Parenthood will test even the strongest marriage on many levels, both for better and for worse. From the long, sleepless nights and the constant crying of newborns to the defiance, tantrums, and struggles that unfold from preschool through high school, kids often challenge their parents and that, in turn, can strain a marriage. Here’s to help you stay happily married and strongly united:
1. Support each other
Back each other up is the secret always. When kids get a ‘no’ from one parent, kids will often try to wheedle a ‘yes’ from the other parent. So, try to be a united front. This will help keep your relationship with each other stronger and happier.
2. Be accepting
Accept differences in your partner. No two people will ever parent exactly the same way -- and that's OK. In fact, it's beneficial, because we each bring unique strengths and perspectives to the job of parenting. So, try not to correct or direct each other’s parenting methods and value the benefits of your partner’s differences.
3. Plan time together (no kids)
Keeping a strong marriage requires taking care of ourselves as people. We encourage you to set a regular “date night” once a week. But be aware: this is not a time to discuss finances or heavy-duty difficult situations or entertain others. Date nights should be a time devoted to having fun together and enjoying each other.
4. Treat yourself well
It’s also crucial to make take time for yourself. Everyone needs space, but parents especially can get overextended. There are great activities that can improve the self: reading that favorite book, taking a long nap, gardening, walking out the dog, or talking on the phone with your best friends.
5. Get your Zs:
In two different test groups, a University of California Berkeley study published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science in May 2013 reported a direct link between poor sleep and increased conflict in marriages. The better you sleep, the better you get along. So be sure to rest up no matter how exhausting your kids are!
Do you have any advice to keep your marriage strong and happy?