Author Topic: invest in your marriage  (Read 6758 times)

ilsy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 57
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #100 on: December 05, 2018, 10:54:12 PM »
Didnít read every post- but kids will put a hurtin on a marriage faster than anything else in my observations. My advice is donít have em 😁

If you already do, I got nothing

Great advice :)

@ilsy, that's a terrible example if you're trying to discredit the quoted post lol.
If I didn't have the kids, my marriage wouldn't have lasted as long as it did. Can't figure out what's terrible about it.

Can you explain?  This has me very curious.  I find that sort of mystifying, unless you mean that a marriage that otherwise should have (and maybe did) end, lasted longer because you held out for the kids.
Yep, exactly that. My marriage lasted longer because we had kids together.

rubybeth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1364
  • Location: Midwest
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #101 on: December 06, 2018, 07:27:21 AM »
Didnít read every post- but kids will put a hurtin on a marriage faster than anything else in my observations. My advice is donít have em 😁

If you already do, I got nothing

Great advice :)

@ilsy, that's a terrible example if you're trying to discredit the quoted post lol.
If I didn't have the kids, my marriage wouldn't have lasted as long as it did. Can't figure out what's terrible about it.

Can you explain?  This has me very curious.  I find that sort of mystifying, unless you mean that a marriage that otherwise should have (and maybe did) end, lasted longer because you held out for the kids.
Yep, exactly that. My marriage lasted longer because we had kids together.

The reason people are saying that having kids to save a marriage is bad advice is that "staying together for the kids" is a common reason to extend marriages that would otherwise be "over" in normal circumstances. Length of marriage isn't the goal--a HAPPY (or at least non-stressful), long marriage is the goal.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12309
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #102 on: December 06, 2018, 07:38:38 AM »
YMMV on that.  The 11 years that my wife and I were first together were significantly easier for the relationship and much less stressful than the five after we had my son.  I'd say that having a kid has been the single worst decision we've ever made for our relationship.

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #103 on: December 06, 2018, 07:50:29 AM »
YMMV on that.  The 11 years that my wife and I were first together were significantly easier for the relationship and much less stressful than the five after we had my son.  I'd say that having a kid has been the single worst decision we've ever made for our relationship.

Apologies if I'm assuming too much, but I really feel for people who pull the "difficult child" straw on their first kid. I can only imagine if my youngest was instead my oldest, she probably would have been both. I love her to death, but she has made life a difficult road compared to the other kids.

elaine amj

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2674
  • Location: Ontario
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #104 on: December 06, 2018, 08:04:00 AM »
Challenging kids are just hard and can be such a drain on your energy. My first has been generally easy while my second has always needed more effort and energy. And yes, DH and I sure fight more over him as we struggle to figure out the best ways to help our boy. Oh well, pushes us to improve our marital communication skills ;)

Sent from my LG-K373 using Tapatalk


englishteacheralex

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1381
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Honolulu, HI
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #105 on: December 06, 2018, 08:12:21 AM »
Some stuff that has worked for us (married 5 years):

1. Strong community surrounding us that provides a lot of emotional and logistical support. We live far from family (this is actually generally a good thing) but we have a lot of very close friendships with people in many different stages of life. We invest in these relationships as much as possible.

2. Shared religious faith and sense of purpose--this helps in many ways, including the biggies, like what to do with our money and time. It also unites us and makes us feel like our marriage is about more than just us.

3. Commitment to putting our marriage above our kids (we have a four year old and a two year old); we try to make sure we spend the night away from them in a hotel at least once a year. We do a lot of babysitting swaps with our community and all the families with kids are committed to helping each other out in this way. Marriage over children is a shared philosophy for all of us. If any couple is getting to that red line of starting to hate each other because of the lack of work/life balance getting too horrible, another couple will jump in and give the stressed couple a break. Again--community is very important to us.

4. I picked a good guy. I had to wait a long time for him, but he was worth it. We fight sometimes but I've come to appreciate the fighting because it means things are going to get real, which is extremely important. Simmering resentment is bad. More and more I just want to come out with what's bugging me and I want to hear the bad news about what's bugging him. Fight, get mad, flare up (no hitting below the belt), slam the door, and then kiss and make up (maybe the next day; "don't go to bed angry" doesn't work for me because going to bed is usually a huge help. For me it's more like..."don't go to bed with simmering resentment that you're being passive-aggressive about"). Thankfully my guy fights well. I trust him to listen even if he disagrees. Same with me. We've learned that both of us kind of suck sometimes but we both want the best for each other ultimately.

koshtra

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
  • massage therapist, database guy, worder
    • Mole
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #106 on: December 06, 2018, 08:43:52 AM »
My wife and I got together when I was 17 and she was 20; we got married six years later, in 1981, and we're still married. So that makes... what? 37 years, or 43, depending on how you count.

It's hard to say anything categorical about how to invest in your marriage. It depends on who you both are and what you both need. For us the critical investment was designated time together -- a day of the week that's dedicated to hanging out together, and usually to getting outdoors together. "Going out and looking at a tree" is what we call it. Of course sometimes it ends up being something really exciting like going out and getting our flu shots together. Life impinges. But we usually get out to look at our tree. Usually we make love, or at least read aloud and cuddle, on that day.

But as I say, that's us and what we need. At critical junctures marriage counseling has been a godsend.

The main piece of advice I've got is: ask, and ask again. Ask what's going on with your partner. Ask what they want that they're not getting. Ask what they like in bed (it's scarcely credible to me, but I have it on good authority that many people actually don't know what their partners like. It's your job to know this. It's not necessarily your job to deliver it, but you really need to know it.) Keep asking and listening. It's easy to think you know what's going on, but you always know less than you think you do. Always. And the only way to find out is to ask and to listen. Practice follow-up questions like "tell me more about that?" And "what's that like?" Because generally the first time you ask, people just say what they think you want to hear, or what you should hear. It's the second or third ask that actually starts to unearth information :-)

Try to keep the asking and finding out separate from negotiating solutions. Solutions will emerge if you know what the problems actually are. But conduct your fact-finding missions first, before you try to fix anything.

Tass

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 883
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #107 on: December 06, 2018, 09:59:41 AM »
Commitment to putting our marriage above our kids.

I'm curious about this one. I've sort of grown up with the cultural idea that I shouldn't have kids unless/until I'm ready to put them before everything else in my life. But I've heard the above statement from more than one reliable source - and I have neither kids nor a marriage, so I probably should be listening! Can you elaborate?

@koshtra's advice sounds fantastic.

rubybeth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1364
  • Location: Midwest
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #108 on: December 06, 2018, 10:57:10 AM »
Commitment to putting our marriage above our kids.

I'm curious about this one. I've sort of grown up with the cultural idea that I shouldn't have kids unless/until I'm ready to put them before everything else in my life. But I've heard the above statement from more than one reliable source - and I have neither kids nor a marriage, so I probably should be listening! Can you elaborate?

@koshtra's advice sounds fantastic.

Basically, once you have a child, you tend to put their happiness/wellbeing first, above even your own. But if your marriage suffers because of not prioritizing it or putting enough time into that relationship, then your kid suffers because of unhappily married parents. So if you prioritize your spouse, and your kid sees that love/respect/friendship in the marriage, it's better for the kid, and it's better for your relationship. Basically, the thing about continuing to "date" and "woo" your partner is good for kids, too. And if you have a healthy marriage, your kid will likely end up with healthy attachment. Reduce adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by having a healthy marriage!

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #109 on: December 06, 2018, 12:06:18 PM »
Commitment to putting our marriage above our kids.

I'm curious about this one. I've sort of grown up with the cultural idea that I shouldn't have kids unless/until I'm ready to put them before everything else in my life. But I've heard the above statement from more than one reliable source - and I have neither kids nor a marriage, so I probably should be listening! Can you elaborate?

@koshtra's advice sounds fantastic.

I think there's a better way to put it than "putting the marriage before the kids". I think it is kind of offensive to the children and misrepresents the differences between the relationship with your spouse versus the relationship with your kids. Ultimately, spouse and kids are equally important and both need attention in their own ways in order to keep healthy relationships.

On the other hand, I think an important piece of advice might be "put the marriage and the kids before the money".

englishteacheralex

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1381
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Honolulu, HI
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #110 on: December 06, 2018, 01:31:38 PM »
Ok, maybe reframe "marriage above kids" as a more practical set of examples.

1. Kids' discretionary activities do not overwhelm the calendar to the point where spouses don't have much time together.

2. Kids are trained not to interrupt spousal conversations.

3. Any spousal disagreements re: the kids are voiced away from the kids' hearing; in view of the kids spouses are a 100% united team/monolith.

4. Kids go to bed at 7 pm because we like having a couple of hours at night to hang out without them. Also, kids take a two hour nap every afternoon so that we have time to ourselves. If the kids don't want to nap, that's fine, but they have to stay in their rooms and amuse themselves quietly. We trained them to do this. 

5. More theoretical explanation: I see my kids as ships passing in the night. I love them and I'm glad they're here, but they are not the permanent relationship--the relationship with my husband is permanent. Not that I don't hope to have a relationship with my kids for my whole life; more that I know that that relationship will grow and shift and change over time. To clarify...I delight in my children but not to the point where I prefer them to my spouse. I love them but they aren't a source of comfort and support the way that he is. If we're on a date, we intentionally talk about each others' lives/hopes/dreams/fears, not so much stuff to do with our kids.

Kids are inherently massive vortexes of time, attention, energy, and money. So it's important to have intentional boundaries with them or they will suck you dry. It's not their fault--that's how they are wired. They NEED limits. They need to know that they are not at the center of the household. And I need an adult to be my main relationship in life.

I got all this through a lot of reading and conversations with older married couples. Also, I'm a teacher, so having good boundaries with kids has been my life for the past 16 years.

Boofinator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #111 on: December 06, 2018, 07:17:43 PM »
That's a pretty legit set of rules. And I'm jealous you have kids who go to bed by 7. (All of our kids are good going to bed by about 8:30, except for the "problem child" who will not go to bed until we do, will not sleep anywhere but our room, and wakes up constantly throughout the night. It has been an exceptionally rough past three years.)

englishteacheralex

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1381
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Honolulu, HI
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #112 on: December 06, 2018, 07:58:59 PM »
We are extremely lucky, or at least we have been so far. Our kids are pretty typical. Can be fairly rascal-ly and definitely have their share of night wake-ups, but they've always responded well to all the stuff I've learned about boundaries with kids, and I also have had enough experience with kids to know not to take that for granted or consider it as evidence of our amazing and superior parenting.


elaine amj

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2674
  • Location: Ontario
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #113 on: December 06, 2018, 10:07:07 PM »
We are extremely lucky, or at least we have been so far. Our kids are pretty typical. Can be fairly rascal-ly and definitely have their share of night wake-ups, but they've always responded well to all the stuff I've learned about boundaries with kids, and I also have had enough experience with kids to know not to take that for granted or consider it as evidence of our amazing and superior parenting.
I was such a superior parent with my first :)  Boy did the tables turn on me with #2 who did not sleep through the night until ~8 YEARS and was definitely not a sit-quietly-during-circle-time kid!

I agree that kids will suck every ounce of energy out if u let them. Not good in the long run.

So yes, kids are very very important and if u do decide to have kids, u need to commit yourself to raising them. Their basic needs will take priority over your wants. But their wants do not and should not.

If u are a loving parent, it is easy to get consumed by their needs and wants and just see yourself and your spouse as parents. But we are people too and have needs and wants of our own too.

Sent from my LG-K373 using Tapatalk


ilsy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 57
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #114 on: December 06, 2018, 11:13:13 PM »
I am going to guess that couples trying to "put marriage above kids" have small kids who do require some time because they are not independent enough to take care of themselves. Which is understandable at this point of your life. My kids are 11 and 10, they are pretty independent, they can make food for themselves, they help showeling and mowing, dishes, laundry. I feel that I finally can get back that time that I have invested into them when they were little.

I love spending time with my kids, they are not a burden, it's very exciting to see what kind of person they shape up into. They provide not less support than my SO. When I get home after a very long day at work they make me a cup of coffee and a sandwich the way I like it (to be honest, I don't even know how to make drinks they like, it's been a while). I have great conversations, especially with the older one about books she reads, I actually recommend her books to read and she recommends some to me.
My kids are not on the way of my relationship with my bf, they respect him and they like that he makes me laugh,  they actually compete with him to make me laugh more, they do win sometimes because they know me better.
I think that when kids are older there is no need to choose who should get a priority because there is enough time for everyone.

Jtrey17

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #115 on: December 09, 2018, 08:05:15 AM »
That's a pretty legit set of rules. And I'm jealous you have kids who go to bed by 7. (All of our kids are good going to bed by about 8:30, except for the "problem child" who will not go to bed until we do, will not sleep anywhere but our room, and wakes up constantly throughout the night. It has been an exceptionally rough past three years.)
I had a Ďproblem childí who now sleeps in his bed and is a big boy. Iíd give anything for one more night of snuggling in my bed with him. Enjoy it while you can!!

deborah

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7860
  • Location: At Home
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #116 on: December 12, 2018, 12:58:00 AM »
SO and I have been together for 42 years. Or less if you take away the three years he was seconded to another country and I couldnít go, or the nine years he worked in another state, and drove seven and a half hours each way every second weekend to be with me.

But weíve been together all this time, have been retired together for many years, and we canít envisage being apart.

My rules.

You must be nice to one another.
You must trust one another.
You must laugh regularly with one another.

Everything else follows.

partgypsy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2447
Re: invest in your marriage
« Reply #117 on: December 12, 2018, 07:41:23 AM »
Ok, maybe reframe "marriage above kids" as a more practical set of examples.

1. Kids' discretionary activities do not overwhelm the calendar to the point where spouses don't have much time together.

2. Kids are trained not to interrupt spousal conversations.

3. Any spousal disagreements re: the kids are voiced away from the kids' hearing; in view of the kids spouses are a 100% united team/monolith.

4. Kids go to bed at 7 pm because we like having a couple of hours at night to hang out without them. Also, kids take a two hour nap every afternoon so that we have time to ourselves. If the kids don't want to nap, that's fine, but they have to stay in their rooms and amuse themselves quietly. We trained them to do this. 

5. More theoretical explanation: I see my kids as ships passing in the night. I love them and I'm glad they're here, but they are not the permanent relationship--the relationship with my husband is permanent. Not that I don't hope to have a relationship with my kids for my whole life; more that I know that that relationship will grow and shift and change over time. To clarify...I delight in my children but not to the point where I prefer them to my spouse. I love them but they aren't a source of comfort and support the way that he is. If we're on a date, we intentionally talk about each others' lives/hopes/dreams/fears, not so much stuff to do with our kids.

Kids are inherently massive vortexes of time, attention, energy, and money. So it's important to have intentional boundaries with them or they will suck you dry. It's not their fault--that's how they are wired. They NEED limits. They need to know that they are not at the center of the household. And I need an adult to be my main relationship in life.

I got all this through a lot of reading and conversations with older married couples. Also, I'm a teacher, so having good boundaries with kids has been my life for the past 16 years.

I really like this. It is easy to forget when you are in the eye of the storm of childrearing years. It is easy to make the kids take precedence.