I can’t think of role as gratifying and rewarding as parenting. Parenting is also demanding, hard, and exhausting work. I don’t care if you are a stay at home mom, work from home mom, or work outside of the home mom, it is exhausting. I’ve been on both sides of this fence friends, and I can assure you that one side is not easier than other other. Each side of the fence is different, but they both provide plenty of challenges for you.
The demands placed on us each day can feel like a mountain. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, therapy and doctor appointments (for my special needs moms), homeschooling, or helping with homework (if you’re not homeschooling) all need our attention. Sometimes we can let some of these demands slide. For example, dishes might not get done every night, maybe some nights you order a pizza. There are some demands that can’t slide though, like changing yet another dirty diaper. Another demand on your time and energy that we cannot let slide is our relationship with our spouse.
Why It’s Easy to Neglect Our Spouse
Putting our relationship with our spouse on the back burner is easily done. Most other demands on our time and energy is tangible. We see (or smell!) it. Tummies start grumbling, muddy footprints just went through the kitchen, it’s bath night, homework is due, kids need clean clothes by morning, this list goes on and on and on. I mean seriously, it never ends!
By the time we’ve completed all of these tasks, there is often little to no energy left to invest in our spouse. It’s easy to think along the lines of he’ll be there tomorrow, or I just need some alone time. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge advocate for self care. However, we need to make sure that we’re not throwing our marriage to the curb in the meantime.
Unlike the pile of dishes in the kitchen sink, we don’t physically see the effects of neglecting our spouse and in effect our marriage. This is why it’s so easy to do. We don’t see what’s happening, that is until the snowball effect of neglecting our spouse overtime shows up.
Dangers of Neglecting Your Spouse
Now I know we’re not intentionally neglecting our spouse. Sometimes we’re so burned out from caring for our children that we have nothing left to give. If you find yourself in a state of burnout, please have a conversation with your husband about it. Make sure he understands both your current state of mind, and that you are not intentionally ignoring his needs or your marriage.
What happens when we neglect our husbands, is that we are also neglecting our marriage. Marriage takes work if it’s going to survive. Someday ladies, our kids will be adults. They will move out of the nest and make a life for themselves. Someday, it will be just you and your husband again. What will that look like for you if you’re not continually investing in your relationship now? Keep the spark alive now so you don’t end up as strangers down the road.
I hate to say it, but that’s the best case scenario. I don’t have to tell you that divorce is pretty common in our culture today. The divorce rates for special needs parents like myself are extremely high. It’s a sad reality of what can come from neglecting our marriage. Please ladies, I beg you, for the sake of your families make your spouse a priority.
How to Make Your Spouse a Priority
So how am I, a busy wife and mother, supposed to make my spouse a priority? I’m glad you asked! Here are some practical tips to invest in your marriage.
Work as a team
When it comes to the daily routine, use teamwork to get things done. Not only will things get done faster, but you’ll have more energy to spend quality time with each other. In our house, one of us will do dishes while the other tackles bath time for the kids.
Send him messages
Throughout the day when he’s at work and you’re apart send him quick text messages. I’m not talking about a message asking him to pick up milk on the way home. I mean quick little messages that lets him know that you’re thinking about him.
Sometimes the thought of going through trying to find a babysitter can be enough to just give up. Don’t! Make date night a priority in your marriage. You should never stop dating your spouse. My husband and I have decided this year we will make date night a priority once a month.
Dedicate time together after the kids are in bed
This can take a variety of forms. Maybe it means you do your own thing until a certain time. Or, maybe you set a rule that all phones, tablets, computers are shut off at a certain time to get rid of outside distractions. Maybe you’ll do a fun at home date night activity. The point is, find something that will be distraction free quality time together.
A weekend getaway with your spouse and no kids is a great time to reconnect. Take some time to get away from the day to day routine. Get out and do activities you don’t normally do, go have some fun together! This is a perfect way to get in some deep conversations, stay up late and know you can sleep in.
Take a vacation
My husband and I are going on 11 years of marriage. Since having children, we’ve taken 2 vacations alone without them. It’s refreshing, relaxing, fun, and makes for a great week of investing in your relationship and marriage. So leave the kids (and your guilt) with grandpa and grandma for a week and get away! I would add this is especially important for special needs parents, we need our respite friends.
What are your tips for investing in your spouse? I would love to hear them, comment below!