Dating Your Spouse- Why You Should Put Your Marriage Before Your Kids

Want to know one of my top marriage tips?

You need to be dating your spouse.

This can be a highly controversial issue in the mommyverse.  Keyboard warriors clutch their pearls when they read blog posts like this.  I mean, our kids are supposed to be our entire world, aren’t they?

That’s the notion we, as women, are practically born with. It’s innate, down to the fibers of our soul, and if we don’t agree… Well, I guess that says a little about the kind of mother we must be. Marriage is supposed to come second, of course.

Sorry, but as I typed that last sentence, my eyes rolled pretty far into the back of my head. 

Because it’s just not true. When kids enter the picture, we can’t use that as an excuse to put our marriage on the back-burner.

Keep reading to find out my best marriage tips that I’ve learned over the past 10 years.

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The truth about marriage

I’m gonna drop a truth bomb.  These little bundles of joy that we would throw ourselves in front of a bus for wouldn’t even exist without our partner. (I am not taking into account single parents who use sperm/egg donors.  I am specifically speaking to couples who have biological children together, which I’m guessing fits the majority of circumstances.)

Again, without your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend, that beautiful baby that you are told you are supposed to put first would not even exist without the genetic material of your partner. I think that is pretty damn awesome, and many times we don’t give our partners enough credit.

As soon as kids enter the picture, we get so caught up in the parenting gig.  Marriage kind of takes a back seat. Diapers, bottles, bed times, laundry… Oh, the laundry… Play dates, school plays, school projects. It is so easy to let parenthood become the biggest part of your life.  Sometimes, it can be so time-consuming and heart-consuming that we find ourselves neglecting the person who gave us that child to love in the first place.

Last weekend, my husband and I went out of town for the weekend.  We went to Chicago and stayed in a nice hotel.  We ate meals we didn’t have to share bites of.  Parenting win: we even turned off our alarm clocks. We watched crap TV without being worried about what the kids will repeat. We met David Tennant. (True story!)

c2e2, david tennant, dating your spouse

Questions you as a skeptic might have

  1. Didn’t you miss your kids?
  2. Do you worry that they might wonder why they didn’t go with?
  3. What if they were upset?

My answers

  1. Yes, of course.  But we both needed to get away.  My husband works a lot and I, well, am a mother of two small children. I am with them all day and any mother that reads this knows how draining that can be.  We are like a smart phone. Full of awesome potential, but if it doesn’t get charged occasionally, it’s not going to work right.
  2. Not really.  Ours are probably too young to ask questions.  As they get older, it’s possible they might ask questions.  But I will tell them the same thing I’m about to tell you: When my girls are adults (if they decide to have children), I want them to know that they are more than mothers. They are them. They were whole, entire, wonderful people before those children entered the world.  That sense of self demands regular maintenance so it doesn’t get lost in a pile of dirty laundry.
  3. I’m guessing they weren’t.  They were getting spoiled by grandma.

We had a blast!  We had the chance to be Jen and Ken. Not just Mama and Dada, and Butt-wiper, and Paycheck-bringer-homer, and Food-cooker, and Channel-changer, and Snuggle-buddy, and Bedtime-enforcer. We were us. That is invaluable.  Truly.  You cannot put a price on that.

Things to remember about marriage

Being a parent is so incredible.  I could not put into words the love I have for my children.  It has made me a better person, and that love is deeper than I thought humanly possible.  But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t get to know what that love feels like if not for my husband. Our relationship needs to be nurtured just as much as our children do.  If you do not nurture your children, there is a part of them that does not develop properly, and is irreversibly damaged.  The same is true for your relationship.

Repeat after me: I will nurture my relationship.  I will nurture my relationship.

It doesn’t take a lot of time or money.  Give yourself a goal of once a month if time is tight. Get yourself a sitter for 3 hours once a month.  I think that is something all couples can manage.  If not, think about how you spent your time over the course of last month.  What can you cut out so that you can make your relationship a priority just once every 30 days? Can you cut out one Netflix binging session for the sake of your marriage?

Date night ideas

Are you bored of the typical dinner and a movie? Try one of these ideas instead:

  • Weather permitting, go on a picnic and then swing on the swings at the park
  • Walk around an art museum
  • Try an Escape Room
  • Go to a Wine and Paint class
  • Go to the zoo
  • Put on a movie at home, put it on mute and make your own dialogue

There really are so many options.  The question is: Can you let go of an idea that is so deeply culturally ingrained, and re-align your thinking? Your relationship will thank you.

marriage tips

Looking for a way to reconnect with your spouse? I highly recommend the book “The 5 Love Languages.” It has been integral in my understanding of the way my husband thinks I also recommend a good book about the Enneagram. (Any Enneagram fans out there? I am a 4w5!)

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

marriage advice

Are you dating your spouse? When was your last great date? What did you do? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure you share the post.

Follow this advice, and say bye bye to many common marriage problems!

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Using positive affirmations with children

Anxiety in children: Is your child more nervous than they should be?

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Marriage advice from someone married to their total opposite

19 thoughts on “Dating Your Spouse- Why You Should Put Your Marriage Before Your Kids”

  1. I love this post because, yes you love your children but if we focus mostly on them and not our relationship. Are we forgetting that children grow up and have their own lives?
    Fondly, a balance is important.

  2. Yaaaaaaaasssss!!! I am so happy I read this. Between my boyfriend and I, we have 4 children. ALL teenagers (3 teenage girls…please send prayers/positive thoughts/whatever you can)! There is always something going on that we need to care of. Literally last week, we noticed that things were starting to “feel weird” between us. Come to find out, we had not been pouring any time into OUR relationship. So we told the kids we needed some time just to ourselves (quite frankly they are all old enough to fend for themselves). It was so amazing and it worked wonders for us. That foundational relationship MUST come first. Great read!!

    1. Thank you! I appreciate the kind words! Tots and pears for the teenage girls lol. But glad you can take some time aside. Thanks for reading!

  3. I absolutely agree that we should continue to date our spouse. We don’t have any kids at home but we still schedule dates. We recently bought an old 1990 Ford truck to use around the farm. It has a bench seat and I love sitting in the middle next to my husband like we did in high school. It is so intimate!

  4. Great tips! My husband and I try to make a point of having a date night once a week, scheduling it into our calendar the same way that we would appointments or work commitments. Why? Because we recognize that it should be seen as just as important! Sure, right now it’s not quite the same, but even a ‘date night’ at home or going for a walk together can really help to nurture your relationship – especially at a time where tensions are often running high from being stuck together in the house 24/7 lol

  5. If you put your marriage second then you risk losing touch with your spouse which in the long run, can be detrimental to your kids. Thank you for sharing this and showing that marriage and the relationship between both parties are just as important as kids.

  6. Great post. Me and my partner have managed to get a way for a few days on a couple of occasions, and it is so important. That’s been more difficult in recent years for different reasons, but even just getting half a day to go and do something on your own is great for you as a couple and as a person yourself.

  7. Pingback: Dating Your Husband Again for the First Time - Chronically Caffeinated Mom

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