Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Marriage: keeping it first.

I never thought this would be a struggle once we had kids. We talked about it countless times before we were ready to start our family, and always spoke about how obvious it was to us to keep our marriage first, set date nights, etc. We wanted our kids to see that while they consumed most of our time, that our world would not revolve around them. And then sweet Penny came along, and we realized how incredibly intentional we would have to be to ensure that happened.

Having kids changed our relationship so much, and we had to relearn what worked for us in terms of putting each other first and giving the time we each needed, and wanted. During our time together, we found ourselves talking about the 938 cute things she did that day, the 1 bad thing she did (okay okay, that ratio isn't accurate, but we'll pretend), the "did I discipline her correctly?" "did she eat enough healthy things today?" "did I handle that situation correctly?" "has she had enough interaction with other kids this week?" questions that I go through in my mental checklist every day (I'm so not a list person, but those thoughts and questions plague me now!) Being home with her each day, and having her be my "job" seems to amplify it for is literally all on me during the day to keep the ball rolling with her, ensure every need is met, and make sure I'm encouraging her the way she needs to be. But I can't just leave my "work" at the office. It can be hard. 

My pregnancy with Penelope overlapped with Fathers Day. For David's gift, I reached out to our families and asked them to write down some words of encouragement for David before he began fatherhood. Once I had collected them all, I put them into a book, along with pictures of David with these family members (and some grandparents and great grandparents!) and had it printed. He absolutely loved it.

David, can I tell them that you teared up? He totally teared up.

One part stuck out to us quite a bit, though (I mean, other than ALL of it). In my dads note, he wrote the following:

"you have already given your children the greatest gift of all, that of loving their mother" 

That really touched both of us. And, again, reinforced how important it is for us to stay unified, and to put each other first. Not only for ourselves and for each other, but for our children. They need to see what a loving husband looks like, what a loving wife looks like, what a healthy marriage looks like. These things are our motivation to keep each other first. We try to laugh with each other at least once a day (so far so good. He's so lucky I'm funny). We have regular dates, and try to connect doing something together when she's down for the night. We do try to be so intentional about it, and I think we will always have to be intentional, but it absolutely pays off. Can I get an amen?

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