Making Marriage Last: How to Balance Love Life and Children_Autism Dating Site
Date 01-08-2019 | Views  1607

Keeping Love Alive

By Miranda Boyd, Ph.D.

With divorce rates soaring and the choice to marry on the decline, it’s clear that marriage is not easy. Adding children to the marriage makes it even more difficult. If you’re married with kids, you didn’t need me to tell you that though. Research indicates that nearly a fourth of marriages are in distress within 18 months of having their first child. Despite this, almost half of marriages remain intact. Sadly, only 17% report being happily married.

This trend of unhappily married is increasing with time. Is this because marriage is no longer needed like it was 25 years ago? Could it be that reasons for marriage have changed marital expectations? After all, marital dynamics have changed over the years with more mothers working outside of the home. Fathers now contribute to childcare and household chores almost as much as mothers!

So how DO we maintain a happy, healthy marriage when divorce and unhappily married trends dominate society?

Every couple is different so there’s no exact science to making the relationship work. Balancing marriage, work, children, and the stresses of life is no easy task. However, I CAN tell you what has worked in my marriage of 19 years. Yep, almost 20 years…half of my life! 5 kids, 3 dogs, 2 careers, and lots of busy schedules, and we somehow make it work. Honestly, the research backs me up too! So we must be onto something.

These are my tips:

1. Have realistic expectations. Realize that it’s not always roses and sunshine. We’ve had our fair share of struggles. We know that there will be bumps in the road. Expecting those bumps with the knowledge that you’ll get through is key. I also look at struggles as strengths in our marriage. Everything we conquer together makes us stronger. If you look at the battles in unity, it prevents an all out war!

2. Communicate. It’s so important to be on the same page. Always. You must be reading the same chapter! It amazes me how many people aren’t even reading the same book! Know what’s going on in your spouses life. Talk it out. Argue in a healthy way if you must.

3. Put your marriage first. Yes, I know it’s hard sometimes but a healthy marriage makes better parents. Plus, you’re setting standards for your children. Remember, the kids will (hopefully) someday be on their own and you will be left with this other human. Make sure you still like him or her!

4. Have date night. Spend quality time with your partner without children around. As much as you can! Put it on your calendar. Our marriage is always stronger when we are consistent with this.

5. Forgive. Some days you will be mad. Some days you will say or do something that offends your partner or he may offend you. You’re human and will both make mistakes. Learn to forgive over and over.

6. Respect your spouse. Just because you became “one” doesn’t mean that you’re literally one person. He or she will do things or value things that you aren’t interested in or don’t understand. Respect your spouse as an individual as well as your number one team member!

7. Remember why you fell in love to begin with. It’s easy to become acclimate to a person’s characteristics over time. Things that used to make you smile may now be a nuisance. Remind yourself of the early times in your relationship and what brought you together. Engage in similar activities. Focus on that version of your spouse who is still there under the layers of life stressors.

8. Make time. The most important thing you can do is make your spouse a priority. Your relationship should be your number one priority. This means make time to date, to talk, to solve problems together, to cuddle, to have sex, to be a friend, to give your partner a break from childcare, to travel together, and to do things your partner loves (even if you don’t). Everything else will be more likely to fall into place when your relationship is flourishing. Everything else will likely suffer if it’s not.