The day started with a bang. Literally. My glass mixing bowl in pieces all over the tile floor. Next came a whiny child who was certain the multiplication tables were trying to kill her. Then came the brothers who couldn’t seem to stop jumping off the furniture and knocking each other down in the process. My teens needed a couple of hours of heart-to-hearts with me, and my newborn needed to be changed and fed. And the toddler? Oh no?! Where was the toddler?!
I know I looked bedraggled when my husband walked through the door. I couldn’t help it. It had been a day. It seems like it is ALWAYS “a day.”
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be there for him, but there was no way I could be. I had spent the entire day in damage control, and there were still several more hours of it to go. Not a chance was my husband going to make my priority list that day.
Thankfully, I don’t make a habit of this, but many women do. Not because they mean to push their husbands to the backburner, but because they are barely surviving their own lives day in and day out, to the point they absolutely cannot see a way to grab a big enough break to spend time with their spouse.
They don’t have enough time to be a wife because it took everything they had to be a mom.
When you have a house full of obligations 4 1/2 feet and under, life is hard. You often lose sight of how these little people got here in the first place! But I firmly believe a strong marriage will actually HELP your ability to mother these little ones, so let’s talk…
Keep in touch via phone, text, or email throughout the day. Keeping in touch with your husband is the key to keeping your marriage at the forefront of your mind. In this day and age, nearly every wife has instantaneous access to her husband via some form of digital communication. Try to stay connected during your day and you will find it easier to stay connected when he is home because both of you are aware of what has gone on in your respective domains throughout the day.
Try to knock out the big stuff before he gets home. Sometimes I have a major blog post I want to write or I need to go shopping sans children, but I try not to take up “our time” with projects. If you do need to do a big project, try to do it together (or at the very least, in each other’s presence.) An example of this would be going grocery shopping together.
Take a nap – if you can. Yes, I know – a mom of many littles is probably not going to get a nap. This is one of those things that comes and goes, but is such a blessing if you can manage it. I’ve had some seasons where I’ve been able to successfully implement a Rest Time for everyone in the house, so you might try that first. You are WAY more refreshed when your husband comes home. But, if you cannot manage something of that scale, try to get a decent night’s sleep and try to find some time shortly before he comes home to unwind. Find a place to take a break and prepare your heart and mind for your husband’s return.
Establish a bedtime (or rest time). We are a Routine Family. Our life doesn’t fit neatly into rectangles on a spreadsheet, but I do try to have a round-about bedtime set for the kids, and most of the time, we adhere to it.
I will tell you that having bigger kids has made having a bedtime MUCH harder. Big kids don’t like to go to bed at 8 pm. What we ask of our bigger kids is that they respect “our time” and take that time to rest or relax. Yes, they would certainly LOVE to watch the movie we are watching, but they understand that isn’t always feasible.
Have a ritual or tradition that is just for you and your husband. For us, it has become coffee on the front porch before Ty heads to work. No one is allowed out there with us. I have to admit, the younger ones like to call to us through the windows giving their nine million reasons why they NEED to come out there. (You know, things like they are just checking the weather or they thought they heard us call them out there.) So, our coffee time isn’t always peaceful, but child training is occurring, and our children are well aware of how important that Mommy-Daddy time is.
Traditions and rituals are signposts for a marriage. They tell our story. They keep us connected. They create memories – not only for us, but for our children who see how important this thing called marriage is.
Make the Fruit of the Spirit the fruit of your marriage. Ty and I have been talking a lot lately about the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. A lot may divide marriages (and Christians, for that matter), but if our lives, marriages, and homes are characterized by these Fruits, little else matters.
For more great ideas to keeping your marriage a priority, check out these posts:
Marriage-Centered Family – my guest post on To Love Honor and Vacuum