Having kids changes your relationship. It’s as simple as that. For anyone who says it doesn’t, I’d love to hear about how having your spouse watch you give birth didn’t change how they viewed you. Or how constantly having kids around doesn’t dampen the mood. I mean let’s get real here, the love game changes once you have kids. Staying in love takes effort as well as being on the same page, and the desire to keep the love alive. To me, staying in love doesn’t just mean physically with that person, although that is a big part of it. But it means you stay in love with the kind of person you married, and are finding new aspects in your relationship to fall in love with each other–all while juggling kids.
Everyone has seasons where it seems like the love is less intense, or that your are grasping for what you once felt every moment of your relationship. Its normal, everyone goes through these seasons in their relationship. The best part is that you can choose to stay in love.
Here’s just a few ways my husband and I are currently working on staying in love even after five years of marriage, close to ten years of dating, and after our two beautiful children have joined us.
Take a trip down memory lane. Be nostalgic and think back on the beginning of the relationship. For me, that’s when we were young and overwhelmingly in love. I think about how I felt, where we used to go, and I try to repeat those things in an effort to remember, and draw from that. Our favorite spot when we were dating was the Overlook at Palmer Park, here in the Springs. It was a free and beautiful place for us to sit and be together. Now when we go almost ten years later, all those memories and emotions come flooding back to us. Standing where you once stood with your boyfriend and now, your husband, instantly makes you fall in love all over again.
Be intentional. Staying in love is all intentional, but here are some practical ways to achieve this.
After the kids go to bed, put your phone down. Ignore the temptation to check all your social media feeds, or turn on the television and relax. I promise you, investing in your own relationship will be so much greater than seeing how others are portraying their relationship on social media. Be present.
Do random acts of kindness for your spouse. You know he loves a certain kind of candy, or another item that you wouldn’t normally buy–BUY it, buy it for him, and him only. It just shows that you were thinking of him as you were walking up and down the aisles at the grocery store, while corralling your kids in the cart. It may be a small gesture, but it makes a big impact.
Flirt again. Flirting is not just a way for people to show they are interested in each other before dating. In fact I think it is even more appealing with your husband, whom you know likes you. It’s okay if you are in uncharted territory here, it only matters that they see that you are attempting to show them some affection. Don’t be afraid to flirt in front of your kids either, it’s okay to let them know you love their dad, and that you still find them attractive; it might even give them the upper hand in their future marriage.
Getaway with just your spouse. It can be to the nearest big city, a few hour road-trip, or a short plane ride. But go somewhere and stay overnight. Spend time alone, and focus solely on each other. This is one of my favorite ways to keep falling in love. Even the planning of the trip can spark some love in anticipation of the trip!
Stay in love with the present. While looking back at your relationship in the past can be a great way to bring some of the love back into perspective, my husband is not the same person now as he was then. I choose to love, and be in love with him at this moment in time; and he does the same for me.
Watching your spouse with your kids in the here and now, can be a great way to fall in love with the person that they are. There’s something about the way they love their kids, that makes you love them more. You don’t have to wait to be done raising kids to fall in love with your spouse, it can be while you’re raising kids if only you choose to see it.
In the end your kids will grow up, move out, and eventually maybe begin their own families. It will be you and your spouse left in your home, and it will be another season of choosing to stay in love, especially after kids. It can be the most beautiful thing to have during and after you’re done raising kids–each other.