I have said (only semi-jokingly) many many times that since my husband and I made it through our first year of marriage, we can now make it through anything and everything. Oh man, is marriage is HARD!
What sucks too, is that you really have no idea how hard it will be until you are knee deep in it. You hear about it when you are dating and engaged, but you KNOW that YOUR marriage is going to be different. You have one fight while engaged about something and you think, “Hey, we made it through a fight! We are never going to fight again!” Well, THAT ain’t true. And once you add a kid to the mix, then you REALLY realize that marriage isn’t for the faint of heart.
Your husband isn’t changing diapers.
He always sleeps through the baby’s cries.
You always have to ask him to take out the garbage.
He gets a break from the kids, while you are home ALL DAY LONG.
That’s when you start to wonder if it’s even worth it. Wouldn’t it just be easier if it were just you, or just you and your kids? You never have to worry about failed expectations, since you only have yourself to rely on. Wouldn’t it just be easier to give up?
I’m here to tell you NO.
No it is NOT easier to give up, or walk away, or just quit. With the exception of abuse, you can work on it and have a happy marriage again!
“Wait, I can be happy again?”
You bet you can! It’s going to take work though. Haven’t you always heard that what matters most is usually what takes the most work? Well you would be right! (I know, totally cliché.) But here are some steps to help you get back to where you once were with your spouse.
1. Be polite
This sounds so ridiculously basic, but how often do you say please/thank you?
I am SO GUILTY of saying, “Hey Adam, can you bring me my water?” or whatever else. But I never say please. I have to say, that in our marriage, I’m totally the mean one (not that mean, but you know what I’m saying) and if he didn’t say please or thank you, I would bite his head off! (Yeah, character flaw. I’m working on that.) But it is SO TRUE that when you start using those basic courtesies, you really begin to appreciate each other more. And that leads to…
2. Compliment one another
“But my husband is driving me nuts, and I can’t think of anything nice to say!”
Well think harder! You married him for a reason, so there has GOT to be something nice that you can say to him. “I really appreciate you working so hard everyday” “Thank you for changing [insert name]’s diaper” “You look really nice in that shirt.” I’m not kidding, this will work! Not only will you start thinking about your husband in a positive light again, but oftentimes, husbands will then reciprocate the compliments. (Give them some time though, boys can be a little slow 😉 )
This is a biggie. I have learned over the years that husbands can’t read minds.
I know, it’s lame.
They totally should be able to by now, but they can’t. So it is your job to fill in the blanks! More often than not, my husband is COMPLETELY UNAWARE that something is bugging me.
For example, we don’t have cable, but my husband loves sports. So therefore, he is always keeping track of different games and scores on his phone. He tries hard not to during the workday, so frequently it’s one of the first things he does when he gets home. Sometimes I don’t mind, but other days the kids have been…challenging, to say the least. And when he gets home, I just need some support!
So instead of sulking, I need to just say, “Hey Adam, I know you’re tired, but can you please just give me 10 minutes to myself?” With this statement, I am acknowledging how he feels, expressing my desires, and being polite about it.
Do I do this every time? HA! That’s a good joke…but I have been trying to. And boy oh boy, when I do, it always works! (Small caveat, remember that he has been working all day too, so make sure to give him a little refresh time as well.)
4. Make time for each other.
With two small children, this is probably the hardest thing ever. More often than not, the only “alone” time that I want is me. Alone. Preferably sleeping.
Unfortunately (very unfortunately), men and women are wired differently. Men don’t ever seem to get “touched out” like women (especially moms) seem to get. But in order to be happy in marriage, you have to MAKE TIME FOR YOUR MARRIAGE. (I’m preaching to myself here.)
Whether it is a date night once a week/month, watching a TV show together, or…other activities…you just have to make the time. Make. The time never just happens. You have to be intentional about your marriage and therefore be intentional about making time for it. Otherwise, there will never just be the time. And chances are if you feel like your marriage is struggling, your husband feels it too.
5. Say, “I love you”
This has GOT to be the most important one.
We all need to hear those words, and I don’t care you guys aren’t vocal about that kind of stuff.
You should be.
Every single person needs to hear that they are loved. So just say it. It might feel weird at first if it has been a while, but nothing will break down barriers more than just saying those three little words. And you don’t have to make a huge deal out of it either. Just throw it in at the end of a phone conversation or something like that. I frequently think to myself, “If this is my last time talking to my husband, what would I want to say?” Slightly morbid, I know, but I still think it’s a really good reminder.
Your marriage didn’t get hard overnight, and it won’t get easy (or happy) overnight either. These things take time and consistency, but if you really find your marriage a priority in the long run, you need to make it a priority now. Today. Not tomorrow. Don’t put off what is most important. I promise you won’t regret it. Check out my post on how to make your marriage a priority again too for more tips!
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