I listed a few tips in the series on having a Christ-centered marriage, but I want to go into more depth on how to important it is to prioritize your marriage…even when time is lacking. I totally agree that keeping a marriage strong and demonstrating the husband/wife importance is a must for working mothers. If you and your husband are on different pages or not putting each other first, I am certain you will have difficulties in balancing your other priorities. If your spouse is not putting you first, you still have the responsibility to pray over them and do everything in your power (with a happy heart) to put them first.
Some ways that I keep my marriage strong are talking to my husband in front of my kids, without interruption. I want my kids to notice that what he is saying is important to me. We ask them to wait their turn until we tell them we are done. This is often done impromptu whenever we decide that we need to communicate anything from weekend plans to handling tantrums. It is often a work in progress but they get the idea. Having dedicated couch time with your husband is another way to show kids that you are physically demonstrating the importance of your spouse.
Another way that my husband excels in showing me how important I am in front of the kids is by backing me up 100% of the time during discipline/instruction. It doesn’t matter if he wasn’t in the room when disobedience occurred or if I am asking some silly…if he hears me give an instruction, he expects obedience right away. This makes me feel honored and adored. It honestly unifies us more than I thought possible. Being on the same page while parenting is huge. We don’t always agree! However, supporting your spouse even if you would have done things slightly differently goes a long way in making them feel respected…which men need.
We also spend most of our time together after the kids go to bed. Sometimes it is just to watch tv, sometimes it is to do laundry, and sometimes it is to exercise or play card games. However, giving my husband space to play ultimate frisbee is totally the way to his heart. He comes back a different person, which makes me happy that he is so invigorated. So allow your husband to have his own time, too…no strings attached (most of the time! kidding!! kind of)
We also try to have date nights. Sometimes it is twice in one month and other times it is a few months apart. I agree it is hard…but I fully support having regular date nights. I think it is not only good for our marriage but good for our kids to have other people put them to bed. It also shows our kids that mommy and daddy need to be alone sometimes.
Now, where it gets hard is when you work different shifts. Thankfully this is not something I have to deal with but a few times a year. It is really tough when you know you need to make time for your marriage but you physically don’t have the time. I would also reevaluate your priorities every 6 months or so. Do the cons of working different schedules now outweight the pros? If not, then you just need to be a little creative. Maybe you can both take off a vacation day here or there for just the two of you. You can slip notes in his wallet or lunch bag or car telling him how special he is to you. You could send him cookies to his office. You could both read a marriage book and email each other your notes. Try to keep the time that you do have as a family as sacred and protected. Find your own traditions that work for your family, even if they’re a little out of the box.
How do you make your marriage stronger when there are time constraints? What tips do you have for couples that work different shifts?