Skip Nav

Ways to Help Your Marriage After Kids

Getting Away From Your Kids Just Might Save Your Marriage

I've yet to meet a woman whose marriage hasn't been affected by adding a baby or two to the mix. Even when those kids are out of diapers and more self-sufficient, they still require a lot of work and emotional energy — energy that you then don't have to expend on your partner . . . or yourself, which, if you're like me, might subsequently make you resent your spouse for needing more from you than a quick "How was your day, dear?"

Even the best marriages — ones where both parties are willing to put in the effort to keep the relationship strong — can feel the strain of too little sleep, too much stress, and too many things on their to-do lists.

In the last couple of years, my own marriage has gone through some struggles. The common, underlying theme? We just don't have enough time or energy to devote to each other and focus on our relationship when there's a 3-year-old to potty-train, a 6-year-old to drag out of bed at 6:30 a.m. so she can make her school bus, and a household and family schedule to juggle, each of which becomes increasingly more complicated as our family grows.

We both feel like we're bearing the lion's share of the responsibility to keep our family moving in the right direction, and while continuing to love each other has never been a problem, feeling connected to each other has often been tougher to accomplish. And who wants to sleep with someone they feel distant from?

That's why getting away for the weekend, not just once a year, but regularly, isn't just a fun escape for us; it's a marriage saver.

That's why getting away for the weekend, not just once a year, but regularly, isn't just a fun escape for us; it's a marriage saver.

The thing is, my husband of seven years and I still really do like each other — that is, when we get to spend time together that isn't focused on the kids, but these days, that is a rare event. Five days a week he leaves around 7 a.m. and returns at 6 p.m., meaning he has about two hours a day with the kids and me, and they happen to be the most stressful two hours of every day. The kids are competing for his attention, asking for wrestling matches and story time, while I'm just trying to get him to help me convince the two of them to get in the bath and go the f*ck to sleep.

The weekends aren't much less stressful, full of soccer games and birthday parties and family events and house maintenance, and, of course, still trying to convince those kids to bathe and go to bed. None of it is exactly conducive to cultivating some old-fashioned romance or to righting a relationship that's run off course.

But give us 36 to 48 hours away from the kids, and within an hour or two, we're buddies again, bonding over our shared love of good food and wine, laughing about old memories from our decade-plus together, and reconnecting in all the physical and emotional ways that every marriage needs to survive.

Two days of that, and we can return to the kids a stronger unit, no longer accusing the other of doing too little or resenting how underappreciated our own efforts are by the other. We're a team, and it makes us both stronger. And that's good for everyone . . . especially the kids we occasionally leave behind.

Latest Family