Marriage is hard. Being parents is hard. Having a happy marriage while being parents is a whole different level.

My husband and I have been together nearly 19 years. It feels absurd to even type this because it’s hard to believe that much time has passed.

It feels like just yesterday this shy, nervous 18-year-old boy told me that he liked me. I grinned an awkward smile decorated in braces and confessed I liked him too.

Fast forward past high school prom, college degrees, living long-distance, a 1.5-year engagement, a wedding, a dog, 7 employer and career changes, a few zip codes, and 3 kids later…phew…here we are.

Our relationship has stretched, flourished and even unraveled at times. It has gone from puppy love to spiritual teammate. We’ve been tested. We’ve been pushed. Some years have been easy. Some hard.

And now with being parents of three kids that require our attention day in and day out, it’s become that much more challenging to stay connected. Interrupted conversations, opposite work schedules, and different time zones are all interferences we’ve learned to overcome and continue to work through to keep our marriage at the forefront, always.

Here are the five most important things we have learned to maintain a happy marriage after becoming parents:

  1. Carve Out Time For Each Other…No Matter What. We are tired AF. My husband has taken on some amazing new projects at work, which require him to travel quite frequently. While he’s working his tail-feather off in the workplace, I’m leading the show at home. Together we are a team, creating the lifestyle that we have always wanted. But at the end of the day, we are pretty pooped out, both of us for different yet legitimate reasons. No matter what, we still take out time for each other. Even if it dips into a little bit of sleep and we halfheartedly have a conversation or mind numbingly watch a TV show together. Being in each other’s company is important. You can’t stay connected without ever making time for each other. Period.
  2. Work on yourself to be independently happy. This is huge. In relationships, we tend to become interdependent, which is completely natural. But in this, sometimes our happiness becomes dependent on what the other person provides to us whether it’s emotionally, mentally or physically. Once you become confident and happy internally, you are less dependent on your SO for the wrong reasons and have less unrealistic expectations. You begin to enjoy each other for who they are, and not what they can provide to you. When you first met your husband or wife, they weren’t providing you with anything, really. You were intrigued by this person and their energy was attractive. You wanted to be around them before you actually gained anything from them. Remember that.
  3. Have separate goals. Share common goals. Work together to achieve both. And communicate. We are individuals before we are husband and wife. It’s important to continue to grow individually to fulfill our own desires. It is equally important to have shared goals: a common mission in life. Communicating these periodically is important to ensure you both are on the same track and envision life the same way. Visions and goals change and it’s important to talk through this so nobody feels blindsided. If wife suddenly decides to go back to the workplace or husband now wants to take a sabbatical and travel the world, neither of these are wrong. They just need to be communicated so that you both remain a priority and your lives continue to entangle each other’s in the right way.
  4. Communicate. I mentioned this above, but it is so important, that it deserves a bullet of its own. You love her? Tell her. You are frustrated about something? Talk about it. Your calendar of plans shifted? Mention it. Keep talking. For her, all the petty details are not petty. She wants to hear them. For him, he wants to feel that he’s not fudging up everything, so if he’s done something amazing, tell him. Women tend to knit-pick. Since we usually take on the responsibility of remembering all the little things that make life smooth and happy for everyone, we expect our SO to take it up a notch and do the same. Communicate what you need and be clear. Husbands, if you can’t do something, just say you can’t do it. Don’t half-ass it, make her mad, and then be upset that you’re not appreciated even though you tried. I’m not speaking from experience or anything. Sigh. All jokes aside, please communicate with each other and learn what is the most effective way. Personality differences mean we feel appreciated and need to be communicated to in different ways. Take the time to figure this out as early as possible.
  5. Be Serious About Each Other but Don’t Take Life Too Seriously. Look, sometimes it’s hard. The stress can get the best of us. Our personalities can change over time. Our life visions can shift. But if there isn’t a serious problem that is jeopardizing safety and health, then the key is commitment. You love this person and there will be dips in your relationship. But work through those together. Having kids will test your patience. You’ll be cranky and tired. You will say things you don’t mean. But laugh. Give each other some space when you need it and then let it go. If you are lucky enough to have someone that is willing to tolerate you, then appreciate that and party on. Do-si-do, clink some glasses, knock some boots, and enjoy each other.

Hi, I’m Anisha! Thank you for visiting Masala Mommy. If you are interested in coaching & consulting, I’d love to chat with you to see if we are a good fit. As moms, it is so important to learn about our Self and our own desires and needs to see ourselves flourish as parent and spouse. Click below to drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you!