Practical ways to put your spouse before your kids. I’ve heard many times that in order to truly love your kids, you need to love your spouse first.
Your marriage needs to be a priority over your kids, and your children will benefit from seeing your love for one another and it will allow them feel safe in the family.
As Pope Francis says, marriage prep starts at birth! Our marriage is our children’s first marriage prep. Family is a school of love. As we say in our online marriage prep program, “The best way for children to feel loved is to see their father love their mother.”
But, if you’re like us and have 3 kids under the age of 5, it can be hard to put your spouse first because small children are very needy. In fact, even if you have older kids, it can still be hard to put your spouse first! So, I have asked the wisdom of people in my life to give some of their practical advice on how to put your spouse first when you have children. The first rule? Be intentional about it. Quality time together doesn’t just magically happen, it has to be made a priority.
Here are some practical ways to put your spouse first:
– Greet them when they walk in the door.
– Kiss and say “I love you” in front of the kids.
– Hold hands when walking places together.
– At night, shower together and share about your day
– Give each other a bath and a head massage.
– Back rubs
– Wake up 20 minutes earlier than your kids to share a cup of coffee, talk, pray before your day starts.
– Find a common hobby to do together
– Tell kids “Go in the other room and play for twenty minutes. Mommy and Daddy are having time together” and set the timer.
– Write notes in lunch, send love texts to each other. Let them know you are thinking about them when you are not around.
– Take a walk together.
– Record music together
– Have kid free conversations. Google “conversation starters with your spouse” and have the list on hand. Or just go to The Catholic Communication Cure, and keep an evening per week for one of their talks.
– Schedule in date nights. Hire a babysitter and get out of the house on occasion. We have heard it said, “A good babysitter is cheaper than marriage counseling!” Or, have date nights in. Again, be intentional about what you might do and at what time you will start. Make it a priority to put away distractions and not do chores and really see yourselves on a date. Play board games, do a puzzle, bake together, watch a bible study.
This is not an exhaustive list so get creative and use your imagination! Just put your marriage as a priority over your kids. A wise priest once told a mother who felt disconnected from her husband “Having kids is not a sacrament, but marriage is.” It helped her to remember to refocus her energies into her marriage in order to receive more grace. And of course it ends up benefitting the kids as well!