Relationships are hard. Really hard. They take a lot of work. One way to make them easier, is to be partners in marriage and parenting. You and your significant other need to work together in order to make your relationship work. Here are some of the most important things I have learned about being partners in marriage and parenting.
Teamwork, Teamwork, Teamwork
You and your significant other need to work as a team on everything. Whether its chores, parenting, shopping, or whatever else. That doesn’t necessarily mean you must do everything together. However, you should always be prepared to help each other out where needed.
I know a lot of couples who get hung up on the idea of “my chores” versus “their chores” and honestly it never ends well. As a couple, you have one ultimate goal: Get everything done. So if you normally clean the house, they should be willing to pitch in and help if you fall behind. If your partner’s normal job is to care for the lawn and garden, you should be willing to lend a hand when needed.
Pick You Battles
For the love of everything, learn to pick your battles. Seriously. Your spouse will drive you nuts with little things pretty much daily. Its inevitable. My husband is great, but I still want to smother him with a pillow when I find a wet towel laying on my bed.
Whenever you find yourself frustrated, ask yourself the following questions:
Is this worth an argument?
Will this matter a year from now?
Will I even remember this a week from now?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, its probably not worth the fight.
Communication is key in all relationships, romantic or platonic. When you have promised your future to someone, you need to be willing to communicate. Talk. Talk about everything. Talk about work, or your day. Talk about the latest celebrity scandal. Discuss politics, religion, and science. Chat about your families. Absolutely have conversations about how you feel, and any issues that arise.
Communication isn’t just about talking through problems. Communication should be a daily activity. If the only time you are really talking to your partner is when something is wrong, they aren’t going to be very receptive. Make sure your communications are positive as well as negative.
Enjoy Time Together
Make time for each other. You are partners in marriage and parenting, but you are still people. Find time to spend together. If you can manage, have regular date nights together. Start an activity that you both enjoy.
Sometimes as parents, life gets too hectic to get out without the kids much. You can still find ways to enjoy each other. For example, maybe find a show you both enjoy, and once a week, sit down together after bedtime and watch it. Or have weekly movie nights after the little monsters go to bed.
Whatever it is that you do, find a way to remember who you are as people. Remind yourselves why you are great as a couple. Remind each other why you fell in love in the first place.
Recognize Each Other’s Strengths
Always make sure to recognize each other’s strengths. A huge problem in relationships is that people don’t feel appreciated. Make sure you acknowledge what your partner does well, and do it in a way that they appreciate.
Some people want flowers or gifts to recognize their hard work in the relationship. Some are just happy with a passing compliment on dinner or a chore they completed. Find what works for you, and make a point to do it often.
Admit When You’re Wrong
We are all human. Nobody is right all the time (except me…kidding!) As much as it sucks to be wrong, to lose the argument, to forfeit the fight, it is an evil necessity when you are partners in marriage and parenting.
If you are wrong, suck it up and admit it. Swallow your pride. Its one of the hardest things I have had to learn in my own life and marriage. Honestly though, doing this has made a huge difference. It has also made my husband more open to admitting when he is wrong. We rarely even bicker, but when we do, it now ends quickly.
Partner on Big Decisions
Another issue I see in a lot of relationships is that one person makes decisions without consulting the other. I am not talking about what to make for dinner. I am talking buying a car, booking a vacation, making a large purchase, etc.
When you are partners in marriage and parenting, you need to work together to make big decisions. It cant be one sided. One person cant make all the choices while the other just rolls with it. You both need to be on the same page. Especially with parenting and financial decisions.
Work Together Financially
When you are partners in marriage and parenting, you must work together financially. It seems like so many people have a large amount of debt. I see so many women or men seeking help with getting out of debt, learning to budget, and even save money. However, the biggest obstacle is when both people in the relationship aren’t on the same page.
Often, one person in the marriage overspends. Sometimes it’s the wife, and sometimes it’s the husband. Its crucial that you are both aware of your financial situation. You both need to be familiar with your income, your debt, your expenses, and your spending. Come up with a plan together, and hold each other accountable.
Have Each Other’s Backs
Being partners in marriage and parenting requires you and your significant other to support each other. Find a way to be there for your partner. Whether it has to do with career decisions, family issues, or parenting your children, you need to have each other’s back.
With parenting, if one parent puts their foot down on an issue, the other parent must be on board and back them up. Both must follow through with consequences or rules. This will not only make you stronger as husband and wife, but as parents as well.
Agree to Disagree
You do not have to agree with your significant other on every single thing.
You need to have similar values, and that will lead to agreeing on most of the important issues. But seriously, if you have different taste in music, or movies, that’s perfectly okay. You don’t need to have identical taste in everything.
Make Room for Yourself
Some couples spend every second together, and if that works for you, great! However, I find that most people need to have time for themselves. Whether it is an occasional hour to shop or even take a shower uninterrupted, or a rare night out, it is necessary for their sanity.
Learn to make time for yourself, and for your partner to have time to themselves. You are partners in marriage and parenting, and that is a lot of responsibility. Everyone needs some “me” time.
Appreciate What You Have
Take a step back to really enjoy what you have. This is so important. The grass is always greener, right? Especially in this world full of social media, it is easy to look at others and covet what they have. That is detrimental to relationships. Don’t do it, or if you do, make sure to take a good, hard look at what you have.
I do this when I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, life gets hectic or just monotonous. I find it helps to take a moment to really look at my life. I have an awesome husband. He truly is my partner in marriage and parenting. We have the smartest, happiest, most adorable son. We have a roof over our heads. We are surrounded by loving family and friends. This is what I have always wished for. My life may not be perfect, but its pretty close. For that, I am thankful.
To be partners in marriage and parenting, you need to work together, support each other, and communicate. You need to learn to give credit where its due, and appreciate what you have. Pair on decisions, and financial planning. Learn to let things go, and agree to disagree sometimes. If both you and your significant other can focus on these things, I can almost guarantee your relationship will be stronger in the long run.