I originally wrote a version of this article several years ago for Living the Sweet Wife.
When I became a mom (almost six years ago now!) I was thrilled. Nothing had quite prepared me for the intense love I felt for my little son.
At the risk of sounding slightly cheesy, I really felt like this new job – being a mom – was what I was made for.
But, I think it’s also safe to say that nothing had quite prepared me for the changes in my marriage. Because marriage changes after kids. It just does. Some of the changes are awesome. And then some are, well, not as exciting haha.
Let’s start with the awesome changes first!
You see your spouse through new eyes
I LOVE watching my husband be a daddy. It is a side of him that I never saw to this extent and honestly you guys, it’s attractive.
Watching his gentle side come out is really special; I love how he loves our kids. And seeing how my kids adore their Daddy makes my heart so happy.
Your bond with your spouse is deepened by your mutual love for your kids
This is the best. Because no one else in the entire word loves your kids as much as you, except for your spouse. No one else feels as proud as you at their little milestones, except for your spouse.
Most people will get a little bored after hearing you brag on your kids for ten minutes but your spouse will gladly join in!
At times my husband and I have sat together after our kids are in bed and looked at their pictures haha. Parenting together definitely creates a special bond that you didn’t have before.
But, some of the other changes aren’t quite as exciting.
You have less one-on-one time as a couple
Okay, this is pretty obvious but it’s an important one to mention. Once you have a baby, quality one on one time reduces drastically. It’s just going to happen. You’ve got a little person (or people) to take care of now. You can’t just drop everything to go out on a hot date.
My husband has a hard time just telling me about his day without at least one of our three kiddos interrupting! (We’re working on that, but I imagine it will be a work in progress for quite awhile, ha!)
You can’t be as spontaneous
Pretty much everything in life takes a little more planning and forethought once you have kids.
Instead of spending extra time in front of the mirror before having dinner out, you’ll be stuffing sippy cups, diapers, and outfit changes into the diaper bag and searching for your toddler’s shoes.
Wanting to go on a spontaneous date? Hmm yeah probably not going to happen, unless you happen to have a babysitter on call!
You get less sleep
From being up at night with a newborn, to calming your four year old who had a bad dream, to sharing the bed with a squirming toddler who was afraid of the storm, kids will ultimately result in less sleep for you. And less sleep is bound to affect your marriage sometimes.
Less sleep can make you irritable (or is it just me?)
When you’re tired, vegging on the couch and watching TV sounds a lot more fun than that game or project you used to enjoy doing with your spouse.
And a romp under the sheets sounds a lot less appealing when you know you’ll be up with the baby in an hour.
You have more responsibilities
Besides having less time together, less spontaneity, and less sleep, you now have the big responsibility of little people to care for. And kids, they’re needy.
Before having kids I said “I will always put my husband first. It’s a no-brainer.” Yeah …. Well, I still want to, I really do, but it’s tough once those oh-so-cute-but-needy little humans come along.
So, why am I sharing all of this? Do I want you to never have kids?
Of course not. But I think it’s important to acknowledge how marriage changes after kids, both the awesome changes and the hard ones, as you seek to make your marriage a priority.
I love this reminder from marriage blogger Sheila Gregoire:
Don’t put your marriage on the backburner once babies come. Once you’re parents, your marriage matters more, not less, because now other people are counting on you. So cling to each other and get ready for the most exciting ride of your life!
How can you make your marriage a priority when you have kids?
To start, acknowledge that it is important. Then, remember that it’s the little things that make a big difference.
Sure, you can’t be as spontaneous now, but work on becoming a better planner and plan special times for the two of you.
Leave your husband a note telling him how much you love seeing him be a dad. Surprise him by showing up at work with the kids just to say hi. Be goofy together, even when (or especially when) you’re running on little sleep.
As your kids grow, teach them not to interrupt so that you can actually talk to each other haha.
Basically, the state of your marriage after kids is up to you two. Yes, having kids will bring many changes, but it’s your decision how you will allow the changes that come to affect your marriage.
I would encourage you (as I encourage myself!) to embrace the awesome changes and allow them to help you grow closer as you work through the tough ones together.
To re-quote Sheila, “Cling to each other and get ready for the most exciting ride of your life!” And it truly is exciting.