Marriage with Little Kids

Marriage with little kids {deep breath}. Hard. Exhausting. Beautiful.  

Garet and I have been married going on 8 years.  Within those eight years, all but five months, have included me pregnant and/or nursing, with toddlers and/or babies.  It hasn't been easy, and finding time to connect with each other has been one of our biggest challenges.  So how do we stay close with each other during this time of complete and glorious chaos?  

1) We text, a lot.  That thing I meant to tell him while the kids were running up and down the halls and I was trying to put a diaper on one of the girls, I still tell him.  It's not ideal.  We aren't sitting down and chatting over the kitchen table, sipping coffee before he leaves for work.  It's usually between 10-11pm when I'm sitting on the couch after the kids are asleep (indulging on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) and he is at the hospital.  But eventually we do talk about it. 

2) The kids go to sleep in their own beds.  We co-sleep, and have from the beginning.  It works for me especially with nursing (and I love it).  However, the kids don't go to sleep in our beds right away.  I would always rock or nurse them to sleep and they would go in their cribs first.  This would give Garet and I a few hours alone before there was a kid (or kids) separating us at night.    

3) We always eat dinner together.  Sometimes it's a little rushed.  Sometimes I'm getting up and down from the table so much ("can I have a napkin", "can I have more water", "is there any hot sauce"), it seems I'm not actually eating with them.  But it's the one time during the day, I'm guaranteed time with my husband. We sit across from each other and I'm reminded even though our roles are different, we are working together to raise the children God has blessed us with.  

4) We take drives.  Yep, we load all those little people in the car, strap them in with a snack in hand and drive.  We didn't have the luxury of living near family until a few months ago and because of our budget, babysitters were usually out of the question.  There have been many, many, times when we've gotten into an argument and feeling very distant from each other, Garet would suggest a drive. A Starbucks coffee (for him) and hot chocolate (for me), music, and the opportunity to talk without interruption.  Even if we weren't ready to talk to one another because emotions were high (usually mine), just sitting close to one another and holding hands was enough.  And yes, even if I didn't want to hold his hand at first, it wouldn't be long before I was thankful I did.    

5) We get outside as much as we can. We walk, we hike, we camp, and we picnic.  The earth is filled with beauty that will engage the kids' curiosity.  That gives Garet and I not only a chance to talk while we watch the little ones explore, but also a bond through the memories we are making together. We're catching our breath away from the laundry, dishes, and appointments that go along with life. It's refreshing.  

Make your spouse a priority in any way that you can.  It may not be weekend trips without kids or date nights every week, but make an effort to connect in small ways daily.  It is obviously good for your marriage, but it's also important for your whole family.