“I just feel… like we are two roommates raising a baby. It's like we aren't even husband and wife anymore.” He said the words that I'd been thinking for months, but had been too afraid to speak out loud. Saying the words out loud would mean admitting that we had grown apart, that we were distant, that maybe, just maybe, we had an actual problem in our marriage – one that couldn't be fixed with a simple, “I'm sorry” or “I love you.”
Hearing my husband say those words, knowing that they were true for me too, was hard. In fact, it sucked. It had been about six months since I'd had our daughter. Bringing a baby into our family and home was supposed to be smiles, laughter, and happy tears – not constant bickering, resentment, and tears of anger and frustration. We were both hurting – we were each feeling neglected, ignored, and like we were falling out of love. Our marriage was suffering.
It has been years since that encounter, and since then, I have met so many moms who feel or have felt the way I did that night – defeated and alone in a loveless marriage. I've had friends ask me for advice on how to get through a rough patch like that one, and, while I definitely don't claim to be an expert, I can share the things that have helped my husband and I, both times it has happened to us (because, yeah, it happened again when we brought our second child home from the hospital).
5 ways to fall back into love after kids:
1. Take the time to be yourself. Both my husband and I did this, and I cannot recommend it enough. Set aside a few hours for each of you to do your own thing each week. During that time, you should not take on any parental or spousal duties. Just do something you enjoy. Think about your hobbies from high school or college – they probably didn't involve changing diapers or cleaning up other people's messes – remember who you were before marriage and kids, and go back to that. Find joy in the simple things again. Be YOU. Not mom you, not wife you – just YOU. And let your spouse have the time to do the same.
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
2. Serve each other. Believe me, at this point in my marriage, the last thing I wanted to do was serve my husband. I felt like I was already stretched too thin, and I had no time, energy, or desire to dedicate what little time I had left in my day to serving my husband. I realized, though, that the heart of service is love. We serve others to show our love for them. If I wanted to fall back in love with my husband, I needed to serve him. As I began serving him, I noticed that he began serving me, as well.
3. Go on dates. I know it's hard with a baby to find the time (and the funds) to go out on dates, but it's so, so important for your marriage. If you're low on funds, think about trading babysitting with some friends or trying out some of these fun date nights at home after the kids are in bed.
4. Learn each other's love languages. My husband and I figured out that we both have different love languages, and once we realized that, it made such a difference for us. We were better able to show our love for one another, in a way that was most meaningful to the other. We all give and receive love in different ways, no way is better than another, but it takes some work to learn what will be most meaningful to your significant other.
5.Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you feel that you have tried everything and still feel distant from one another, marriage counseling is definitely nothing to be ashamed of. I have known so many wonderful couples who have gone through counseling and it has worked wonders for their marriage! Sometimes you just need an unbiased third-party who can really help you open up and communicate effectively with one another. They have tools they can teach you to improve your situation, not just cope. The price tag seems to be a huge deterrent for many (which is understandable – it is definitely not cheap), but when it comes to saving your marriage, it is money well-spent.
Marriage can be hard, but as Dr. Gary Chapman said, “Conflicts are not a sign you've married the wrong person. They simply affirm you are human.” Bringing a new baby home can definitely put a lot of stress on a marriage – suddenly you've gone from spending all your extra time with your spouse to spending every waking moment caring for this new little person, and that's hard on a husband and wife. Have you ever felt like you and your spouse were roommates raising a baby?
How do YOU keep your marriage fun after having kids?!