When you become parents, it can be easy to settle into a world that revolves around the little person you made together. You almost instantly forget about the life you lived together before you had children-the second that little person comes into the picture the stuff before that moment seems unimportant. At least that’s how I felt holding my son for the first time. All those years together felt like nothing compared to seeing his face for the first time. But I’m here to say the time you spent together as a couple before having children is important to remember when becoming parents. Your journey finding love should be present in your relationship as parents too. Isn’t it that very journey that brought you to the point of becoming a family. The time you spent together before you become parents is an important history to remember and continue growing. It took my husband and I years to realize our family unit is only as strong as we are together. Our family is stronger when we both nurture our relationship, outside of being parents.
I’m not saying that I shower my husband with love each and every day, or that he is bringing me flowers each night after work. Yes we fight, yes we disagree, no we don’t shower each other with gifts, but we both put each other above all else. I can honestly say in the years my husband and I have been married I can count the number of times he has raised his voice at me on one hand. We both make it a priority to respect and love the other even when we are angry or sad. This is not easy all the time; and it’s something we have worked on over the six years we have been together. When my husband and I first started dating we were speaking different languages. If a disagreement arose he would become quiet and try to escape confrontation, where I pushed for confrontation and wanted to instantly resolve things. This lead to plenty of fights, we can laugh now at some of the fights we had before we had our son. Those years we spent together before becoming parents we learned how to communicate. The fighting taught us what made the other angry or sad, showed us how to support each other, and what revealed what made the other happy.
These are lessons I still use every day in my relationship even though they happened long before I was ‘mom’. My husband and I both strive to be constantly engaged in our relationship with each other-outside of parenting our son together. We refuse to become ships passing in the night, which is so easy for parents of young children to fall into. I love my son, and I know that the best thing I can do for him is to genuinely love his father; and show him this love every day. When I say I spoil my husband I mean that I strive to make him happy every day, and he does the same for me. Even if we are angry or upset with each other we show each other love. Our relationship will be the first relationship my son learns from. We both want him to learn kindness, and tenderness, and unconditional love; love in anger, love in sadness, love in happiness, but always love. There are a few simple things my husband and I do each day to show our love for each other. We show each other affection regularly-no I’m not talking about making out in front of our toddler. I’m talking about little moments that show your partner love and appreciation. If we leave each other we kiss goodbye, we ALWAYS say ‘love you’s’ when we are leaving each other, we NEVER go to bed without a kiss, we hold hands in front of our son, my husband tells me I’m beautiful in front of our son. These are things that make me feel loved and spoiled. They are little things we can do to show each other unconditional love. Little things that we will do in anger, or sadness, or frustration-we always strive to choose love.
But it’s not just the little things that make our relationship strong. It’s the big things that make you feel like you can move mountains. The way we support each other’s dreams and allow each other time and space to achieve them. My husband and I are very different people-one of those ‘opposites attract’ relationships. We balance each other perfectly; but this can mean we have a lot of individual interests. While we share our lives, our home, our hearts, our family; we also have interests and hobbies that are our own. We both respect and support each other as individuals outside being parents, or spouses. For me, this is the biggest, and most important way we spoil each other. The freedom I have to chase my passions is a better gift than any physical gift my husband could ever get me. Spoil your spouse with the gift of freedom and individuality. You don’t need money to spoil each other. Show each other you remember who you were before you were ‘mom’ and ‘dad’-being a parent changes you but you don’t have to lose who you are as individuals, or as a couple.
When my husband and I are both feeling supported and loved by each other we are at our best as parents; that is when our family is functioning at its best. The key to a happy house for us is a strong relationship between ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. Strong relationships don’t come easy. They are work! Relationships that leave you feeling loved and supported are something you need to work on every day. So, I challenge you to spoil your spouse. Give them time just for them, or remind them something you find sexy about them. Spoiling your spouse isn’t about buying them gifts or going on vacations-although those are welcome too! I feel spoiled by my husband respecting my passions and believing in me-he feels spoiled by me respecting and supporting his hobbies and dreams. These are things that came so easy to us as a couple before having a kid. Being a parent shouldn’t mean forgetting about the time you spent together before children; it should be about furthering that relationship. When our relationship is strong our family is strong. That’s the only reason I’ll ever need to spoil my husband. But if I ever need another I am reminded everyday by his dedication and love for me and our family that he deserves to be loved and spoiled.
Spoil each other and see where it takes your family! It can be as easy as saying ‘thank you’ to your husband after a hard day at work, or telling your wife you noticed the clean house and appreciate it. Don’t be ships passing in the night. You are not selfish for spending time working on your relationship.