In this episode, we talk about the danger of putting children before your spouse. Your spouse was there before the kids and we need to prioritize our marriage relationship. When we invest in our spouse, we are better able to be the best parents we can be.
Take a listen as we discuss what happens to our Marriage after Children.
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Amplified Marriage Married After Children
Bryan and Natalie Grant
Welcome to Episode 15 of amplified marriage today to talk about married after children.
Welcome to another episode of amplified marriage. My name is Natalie. I'm Bryan whatever time it is, grab a coffee or tea and a snack. get cozy because today we're talking about being married with
children. And not the sitcom. Yeah, no.
Although it does sometimes feel like a sitcom.
Yeah, it can work out. I'm moving into the heart of the podcast that we are wanting to get to eventually. But we're kind of just gonna delve just a little bit into it just about life after having children. Yeah, we have older kids now. 15, 13, 10.
That's why my lovely wife knows all those things. But we read a quote and really having children and being married and staying healthy in your marriage really depends a lot on your perspective. And a perspective that we were from a quote. Her name is Jacqueline Smith said
“After having children life becomes about living beyond yourself about being bigger than ever.”
Yeah, you may have heard us say on this podcast, and maybe you haven't, and I'm gonna say it now is that there's two times in your life when you realize how selfish you really are.
The first is when you get married. The second is when you have children.
So there's those two times when you get married and Natalie and I. We didn't live together before we got married. We had a place before we got married, which I lived
and I stayed at home. But then I had to move in, we got married, we moved in. And then we're living together in the same space having to share the same kitchen, the same bathroom, the same shower, the same bed, the same all this stuff. And I realized how entrenched in my ways when I wanted to watch TV, the shows that I wanted to watch or the books so when I wanted to read that when she won that, can you talk to me about your feelings and like 10 o'clock at night?
That hasn't changed? 19 years later?
No, I've just learned how to adapt to the change. But all of these things. You've realized how selfish you really are. Yeah. And then it's really easy to kind of get into a funk after you have kids.
Exactly. And I was thinking prior to having kids, you can sleep in whenever you want. Like you can have naps whenever you want. You can come and go as you please go to whatever restaurant you want, because it's just you too. And so you really, you don't realize the financial effects of having children
until you have them whenever it's just me and Natalie that goes over me and one of the kids, you one of my sons will go out and we'll have two full meals, and it was like 20 bucks. But if I take the whole kids out, even to McDonald's, yeah, it's like a $60 meal just to go to a fast food joint more for going to a regular restaurant. And so we were talking and there's five things that we want to talk about today about what happens after you have kids and how to just keep on truckin.
Yes, keep on going. It is a marathon. It's not a it's not a sprint.
No, it's definitely not a sprint. And so there's five things that we want to mention, just about keeping the romance alive or keeping you normal together after you've had kids and my kids are older, but I can tell you those early years of having children waking up changing diapers all hours of the night and doing all that stuff.
And that wasn't just infancy. Like, you know, there's one of those things like what you wish people would say, after having children that that they don't, it doesn't just stop, at least in our family, I'm sure there are those miracle children that sleep all through the night. From the moment they're born.
We don't know what they're like,
we don't know what those are like, we have three that did not sleep the night until they were well past a year old. And so it's not a one size fits all kind of, you know, one scenario fits the box. Yes, so to speak. So.
So all of you parents out there, the very first point that we have today, maybe a little bit countercultural. Yeah. Well, what we need you to hear this is if you want to maintain a happy marriage with your spouse while you are raising children. You never ever put your children first.
No, and that's something that we've been that's kind of been a model of Ours for years. Especially, like we started it when the kids were little when they could like when they could walk. Yeah.
Where every time that you would come home from work. The first 15 minutes. It was like for kids.It's mom and dad's couch time we call it couch time where dad would come in the door and then the kids would have to wait. And they knew we set a timer on the microwave. And mom got dad's full on first attention. And I will say that that wasn't the time to discuss the woes of the day. No.
Right to remember that where everyone used they would come in and you and your Let me tell you how my day was. Yeah, that moment there that couch time. That's not the time that we chose to talk about sort of the silly parts of the day.
Right. I remember whenRanon our oldest, was young, he would be up until nine or 10 o'clock at night. We just would keep them up with us for long periods of time. Keep them up late and then we realized this is ridiculous. He wasn't sleeping. I wasn't sleeping. You weren't sleeping. The neighbors weren't sleeping, because he was still up and then we found out he was colicky later. But the priority wasn't at all on our first child given to each other. We weren't even doing the coach time until Ranon was like five or six. That's right. But
there wasn't any time No, because he was because he needed more care. Yeah, as well as he was struggling with colicky behavior and stuff and he wasn't sleeping and he never slept. He would nap and then as soon as he sensed your shadow walking by or he could feel the breeze of you walking by he was awake through a closed door. Right and so and he cried a lot. And for hours, he would just scream and cry. And so we didn't have one, we were just survival mode. Yeah, at that time, so there wasn't a priority. It was like Eat, sleep and keep the baby alive, right?
kind of how it is you wake up at three in the morning. You see breathing. Oh, first parents first time parents now whenever we talk to them we're like we know what we feel exactly understand want to make sure they're breathing still well and and here's here's what ends up happening is it you focus all of your attention you're on your kids only as you're growing if you actually sacrifice your relationship with your spouse and you begin to not know them,
the tendency, the tendency is
You begin to not know them, you begin to maybe even resent them, because you're not communicating with them about the things you need to talk to them about. That's right, because you're not actually working on the relationship. You're not prioritizing the marriage. You're putting your kids who are innately born selfish and they suck up all of your time, all of your effort. Unless you have one of those magical children that sit in the middle of the carpet reading books at two years old. Yeah, which is not the majority. Now they eat up all of your time and we even forget your hobbies. Natalie loves to paint. And we have kids and we had her put painting off for years. I love playing guitar. And it wasn't till a few years after Ranon was born, they started picking up the guitar again and started playing for church. And,
and I mean, there are seasons Yeah, have that been flow because parenting in those early years of infancy is exhausting. And you know, you're dealing with postpartum hormones and nursing and body changes and trying to navigate like another human being and all like keeping them alive. And then it just, it just seems to have a domino effect, at least it can right have a domino effect. And so
don't neglect your spouse and prioritize your marriage.
That's right. And it's important that you don't wait to do that. When they're like going to college and moving out of the house. And
then you look at your spouse and you're like, I don't even know who you are. Right. I don't know what your hobbies are. I don't know.
Yeah, and that was a fear. of ours and like it's one that we've talked about for a long time, like our oldest is 15. So we've talked about this for a long time of just making sure that we nurture the priority of each other. Absolutely. And that time, yes. Obviously family time with the kids included is absolutely essential and important. But more so our time because healthy, if we're healthy, then then we're parenting healthy, right?
Yeah. And the next one is sex.
We hear this, oddly enough, a lot from couples, they had kids, and then all of a sudden sex stopped.
Yeah, , I mean, there obviously is a certain period of time where that has to stop after a baby comes by there's a recovery period. Yeah, there's definitely a recovery period and
like, you're, maybe I'll speak to the guys on this, like, Guys, your wife's body is gonna change. If you think that you're gonna marry you're the wife. of your youth, like the Bible says the wife of your youth, the woman of your youth, and in the next 25 years, nothing is going to change in that body. Especially after they have children. Yeah, you're crazy.
And we've said this before, love just isn't a feeling.
No, it's an action. And it's a choice.
And if you're not choosing to continue to find your wife attractive and find ways to find her still attractive, because seriously, the woman's body changes. And it's not like your super study where when you're 19 years old, either like I'm not the same build I was when I was 17. My mom always calls me too skinny. I'm a bit thicker now. And in my older years, we don't stay the same things change, you get gray hairs. Yeah, that your chest segues into your drawers or whatever it is like, whatever it is, but things change. But guys, in particular, because we're visual, you married your wife for a reason you love her. Yeah, it's not just the physical side of the lover if that if that's why you're married. Yeah, you got married just so you could have sex because you Beauty fades and but what's not gonna fade is you want to keep nurturing her personality and the nurturing who she is. That's right. You choose to stay attracted to each other.
And let's not forget that carrying another human in your body for nine months takes a toll, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, , it just all is a tool, right? And I mean, I loved being pregnant, even though they were difficult pregnancies. I absolutely loved being pregnant. I miss being pregnant. All these years later, I miss feeling the baby moving around. So there's joy in that little secret, right in growing that baby.
Right and, and here's the thing about sex. And this sounds really unsexy. But schedule it on Saturday night at 730.
Oh, we had to make an appointment.
Because, like if you wait too long, then you're tired too late at night. Yes. You better have Kids all day, you've had to work your job and you find excuses not to do it. But the thing is, what we found is that when you schedule that time in, that's what I'm thinking about during the day, like, I'm fired up and like, Oh, yeah, that's
and you're anticipating and you're nurturing that with your wife all day long, right? And so you're
flirting and you're sending maybe text messages and things that are going on, but you know, what's going to come down? And here's, here's something that we just read, as well is that consider it self care?
Absolutely. If you're taking care of each other, physically, because that, like, that's how God made us was to love each other and, and have sex and so you, you schedule that? And you're it's all about self care, and you're taking care of yourself as well as each other, which kind of blends into number three is scheduled that date night, which can lead to the scheduling of the Saturday at 730.
That's right. And it's so important. And one of the things that, you know, I hear a lot of people say is well, we can't afford a babysitter, or we don't have anyone to watch the kids. And so I mean, when we had little ones, we really couldn't afford a babysitter, but we made it a priority. And
sometimes it wasn't. We had a lot of eating,
We have a lot of staying date nights. And that just might be what you have to do. But we did make it a priority. And who we had was our friend's daughter. And I mean, we paid like $5 or whatever. And so pretty much funded her University.
But years we were there.
That's right. But it's super important to find someone if you don't have any family nearby that you trust that would be willing to look after the kids because there's nothing like I mean, when you're home and you're having to stay at home. You're still like on mom and dad duty. Right? That makes sense. Like if the baby cries or there's a diaper needing to be changed, you're still the one having to do that. That's the beauty of being able to go out and have someone else deal with that for Little bit
and one of the some of the best dates we ever had. We're not. We don't remember necessarily the ones where we spent $250 on dinner and going out and going to see a movie and doing all the stuff. What we remember is those dates where we had $5 in the bank, we went and had a McDonald's ice cream cone and wandered in Walmart took a drive up into a neighborhood. And that's right, we talked about houses and what we want to do for the future. I remember those dates, way more than I remember the URLs or the big fancy dinner dates. Now, I was like that.
And for us, like in our marriage, that isn't a priority. Like it's not about how much money we're spending on a date. It's the fact that we're with each other
men find low maintenance women,
right. And so, for me, if I have the choice to grab a specialty coffee and drive around with my man, or go to the most expensive restaurant in town, I'm going to choose the Starbucks and the drive around.
And I appreciate that too.
Because I can find better ways to spend that money than at a dinner, and then it's gone, right?
Yeah. The next one, which is number four is Laugh, laugh. Like, unless you're two people that just have no sense of humour.. I know couples that are just they're not funny people know. But with each other, they're quirky. They can make each other laugh. That's one of the reasons they were attracted to each other in most marriages. The spouses can make each other laugh or stupid jokes, or they have inside things that are happening. And if you can laugh, even in times of frustration, or anger and things that are going on, and you can that you end up showing that to your kids that, hey, we can love each other. And it's not just about the intensity or the seriousness of the argents or the things that are going on. Right. I love dad jokes. Okay, I have an app on my phone. That gives me some of the best dad jokes out there. Yeah, so much so that my boys quote them to me, so I'll laugh at them and my daughter will read them to me sometimes minutes at a time. I love dad jokes and we're laughing with a Natalie's laughing cuz they're so stupid, right? But we're laughing with each other we're we have Heather
and with our kids like, if I'm sad or I'm frustrated or whatever my middle son he always does the Yosemite Sam, that Oh, I hate that rabbit and it gets me every single time. And my old
one makes my older son make a joke about my age, rather than me being old and 1812 times. Yeah, I'm not sure when he gets that. He makes a joke about Is there even electricity back then dead? So yeah, but they do things that make you laugh. And that's because we've given ourselves permission to laugh with them and with each other find
the joy. I remember actually my oldest when I was freaking out about something when he was little and he put his little arms out and he's like, Mom, chill. And I looked at him and I thought where ever did he even know to say that in the proper context, and I started laughing and then he was laughing and it just took the edge off, put me in a better mood, right? So find reasons to find joy and laughter in the mundane because sometimes parenting can feel like a drudgery, oh man, and it feels like you know, it's, it's never gonna end. And then everyone tells you who has kids, oh, it gets better, it gets better and you never believe them. It does get better it gets it's like fine wine, it gets better with age, but you have to put the work in
from the beginning.
Well, and something that we've always said is you want to be a good parent, you have to get up off the couch. Absolutely. And now we can just add this back then. But you want to be a good parent, you gotta put your phone down. You want to be a good parent, you got to go to where the kids are and do the things with them and and find the things that they like to do with them and how you're going to discipline them or talk to them or any of that stuff like you're not kidding what I remember before we moved from the north who moved back here, we had a really good day with the kids. It was kind of just challenging around bedtime and you went out with one of our friends and I had my middle son stand at the top of the stairs and projectile vomit from the top to the bottom. That was funny for me.
Well, you came in, saw what was happening and turned around and left and left me to clean it up knowing how much I hate vomit. That's right. But it was one of those things that the other son was looking down the stairs and then he was puking and amorous, and was too young. He stayed asleep. That was a tough, tough day. Yeah. After the end of everything and eventually we got to laugh at this because he was such a sweet thing.
It was funny because the visual was hilarious with ski goggles on and like a T shirt wrapped around your face in my dish gloves and sprayed with perfume
Yeah, like it was really comical. And I will say like parenting and the gross parts of parenting is not just the wife's job, and I really appreciate your involvement. I guess it's so important to
always involved in those things. I try to avoid those as much as possible.
Oh, I know. But
I'm glad you can talk about it. Now,
I made sure that when you were around that you absolutely were participating in. in caring for these babies. Katie's this guy who's a therapist says, if your partner makes a joke, instead of getting serious, let yourself laugh. Laughing together allows parents to have fun while raising children. And it's so true.
Kids are crazy and they laugh at stuff, and it's the best.
How do I word this? It's the best ministry, right? Like outside of us, my husband, my children are the next best thing
and the longest longest ministry you'll have in your entire life. Yeah, the next thing is number five doesn't coast. Mm hmm. It's kind of it lines up a little bit with nber one Where's prioritize prioritize your marriage but No matter how things and how great things are before you had kids, you can't just leave it on auto autopilot and expect it all to be the same not to fly to the side of a mountain because you just didn't make any changes. You just assed everything was gonna be fine, right? But what happens when you assume, and that's what's gonna happen is if you assume that things are going to be fine. And you never put any effort into your spouse or the relationship or how you communicate or if you're praying together or making the relationship better or how you're dealing with your children together. It's easy just to see things go left or right. Without anything ever changing.
I'm just one of those things, too, to talk about these expectations. Like had I mean, you were working long hours when we had little ones. But it was like when it's your time off and when you're home. You don't just get to sit with your feet up on the couch. Yeah. And be doted on and yes, there's an element of you know, having dinner prepared and stuff. That that I tried to have done because I knew that you really like that. It didn't always happen. But you're, you're on dad duty now, right? It's not you don't go to your nine to five and then you come home and that's it. Right? Right. And so making sure that you talk those expectations through so that you don't become resentful, or like an ostrich with its head in the sand where it's, you know, we'll just pretend like it's not happening and then hope that he notices. No ladies, we need to talk.
And be clear with our expectations in that
and it's really easy to push the expectations aside or because you're putting out a lot of little things are going wrong all the time and putting out fires or trying to touch the hot stove color on the wall, stick their head in the toilet doing all these things and those day to day dealing with all that kind of stuff that's easy to put the relationship on the backburner and something that we don't understand all the time. But life doesn't stop. When you have kids,
no, in some ways, it just begins.
In some ways, it just begins. It changes. And we actually had it started getting more and more fun, the more kids we had, for us anyway, but we really enjoyed We really enjoyed being parents when you're I don't know that we enjoyed it. Super awesome fun. When you're right in the middle of it, you're like, this is the worst thing I've ever done.
And they're ebb and flows, right? It's not all wasn't all challenging. There were pockets of challenging times. And thankfully, like, it wasn't all of our kids at the same time. I think I'm so grateful that they kind of had each there times where they were being silly, but parenting is hard.
very hard. And if we prioritize the marriage, I think it just sets you up for being just better parents,
right? And if you're willing to communicate all of those things and work through issues together
And last, I mean, I remember our middle son just changed his diaper at three in the morning and I was covered and everything from my chin down. And what do you do at that moment? Right? I woke you up and you helped and I went had a shower and we just laughed about it. You have to be able to laugh
Well, I laughed after and was not laughing in the moment.
I thought it was pretty funny. Yeah,
it was hilarious. In hindsight, right. But, but still, you know, be willing to laugh and find the humour, right? in raising and raising children because it is comical at times.
And these listeners are just a few of the things you can do to kind of focus on your relationship while you're having kids. We thought this was really interesting as we were talking about this kind of stuff. This is something we've, we've learned to talk about in the last few years as our kids are getting older and older. It seems like something happens with the older one and when it can we nailed that and then the next one comes up and then you're you're having to Change with your kids on the fly and how you approach them or discipline them or talk to them or relate to them. And it's all a lot of change. But it's really easy to forget the spouse. That's right. And we encourage you to put the kids not to. We're not saying never focus on your kids, we're saying that they don't need to be number one above your spouse. That's right. Your spouse was there before you were Yeah, before the kids were That's right. Your spouse was there first then it was the kids. And so just focusing on your spouse, you two being healthy me and Natalie, being healthy and whole means that we can be better parents together.
That's right. And it's one. I think one of the greatest gifts that our children can receive is to healthy parents who aren't perfect, but who they see. grinding it out and working it through absolutely are the tough times.
And so there's this five things that are probably to prioritize your marriage. Yep, have sex, scheduled date nights, laugh about it, when you're scheduling those date nights. You can be laughing about something about him or all the way around and don't coast don't just give up because you have killed children. Don't just assume that your marriage is gonna be fine. 20 years after you have kids and the kids are gone.
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