When I was first dating Ryan, he was my whole world. I thought about him all day long. I would count down the minutes until our next date or phone call. We got engaged and later married, and he was my first priority. I wanted to spend all my time with him, do nice things for him, and make sure he felt important (because he was). He did the same for me.
Then we had kids.
I knew nothing about babies. As a teenager I hadn’t done much babysitting for kids younger than 3, and I was pretty young when my own sister was born, so I really had no experience with newborns or babies. To say I was a mess when our first baby arrived would be quite an understatement. I had no clue what I was doing. I felt like a disaster and a failure.
When our baby was born, my OBGYN told us that when we came for our six-week postpartum checkup he would ask if we had gone on a Date Night during that time. He told us that was our assignment. At some point in those first six weeks, we needed to go on a Date Night without the baby.
I laughed at him. I really did. Date Night had never been a problem for us. In fact, almost every night was Date Night before we had a baby!
But the truth is we struggled to get that Date Night in before that six-week checkup. Rather, I struggled to get that Date Night in. I didn’t understand the importance of making sure my husband was getting my time. I didn’t realize then that I needed to purposefully position him and our marriage as my No. 1 priority, even over our children.
I learned my lesson when we finally went on that Date Night. It felt so good to laugh together and focus on each other. It was a huge relief to get a break from a baby crying. We reconnected, and I remembered why I love being married to him.
Since then, Date Night has been an important part of our marriage success. Yes, there are times that the children need us, and their needs at times must come first. Yes, there are times when too many days go by between Date Nights. But, getting time alone with each other, without children, is a vital part of our marriage. We make each other our No. 1 priority. We have five children now, and after they all leave home one day, we’ll be left with just each other. I don’t want to wake up after the kids are gone and realize I don’t even know my husband. I want to prioritize him every day to keep our marriage strong.
I spoke about this topic on a podcast episode with Modern Twin Mom Sunit Suchdev. I would love for you to listen in as we discuss the importance of prioritizing your marriage over kids. Click here to tune in. It is Episode 3.
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This article first appeared on He says, She says.