During every single one of my Abundant Mama class sessions, the topic of marriage comes up strongly.
Hundreds of moms around the world who are busy raising kids and leading a busy life sign up because they think they need to be better mothers — and many stay on that focus, for sure. But some learn pretty quickly that their struggle to feel happy has more to do with their marriage than their children.
Marriage is the one area busy moms often carry the most resentment and guilt around.
In fact, busy moms really want to talk about marriage because it’s a big part of their life — even more than raising children or finding time for themselves or getting all the things done.
And we blame parenthood when it’s not always parenthood to blame.
There are many reasons why our marriages suffer. Children shouldn’t ever carry the blame for our own shortcomings. After all, children require great skill and care to raise well and they deserve our attention.
But they also deserve to see us modeling good boundaries around our needs as well.
When I began working as a family wellness coach five years ago, I never dreamed my work would become as much about marriage and relationships as it was about motherhood and parenting.
But it has because being married often feels harder than raising children. Some might even say it is harder. And being parents trying to co-parent together and live together and be independent together is a real struggle.
In my work with moms who are trying to be their best possible selves, one thing is true: Marriage truly impacts us just as much as our children do.
And when we get it right it feels good and we bloom and prosper.
And when we get it wrong?
Partners hurt. Kids hurt. Families hurt.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching Abundant Mamas use their tools on their marriages and turn things around. For some it just took a little work. For others, it took a lot more time and effort.
But one thing is very clear.
When it comes to building a healthy marriage, we see growth in the areas of our lives where we put our love and attention. And for many of us in the early years of parenting that means on our children.
Knowing how and when to make that shift into a new direction is the key to a healthier marriage.
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Marriage isn’t just sex
As we are creating our families, it’s often the case where we see a path before us that many others have traveled and we travel it without thinking about the big picture outcome. We get married. Have children. Raise the children. Do the work. Keep the house. Caravan to all the activities.
We lose sight of those first days of dating when we see ourselves bursting with love and passion.
Instead, we feel lucky if we get a few minutes of quiet time for ourselves. (And that goes for both moms and dads.)
But often what is dead last on our list of to-dos is building a healthy relationship that feels good on many levels beyond intimacy.
And no, marriage isn’t about just sex even though that is probably the No. 1 conversation that is brought up because there’s a lot of baggage around being a mother and not having enough sex. And, by the way, no one seem so to know just how much IS enough, anyway.
A healthy marriage has many aspects to consider beyond intimacy.
We can create more healthy marriages by learning to understand what is absolutely important and essential to you and your partner and how to make time for building a healthy relationship.
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Sending Your Energy in a New Direction
When my daughters were born 11 and a half years ago, we definitely put more energy into our children than we did our marriage in the first several years.
First, there’s the great big responsibility of raising twin babies into toddlers into preschoolers into the school age kids they are right now.
Second, with little family support and my husband’s LONG commuting hours, and very little funds early on for babysitters, we honestly didn’t have the time or resources to build a healthy marriage beyond our home life and care-taking duties.
We regret not putting more time and energy into our marriage sooner, but we don’t regret all the good energy we put toward our blossoming girls who are the light of our lives and now much more independent.
Thankfully, for us, we didn’t let our marriage die out completely. Instead, we kept coming back together and regrouping over and over and over.
A couple years ago, though, we completely shifted gears and began putting a whole new energy into our marriage. We started hiring babysitters. We became more intentional with our free time and down time. We created weekly rituals that brought us together, even when the kids were home, which was most of the time.
We’re stronger and healthier than ever.
When it’s time to make a change
The real shift began with me.
I could sense that I wasn’t feeling totally happy and content in my marriage and I wasn’t sure how to get back on track beyond all the different roles I play each day.
Moms are often exhausted by the end of the day — too tired to give anything else to their partners or anyone else for that matter.
What changed things for me was simply adopting a more intentional mindset about my marriage and how I wanted and needed it to be right now and in the future.
I am not a marriage therapist or an expert, but I have worked with hundreds of busy, modern women who are literally trying to do it all, care for their children and themselves — and be good wives.
So I have been modeling how we can lead our Abundant Mama lives in a way that also allows for space and time to create abundant marriages.
And it’s working.
The Time is Now
The truth is that our children are watching.
And they are learning what marriage is through you.
So if you are miserable and in the Land of Bitter and Sour all the time, they will see that and pick up on that negative energy.
But if we model intentional partnerships that are healthy, successful and positive we’re teaching them marriage is important and vital to the family unit.
The time to act is right now. No matter your child’s age.
You are tired. You have too much to do and not enough time to do it.
That’s why I promote baby steps to make the kind of change you need and want to see. This is not some overnight magical cure.
This is messy, broken, scary and chaotic married life with kids.
Nothing’s easy, but with the right approach and mindset you can start to shift into a healthier marriage.
You can do it.
If you want it bad enough you can make it happen.
I created a FREE WORKSHOP to help you start on adopting a healthier and more intentional marriage mindset and philosophy. Join me LIVE or sign up to watch the replay. Register right now.