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This is a tricky subject but one you should not neglect.
You were a parent not long ago, your heart is stretching day-by-day and fully committed with this new task that parenthood is, and you can’t think of anything else but your kid(s).
Look, we thoughtfully added the “(s)” in the “kid” above because this is not a particular problem that strikes first time-parents.
Neglecting the marriage over the kids is something almost every couple faces somewhere in their relations, in their marriages.
We’ve gone through this exact problem when our first child was about two years old. We’ll share our experience in a minute.
Some couples actually strengthen their relationship while others give up on each other.
The sooner you identify that you’re neglecting – most times not intentionally – your relationship with your spouse, the sooner you’ll become the power couple you always wanted you to be.
Let’s face it.
While you were just the two of you, you only had to divide your attention with each other.
You could manage your time as you wanted to.
You could have night outs with your friends, go to the movies, wake up later during the weekends, stay in your pajamas watching a marathon of Star Wars an entire weekend, each of you with your own Haagen-Dazs and your set of Star War slippers.
Saving money for that yearly fabulous trip…Well, things will never be the same again.
But hey, don’t get us wrong.
This doesn’t mean that they will be worst, because they won’t.
It will be considerably different.
And, as a couple, you’ll need to adapt.
You won’t be the center of the universe anymore.
When neglecting your marriage (or whatever you have with your spouse) over your kids, pay special attention to these 5 reasons:
Reason #1: No time!
We had to start with the most obvious one, yet, the one that seems to be the hardest to overcome.
You have a life, right?
A life outside your home and your family.
You probably have a job that demands your time and attention, a kid that drains your energy leftovers…
Adding to that, you probably have your own parents asking for help here and there because they can’t connect the TV box or they don’t know how to change the image size on an email they want to send; the nanny that can’t come tomorrow because her car broke…
If you sum up everything, unless days could have 72 hours, you’ll have to cut somewhere.
Where do you normally cut?
Yes, you’re right.No more one-on-one time as you used to have with your loved one.
If you can relate with this and you can see this happening in your own relation, this is a major sign for alarm. One you shouldn’t ignore.
If you have to put in your agenda-free time to be with your husband, make it so. The other way around is also true for the husbands.
And treat that time slot as if it was the most important meeting of your week.
Make the time really count when you two are together.
And, as an “expert-level” challenge, try not to talk about the kids when you’re having some time as a couple. At least the entire time you’re together.
They’re important. But right now, you two are all that matters.
Reason #2: No money!
Sounds harsh, right?
Let us put it this way.
You both had savings for your own things.
You had enough to offer each other tickets for concerts or to the movies; enough to have a fancy dinner every now and then in a posh restaurant…
With the new baby – or babies – the entire financial planning had to change. Look, although we want to look at everything in a positive way, we can’t picture a false scenario here. For some couples, this will be an issue. An issue that should be talked about.
And as we can’t ignore it, you shouldn’t too.
Remember the tickets and fancy dinners we mentioned just a few seconds? When was the last time you did any of those?
Outside your birthdays, when was the last time you surprised your spouse with a meaningful gift?
This sounds a minor problem, but it is a problem that in the long term will leave some scars.
The babies have thousands of games and toys and things none of you actually know what they are…
And what about yourselves as a couple?
When was the last time you bought something for each other to use at the same time? Yes, it can be what you’re thinking about you naughty…
The important thing here is, just like you saw that you need to save meaningful time to spend with your spouse, you also need to save some money for each other.
Buy flowers, a recipe book for quick and healthy meals, go to the movies, go to a concert, buy lingerie… Be creative.
Spice up that relation, if you don’t mind.
Reason #3: No patience!
No, we’re not pirates.
We’re just tired because our newborn slept only three full nights in 7 months and we’re tired and grumpy.
Look, we all have problems and stresses.
We are told not to blame our kids or use negative language with them, to protect them from our own stresses.
We bring the work stresses home, most times…Who is the only person we can openly share our stresses and frustrations?
You’re right, once again.
But hey, it’s normal and healthy.
You need someone with whom you can share everything. The good, the bad and the ugly. Who better than your spouse?
It was in the contract when you got married. But the problem is not about sharing. In fact, if you’re not sharing you’re having a communication problem but we’ll get there soon.
The real problem is when your relationship becomes one of chatting only about your frustrations and stresses.
You get grumpy when you look at your spouse because he said that your boss might be right this time. You get impatient because your spouse didn’t react as you expected…
Your spouse, ultimately, is your best friend. Not a punching bag.
Feel free to share and seek help, but don’t see your spouse as your frustration punching bag.
If you’re close to each other, just hug each other before continuing reading.
If you’re not physically together right now, just text him or her saying something sweet.
Sweeten that relation!
Reason #4: No communication!
Let us put this straight as the subject of this article is about neglecting your spouse over your kids.
Of course, communication is vital in every relation and we’re assuming you know that otherwise, we’ll have to write a totally new article on that as it is indeed one of the most important things in a couple.
The problem here is another, and most couples don’t even realize that it is happening.
Next time you’re having a conversation with your spouse pay attention to the subject.Your kids, right?
You may find time for each other after they are all sleeping, but what will the subject most likely be?
Yes, and once again you’re correct.
You’ll most likely talk about how they’re growing, how you’ll have to stretch for one of you to pick them up at school while the other goes to the swimming lessons with them.
You’ll also chat about their lack of confidence and how you can help the little one gain trust.
There are a million different subjects about your kids.
But shouldn’t you turn off sometimes and talk about you two as a couple? Shouldn’t you plan yourself as a couple as you did before?
Of course, you should.
Twenty years from now, you’ll be alone again when they go abroad to study, get married… Don’t wait until then to plan your life as a couple.
Do it daily.
Leave the kids for another conversation. Save time to chat about you two.
Reason #5: No sex!
Let’s face it and speak about it with full honesty and without any boundaries.
If you see yourself and your spouse falling into any of the previously mentioned traps, if not more than one, your sex life might indeed be of an octogenarian couple.
One with poor sex life, just to get this clear.
“Shhh… we might wake up the kids…”
“I’m too tired and we need to wake up earlier because of the kids…”
“The kids might wake up at any moment… let’s rest a bit before they do…”
“Kids are sleeping! Let’s… Zzzzzz…”
The kids… the kids… the kids… arghh…
The reasons are infinite and we might have used some of these before.
But hey, intimacy is something each couple NEEDS to have. Please notice that we didn’t use “should” have. We clearly said “NEED”, and it’s true.
The same way you need to…
… save time for your older loved one,
… save some money to spend together and not only with your kids,
… make sure you talk about positive things between you two and… have those conversations where the subject is you as a couple, not as parents,
… you also need to save time for intimate moments.
It doesn’t have to get to the sex stage all the time, but cuddle, kiss, hug, date, play some music and dance together.
Light up that passion.
Even for the kids as you’ll be a lot happier as an individual and as a couple.
You know, one day your kids will want to have their own families. And they’ll expect their families to be exactly as the family they knew from the inside. Your own family.
They’ll remember if you were passionate about each other. They’ll remember if you were deeply in love or if you were only together because…
They’ll remember if you were happy or not.
If you hold hands, if you kissed, hug, if you made surprises to each other.
They’ll see you two as an example of what living as a couple and raising a family really is.
They’ll define the word “love” based on what they see at home.
So, ask yourself: do you still think that neglecting your marriage because your kids are more important and deserve your full-time commitment, is really the way to go?
You’re doing your kids a favor by nurturing your marriage as it should be. With love.
Make that your couple’s commitment.
Not Too Late
If for any reason, you believe you’ve reached, or you’re reaching a point of no return, believe us, you can still turn things around.
The simple fact that you’re reading this, questioning yourself where you two made a wrong turn, or where you might diverge in your thoughts and feelings, it’s something important.
Don’t blame yourself for questioning your strength as a couple.
It’s absolutely normal.
Sometimes it is a stage. Sometimes it is a state.
Either way, it’s up to you to know if your marriage is worth saving. Today and tomorrow.
And saving a marriage, showing your babies what a marriage stands for, what love really means, it’s really up to you.
Just as you ask your babies to communicate and share their feelings with you, you should do the same as a couple.
Every day.Not when problems are around the corner.
Although meant for severe situations where divorce looks the natural option, we’ve had the chance to read and recommend this product to some couples, and it helped a lot.
It helped because it got us talking, sharing our thoughts positively and constructively.
And if you believe you could and should strengthen as a couple, you should do it too by exploring this product and the bonuses that come with it.
We still revisit it every now and then because it really helps strengthen us as a couple with the questions and exercises they suggest.
Your kids will thank you.
Your friends will thank you.
Your family will thank you.
You will thank you.