Over the course of six years together and a little over three years of marriage, my husband and I have had four children together. Through all of the ups… and the downs, there have been a lot of things I have learned about marriage since having children together.

Learned About Marriage Since Having ChildrenAfter the birth of our twins, I had a lot of emotional things to work through. Having a baby changes you as a woman, and that coupled with the exhaustion of parenting in general can really take its toll on a person. This, in turn, can have an effect on your marriage.

I spoke a little bit about this in a previous post, after really seeing first hand what a lack of communication and disconnection can do to a marriage. Now, I’ve really taken a step back and seen some of these lessons that have come up throughout my marriage and our parenting journey.

10 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage Since Having Children

1. Communication is the key to a successful marriage: Listen, I will be the first to admit that I am hands down one of the worst communicators out there. I would just as soon choose to jump out of a moving vehicle than sit down and have a serious conversation about emotions <<shudders>>. But, if you aren’t talking about things, arguments will be had for no reason, things will get left unsaid, and it can cause some serious gaps in your marriage. Trust me, I’m saying this from experience.

2.. You can’t make assumptions about the other person or your relationship: This one is an ongoing lesson for me, because I would rather make assumptions all day instead of talking about it. But, assumptions will, as they say, make an ass of u and me. A blogger I adore, Good Enuf Mommy, wrote a fabulous post about 5 false assumptions in marriage that you should definitely check out!

3. You have to make time for just the two of you: With four children, this is no easy feat. I can attest to the fact that sometimes, I’m just too tired to even think about dating my husband. Or, I get the “guilty mom” feelings of leaving my children with their Nana for the millionth time. However, I have quickly come to realize the absolute importance of date night. Making time that is spent with just your spouse allows for reconnection, a break from your kids, and it helps you to see them as the person that you married in the first place, not just the person that helps you raise your children. 12821458_10209147766397997_7662127520159661099_n

4. You have to do things that help you remember why you got married in the first place: This goes back to making time for just you two. Sometimes though, just a plain jane date night isn’t enough. You have to make things different and even find ways to spice up date nightI know the feeling of looking across at the person playing with my children and thinking, “What is this point that we’ve gotten to?”, feeling so distant from my husband. Take the time to change things up and really think about that person you married on your wedding day. IMG_2638

5. You have to pray together often, especially when things are hard: When I say “hard”, I mean like the point where you both are just sitting in tears because there it feels like there is no lower place to go. This could mean when the kids are all sick and screaming, when you hit a really devastating point financially, when you have a challenge come up in your marriage that you don’t think you can get through… stop, take a moment, and pray together.

6. Spouses are a team: Those kids will try to gang up against you. They will try to pin your against one another to get their way (mine do this often), and the tasks of parenting will sometimes make you feel like you disagree on everything. Some days (or every day), life will be hard, the kids will make you crazy, and you just don’t want to do anything else but sit down and have a drink. Have one with your spouse instead of by yourself! The key thing to remember is that in all of it, every task, every parenting decision, every crazy moment, you two are a team.

7. There will be times that make you want to quit: There are a lot of times where I think, “I didn’t sign up for this”Marriage is hard and it takes work. When you add children into the mix, it makes it an even bigger challenge. You might not always be happy… but, that doesn’t make you a terrible person or an awful spouse, as long as you recognize those times and communicate with your spouse about them right away, instead of sweeping it under the rug.

8. Having children doesn’t mean not having any more fun: I can’t begin to tell you how many people have told me, “You should’ve waited to have kids. You can’t have fun together now.” For a while, especially in the beginning of our marriage when we were really young and really broke, I believed it. Now, thankfully, I know that this statement is beyond false. I have more fun with my husband than I do with anyone else, as it should be. 10300219_10203943616057491_4206511110685817361_n

9. There is nothing quite like the relationship/friendship with your spouse: My husband is my best friend in the entire world. I have some really wonderful friends who I consider to be lifelong friends and a part of my family. Compared to my husband though, there is no friendship like that. I trust him with my life, I go to him with things before I ever do anyone else, and I talk to him about my deepest and darkest feelings, even when I don’t want to. We laugh together, we share the most special moments together, and it is a forever friendship that I cherish.

10. Having children is amazing and it should bring you closer than ever before: No matter how you become parents, the process of having a baby and raising them is a gift, pure and simple. This gift should bring you closer together because you both are raising that child together. That precious little one is YOURS to treasure, and this should make you look at one another with the utmost love and respect for going through the crazy journey of parenting alongside you.

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*What are some things that you have learned about your significant other since becoming a parent?*

*Cheers to our spouses; the ones we have chosen to spend our forever with*

joanna at motherhood and merlot