By Ashley Hooker, Crosswalk.com
Almost 13 years ago my husband and I welcomed our first born into our lives. This precious baby boy was the answer to many prayers. Our excitement ran high and our hearts were overflowing with emotion. We could not imagine anything better than that moment.
But there was something better, our marriage.
Having kids can be hard on a marriage. Too often we hear about couples who begin to struggle and find their marriages in a fragile place. Well, I am here to share with you eight ways kids will change your marriage, for the better.
1. You Become a Better Team
When I got married, I was told that marriage was something I would have to work at. I would need to be a team player. After having children, this piece of advice became clear. Husbands and wives become one before God on their wedding day. They commit to working together as a team to glorify the Lord.
Becoming parents creates a stronger team. The level of empathy is driven higher. You are both now responsible for another life. That responsibility includes feeding, clothing, providing safety and security, and molding their minds in the way they should live. Both of you are now parents and you realize that working together can reap huge rewards for your children and your marriage.
2. You Cherish Each Other’s Company More
We are aware of how much time a child requires daily. By the time we get to the end of the day, there is just nothing left. Spending time with your spouse begins to suffer. That realization creates a situation where when you do get that special time together, you cherish it.
You aren’t criticizing the fact that your time together is not filled with chocolates, roses, or candles. Time together as parents now includes sitting on the couch after the children are in bed or watching your favorite TV show together. Maybe you take a short walk around your neighborhood while someone watches the kids.
None of these activities seem special, but for husbands and wives on the parenting journey, it is a time that you can just focus on each other. Couples can experience conversations without interruptions and cherish the time cuddling without your precious little one rooting between you.
3. You Become More Present With One Another
Being present with your spouse can fuel your connection with each other. When you are present with someone, you put aside your desires and expectations. You no longer have a standard your spouse should live up to. For a moment, all the expectations of parenting are put aside.
It is safe to say that my husband and I don’t spend a lot of time together because we are parents. We are juggling schedules to get the kids to their activities, get to the grocery store, and make sure everyone has clean clothes. This reality has made me stop and pay attention more.
I have found myself staring at my husband when he is working on his motorcycle, caring for the cattle, or even when he is reading a book. These are the moments I feel most present and connected with him. I see him in his natural environment and learn more about what he loves and how he loves.
We can learn so much about our spouses by making ourselves present. Becoming parents helps us accomplish that because we are limited on our time.
4. You Become More Aware of the Need to Carve out Time for Each Other
Getting married changed the relationship between my husband and I. Before our wedding day we were diligent about spending time together. Of course, I was in college an hour away from him. Once we married, we were living together. We had each other 24/7 so the need to carve out time for each other was put on the back burner. Every night was date night.
Parenting changed all of that. I was once told by a birthing counselor to remember that you had each other before the kids came along. How true that statement is. Too often we can put our children in front of our spouses needs. All our time is devoted to parenting and that can leave your spouse feeling neglected.
Having children means we must carve out time together. That time is so special and so appreciated. Without children, I don’t think we would have date nights or be running away to sit in the car and just talk.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
5. You Have Better Communication
Dr. Philip Cowan, a professor of psychology, stated in a 2005 article that parenting reveals fault lines in a marriage. I have to agree with this. Personally, I found my method of communication was terrible. As parents, we have moments where we feel underappreciated and exhausted. Then we lash out at our spouses. It’s after that moment has passed that we should be saying,” I’m sorry, I said those words in anger and I should have thought before I spoke.”
My husband and I have found that our communication is much better now than before we had children. Couples have a clearer understanding of the need to be honest with each other and share their feelings openly. God created marriage so that we would have a helpmate.
How can we help each other if we don’t communicate well? Having children will help you check in with each other regularly and keep the lines of communication open.
6. You Create a Deeper Respect For One Another
My husband often told me how much he admired me for becoming a mother. He experienced the nausea, exhaustion, and lower ability to breathe and even walk without waddling. During the birth process, he witnessed the miracle of birth and how dangerous it could be.
Experiencing the birth and day to day events of raising children will bring you and your spouse closer. I know what being a mom is like, but I cannot understand the struggles of being a father. I respect and admire my husband for teaching our son how to be a Godly man and showing our daughter how a man should treat her.
Having children truly does allow us the opportunity to see deeper into our spouse’s hearts and souls. What a blessing that could be!
7. You Build a Greater Sense of Intimacy
Intimacy is a feeling of closeness with someone. According to one definition I read, it is a private, cozy atmosphere. Couples with children need to have a private, cozy place with one another. As you drudge through the day-to-day, it is wonderful to be able to fall into the arms of your spouse.
After kids, the intimate physical relationship with your spouse can change, but it doesn’t have to. I have experienced a greater sense of intimacy with my husband since having children. I realize that when the moon is in the sky, cuddling with my man makes me feel safe and accepted. Getting a hug or stealing a kiss in the middle of the day can reset your mind.
8. You Build a Deeper Relationship with God
God is the model all parents should follow. He has filled His word with instruction regarding parenting. The words in Deuteronomy 11:18-19 remind us that we are to fix the word of God on our hearts and teach them to our children. We are to speak the Word of God in our homes, when we walk, when we lie down, and when we get up.
Teaching our children, the word of God starts with learning the Word ourselves. Husbands and wives that read the Bible together and pray together will develop a deeper relationship with Christ. They will turn to him for answers in their marriage and their parenting journey.
Marriage is a sacred commitment made before God that is filled with joyous moments. Parenting can create struggles, but we now know that becoming parents doesn’t mean failed marriages. We can still nurture that relationship and build a solid marriage based on the Word of God.
A marriage like that will teach our children what their marriages should be like. They will know what love, respect, and honor looks like. What better lesson can we teach our children than to love God and how to love the partner God created for them?
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto
Ashley Hooker is a freelance writer who spends her time homeschooling her two children, ministering alongside her husband as he pastors a rural church in West Virginia, and writing about her faith. Currently, she is a contributing author for Journey Christian magazine. She has taken part in mission trips with the NC Baptist Men during the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey in Mississippi and Texas. In her local church, she has served on various committees focusing in the area of evangelism along with traveling to West Virginia and Vermont to share the Gospel. Her dream is to spend her time writing and sharing the love of Christ with all she meets.