My marriage has been through every up and down imaginable. Over the last 13 years my partner and I have overcome so much, including the struggles of maintaining a solid relationship while raising two beautiful children. I'm not always sure how "successful" our partnership is, but when I look at the babies we created together I can't help but reflect on how we've made and sustained our family. Of all the parenting decisions that say good things about your marriage, I think my partner and I have managed to incorporate as many of them as possible into the choices we make on a daily basis. I mean, we're still going strong and our kids are amazing. We must be doing something right, right?
Motherhood wasn't something I just knew how to do, and it's taken years to feel the slightest bit of confidence in what I'm doing when it comes to my children. At the end of the day, though, when my husband and I have tucked the kids in and we settle on the couch to think over the day's events, I'm grateful. I'm also pretty proud.
Our children are still fairly young, and there's definitely time for things to go south I'm sure, but, for now, the decisions we've made in our family's best interest seem to benefit us as much as they benefit our children. Even during financial struggles, long-distance moves, heartbreaking pregnancy losses, and all the in-betweens, my partner and I are still here. We're still happy, together, and hopeful for whatever each day brings. On that note, here's just some parenting decisions that say good things about your marriage:
You Enforce Rules As A Team
Remaining a strong, united front against our children's demands and mess-ups is a challenge. This is especially true when our oldest tries to pit us against one another with the old, "Mom said I could," when I didn't say she could. We're not always on the same page with how to dole out consequences, but it's important our kids think we are.
As a result, we find our relationship tested but stronger because of it. If we can figure out how to parent effectively — together — we can do anything.
You Schedule Everything
My husband and I have always kept our children on a pretty tight schedule. We do this for a few reasons (one being that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and time is a major obsession), but the biggest reason to stick to a plan is so that when bedtime rolls around, my partner and I can actually get time to be a couple without our kids in our faces.
I work from home so I'm with them all day, but we've also always managed an "early-to-bed, early-to-rise" routine that works for us. Outsiders aren't always fans of how we do things, but our children are well-rested and my marriage is stronger for making couple time a priority.
You Check-In Regularly
I check in with how my 10-year-old daughter is doing on a regular basis throughout the day, as well as my 5-year-old son. Their moods can shift on a dime and for no discernible reason, so I try to stay on top of it. I'm the same with my husband. It's important the four of us stay connected, and I hope my kids — and my marriage — are better because of it.
You Restrict Screen Time
Our family, like a lot out there, has been plagued by electronics. They run our lives from the moment we wake, to just before we close our eyes for the night. We live in a technology-driven age so it's easy to fall into the trap of, "I'm only going to be on my phone a few minutes," only to look up and realize an hour has flown by.
Recently we've implemented a "no electronics" rule at the dinner table and after 7:00 p.m because, yes, it was starting to be a problem. My kids weren't thrilled at first, and they're still dealing, but it's important to lay down some boundaries and then do the work to maintain them. Not only has it given us more face-to-face time to catch up, but I think it's helped improve our relationships in general because we're talking more.
You Make Quality Time For Everyone
We just moved our family out-of-state after my husband transferred jobs. We knew this would be a prime opportunity to grow our relationships with our children as individuals, because we're all dealing with the newness of living somewhere we've never been before. My partner and I spent one-on-one time with each child before the move, and now there's more things to do as a family, and with each child, than there were in our previous location.
My husband and I are confident that, after we get adjusted, we can grow closer to our children separately as well as together. As far as our marriage goes, I know when I see my husband doting on our kids I feel all warm and fuzzy, and I hope he feels the same about me.
We've always been an affectionate family. I think being so open and loving with our children reflects on the kind of relationship my husband and I have. Even on the days when I'm at my wit's end and the kids have driven me to a desperate place, I know I can turn to my husband and he'll be there to pick up where I've left off.
You Encourage Independence
My partner and I have two different types of kids. One is somewhat clingy, while the other (our oldest) wants to do everything on her own. We're trying to get our youngest to model the same, because in their independence I see the things my husband and I have done right.