Family holding hands in grass

Being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life, but it's not easy. Having children will permanently change your marriage.

When you try to take a nap, quiet time is filled with crying. When you plan a date with your spouse, a child will inevitably get sick. When you finally have time alone together, you are too exhausted to do anything. This list could go on and on.

The relationship between you and your spouse takes higher priority than your relationship with your children. It is very difficult to be a good parent unless your marriage is strong.

Here are 10 ways you can strengthen your marriage, even with kids at home.

1. Pursue your spouse's heart

People are constantly evolving. Even your spouse's habits, likes, and dislikes will change over time. Though you are busy raising a family, never forget to pursue the heart of your spouse. Learn how they have changed over the years. Learn about their newly developed fears and wishes. Allow them the opportunity to open up to you and choose to fall in love all over again.

2. Develop compassion for your spouse's greatest weakness

It's easy to dwell on the mistakes of the past and forget that tomorrow is a new day. If your spouse has fears about raising a child, there are a few steps you can take to support them:

  • Be patient and understanding

  • Pray for them

  • Reflect on your own mistakes to empathize with your spouse

  • Refrain from negative words or sarcasm

3. Kiss and compliment your spouse throughout the day

Your children want to see you the minute you get home from work and the second they come home from school. That's a great thing! However, make sure your children also see you greet your spouse. Little things like hand holding, cuddling on the couch, or saying "I love you" often will let your children know their parents love each other. These little actions will slowly and steadily strengthen your marriage.

4. Put money aside for vacations and babysitters

Going on vacation or just having an evening out is not cheap when you have children. Make sure to add a category within your budget for dates and vacations so you won't need to skip out on a date just because of finances. Having alone time as a couple is just as important as having time for your children.

5. Send a text throughout the day

A simple text shows your spouse you are thinking of them. Tell him jokes, send her funny pictures of the kids, and say 'I love you' or 'I miss you' or 'I can't wait to see you tonight'. This type of communication is actually very effective and is a pick me up throughout the day.

6. Exercise together

If your children are old enough (or if they sit well in a stroller) you can include them in some couple time. Make sure your marriage has a hobby both you and your spouse enjoy. Walking, hiking, playing soccer, weight lifting, etc means a lot more if you are doing it with someone you love. The time together will also help strengthen your relationship as a couple, and as a family.

7. Plan intimacy

This may sound like it will take away the 'fun' or the 'romance' of it all, but planning some time for intimacy shows you are committed to that aspect of your marriage. Intimacy is a vital aspect of any marriage and needs to be there even when you have children.

8. Read together

If you are religious, don't neglect to read the Bible together. Your spirituality can grow together as a couple when you study as a couple. Remind yourselves of the vows you made together in marriage. If you aren't religious, choose to take a class or read a book together to help strengthen your relationship.

9. Take interest in your spouse's daily life

Even if you do not know a thing about your spouse's career, try to understand. Ask your honey how work went and ask how they are struggling. Offer to help where you can. If your spouse stays at home during the day, find ways to help out and show you care about them.

10. Turn the TV off

It feels amazing to just relax after a long day. Though it's easy to just turn on the television, try to relax with your spouse without the big screen. After the children are asleep, considering playing a quiet board game, reading a book together, cuddling, or just talking about life.

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