these last 8 years. I think it’s worth sharing with you in case you have found your way to this article and you are a tired and overwhelmed momma, like me.
Get Firm On Bedtime
Okay, bear with me. I’m going to sound like a hypocrite here because my 4-year-old hasn’t gone to sleep easily since she left the womb. I bring this point up, just in case you are a new momma and have the opportunity to get this one right from the beginning. If I could go back in time on my motherhood journey, teaching my daughter to sleep would be quite possibly the only thing that I would back and change. I know it seems impossible to get your toddler to sleep at a reasonable time, but momma, if your kids don’t have a solid bedtime routine then you and your hubby don’t get to hang out after hours.
If you cannot dedicate one hour a day to your marriage, then how are you going to come out of this parenting gig alive? Maybe for your relationship, you are able to find the time to hang out in the morning, drinking coffee and planning out your day together, fantastic! But for the rest of us – the late hours of the evening are our only chance to watch a show that doesn’t involve singing.
Take Date Nights Seriously
Making time to date your spouse is so crucial to keeping your marriage vibrant. Momma, I know you are busy. I get that your schedule is jammed packed. I live in a constant state of “overwhelmed.” I get it. But listen to me when I tell you, that it is so easy to get snuggled up into your routines, week after week after week. Until three months have gone by and you and your husband have not sat across from each other in deep conversation, without a kid screaming from the bathroom that they need their butt wiped.
You might be thinking, “Sure, Kelly, that would be dreamy but we are on a tight budget and don’t have family members to babysit our littles.” Girlfriend, find another human on this planet that you can leave your kids with for two hours without worrying. Do you have a friend with young kids? Maybe you could do each other a favor, and trade Saturday nights every couple of weeks and watch each other’s kids. #teamwork
Sister, if you haven’t shaved your legs in 9 days and you crawl into bed at the end of an exhausting day, the chances of you being in the mood are slim to none. You are setting your marriage up for failure if you are not taking care of your body first and foremost. I know that I am not alone here. If I do not FEEL sexy (even if my husband thinks I’m good looking in any state – bless him!) then I am usually not interested in “doing laundry.” (Wink. Wink.) So pay attention, and do more of the things that make YOU feel sexy in your own skin. Experiment with makeup, get some lingerie, buy silky sheets, and girlfriend, make sure you shave your dang legs regularly.
When you feel your best, you radiate confidence to everyone around you, especially to your spouse, and confidence is sexy. So go get a pedicure, schedule in a wax session this week, get your hair colored, or watch YouTube videos on how to contour your cheekbones. Do whatever you need to do to take care of your appearance, and make sure that you are doing the things that make you feel your best when you walk past a mirror.
Move Your Body
This is going to build on my last point but stick with me. I recently got back into fitness and developing a routine of working out every day. It is not easy. I have a million valid excuses not to do it, but here’s the thing. On the days that I work out, I mean legitimately break a sweat, the momentum overflows into every other area of my life. I have more patience with my kids when before I would instantly lose my cool with them. I am more motivated to keep my house clean because when my house is organized, I don’t feel suffocated by clutter and therefore my anxiety stays at bay. I also am able to find a positive workflow for my job, and then I feel accomplished at the end of the day.
I have seen all of these improvements in my life because I work out for at least 30 minutes every day. When I am a better mom, a more productive housekeeper, and in the zone at work, I am then able to show up for my relationship in a whole new way. Taking care of your health is the greatest way to ensure that you are able to take care of your marriage.
Learn Each Other’s Love Language
For those of you that are in a long-term, serious relationship, I highly recommend reading “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. This book includes a short test that helps you identify and fully describes the way in which you prefer to receive love. After you have that information, sit down and write out some creative ways that you could show up for your partner in the way that they need you most. For most of us, we give and show love in the way that we expect to receive it. You may be buying your partner gifts when really, they are craving quality time with you. If you have read the book, give yourself a refresher course and start to actively love your spouse in their own love language.
Being a wife is tough sometimes and often as moms, we feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. I literally put “be an exceptional wife” on my to-do list. I am not kidding. Seriously, I have a reminder on my phone to be an exceptional wife. You might find this crazy, and maybe it is. But I am a list person and if I do not write something down, then there is a good chance that I will forget to do it. This goes for cereal on a grocery list and showing up as the best possible wife that I know how to be for my marriage. I also write down, “be a great mom” because if I see it on a piece of paper, that tells my mind to make it happen. Writing things down makes me conscious and therefore makes me be intentional with my life.
I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to get at with this entire post. BE INTENTIONAL in your marriage.
Your marriage should be one of the biggest priorities in your life. It is the foundation on which your children will view relationships for the rest of their lives. Do not take your role as a wife lightly, it is a huge obligation to not only your spouse but to the standards for which your kids will hold for their own relationships later on. You deserve to be a happy wife so that you and your entire family can live a happy life. So take care and show up as the version of yourself that you know you can be, even when you’re tired.