I rarely go into marriage here… oh except my letter for Type A Wives married to Type B men. Oh and why Type A Women are Coldhearted. Parenting is hard in general, but with small children, it’s a greenhouse for tension.
Here are some tips compiled by my awesome and wise readers.
A while back I was having a much needed dessert date with a friend. We were talking about life, our kids, house stuff, and eventually got around to the subject of our marriages.
- pinpoint an issue
- draw out how it’s affecting you
- label what you don’t like about it
- determine areas of responsibility
- figure out how it’s showing up
- say what you’d rather happen
- brainstorm solutions
Both of us wanted to share what was on our hearts – our struggles – but neither of us wanted to bad mouth or seem like a complaining shrew.
After some minutes of veiled conversation and discussion, my friend said this…
“You know, my sister has always said after you have your first kid… you pretty much hate your spouse for like 5 years.”
We both had to laugh at that statement. Not because it’s actually funny, but because of how exaggerated and extreme it was. Still, we could see the mustard grain of truth.
The truth being… parenting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers is extremely intense and puts a lot of strain on a marriage.
Marriage Wisdom for Hard Seasons
“Always remember your spouse has your best at heart and that you’re on the same team.” Becky
“When we’re feeling disconnected, we have date nights at home. After the kids are in bed, we open a bottle of wine or make root beer floats and sit on the patio and talk. It’s been working so far!” Michelle
“Treat your guy like you would expect him to treat you. So if you think you need pampering, or attention then why not some kind words and attention/special treatment for him too?
Similarly if you expect him to respect you and treat you like a queen in a fight without using any abusive language, etc then keep in mind that a woman ought to-do the same.” Sumeet
“We also never discuss anything heavy about our relationship after 9 pm which is when we start to become tired and illogical and reactive. We agree to put the discussion on hold and try again the next day. Because we are Christ followers, we receive grace and give grace; that’s the most important part of marriage.” Diana
“The best marriage advice I ever received was from my uncle who has a great marriage. He took me aside and told me to expect and appreciate conflict. Then he said ‘If you both agree on everything, one of you is not necessary,’ I have appreciated that so often in my marriage.
That has helped me appreciate the fact that my husband is not a conflict avoider. He is a get it all out there on the table so we can look at it and get it fixed kind of a guy.
This works best for us because I am a grudge holder (ugly, but true), so a little positive conflict to get it all out there, get it fixed, then my grudge thing can’t kick in and make our marriage miserable.” Lucy
“My tip so far has been to make sure I have cooled off my anger first and thought through everything before we talk things out. When you are angry we end up saying mean and hurtful things. Every time I am overwhelmed with anger I pray to get calm.” Abigael
“My best marriage advice, being married to an internal thinker (as opposed to myself as a verbal thinker), is to speak, in as few words as necessary, “we have a problem. We need to talk about it.
Let’s think on it until after kids go to bed tonight, then let’s talk, okay?” This gives my internal-thinker husband time to internally think about what’s under the surface.
But, at the same time, he knows my expectation of discussion so he can prep for that. I also know, now, that he takes a looooong time to gather this thoughts when he’s speaking so I am careful to be patient when we talk.
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I have to really listen to him instead of just waiting for my turn to talk.” Erica
“Sometimes the thing that works best is “loving my enemy”. If I’m angry at him, I consider him, for the moment, the enemy in front of me that I have the opportunity to love.
So rather than trying to work out all the details of a problem we’re having, I just go to the store and spend $20 to make him a little care package of treats.
I wrap it up nicely and then write him a little card, thanking him for all he does. That in itself seems to make some problems evaporate without all the drama of conflict resolution. Or, if conflict resolution is necessary, it at least paves the way for a kind and respectful conversation.” Heather
“The best marriage advice I read just after getting married was to not get uptight about the not-so-good things that actually lead and contribute to the things you love about him/her. For example, if you love how fit and toned they are, you shouldn’t be upset for the time they spend at the gym.
Another personal example is, I love that my husband is the one that does the dishes in our house. I don’t love that I’ll pull dishes out of cupboards unclean occasionally. Because I appreciate that he does the dishes, I choose not to say anything and maybe just go the dishes a couple times myself to help me get over it.” Erin
“If my husband and I feel like we are about to get in an argument that could really become a bad situation, we both go to opposite rooms for half an hour or maybe a full hour. Once we’ve had a little time to pray or, for me, write in my journal, we come back calmly and talk about it.” Beth
“My husband can not stand being micromanaged, likely because he is a very intelligent and capable person. Unfortunately, I grew up in a household where my mother micromanaged everyone and everything.
I always swore I would never turn into her in this respect but early in our marriage I would do it unintentionally which drove my husband nuts. So in year two of our marriage we came up with the “What How Rule.”
On my end, I can tell him what to do or how to do something but not both. He in turn is happy to help with household projects.
And when I forget and start to micromanage instead of getting mad he simply mentions the What How Rule instead of telling me I’m being like my mother. Then we can both smile about the event and carry on with our project instead of getting silently ticked at each other.” Abby
“If the choice is between “do I tell him how angry I am?”or “do I speak kindly about things that are bothering me?” It’s got to be kindness.” Jacqui
“Every evening we set aside 30 minutes before bed to have ‘talk time’. We can hit on any issues with the kids or us, talk schedules or plan our next date night or just talk and dream a bit :)
Even if the rest of the day has been running around and we have hardly shared more than a brief kiss, the evening will conclude with just us and I can go to bed happy.” Jessie
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“Pretend you can see into the future and see yourselves still together and loving each other; and let the daily little things go.” Sterling
“Big help for us: voice your needs and ask about his. My husband has certain housework chores he would like taken care of in order to feel relaxed at home and doesn’t care about others.
We talk about our preferences and priorities and I’ve learned to honestly tell him what I need without making him guess and we are all much happier.
When I need time alone or help with a certain chore I just tell him. Also when I’m hormonal I ask him to remind me of that so I’m not beating myself up. So helpful.” Elizabeth
“When we do real talk we are putting all our feelings on the table and being completely honest with each other about how we feel about the various issues happening in our marriage.
We don’t tip toe around the other persons feelings because we believe that in order to grow together in our marriage, we have to truly be honest about how we are feeling…even if it is hard to hear.” HM