Keeping your marriage healthy after having kids can be challenging.
One of the reasons that your marriage begins to drift apart after having children is that parenthood changes you. Who you were before you had a baby and who you are today can be very different. As you experience new things, become responsible for another human being, mature, grow, and meet new people, your perspective, interests, and priorities will evolve.
And the same is true for your husband. The man you married and the man sitting next to you today is different.
Over the years, both you and your husband have evolved, grown, and shifted.
Sure, your core self may be the same. He still laughs at the same quirky jokes while you continue to dance anytime you get a chance, but, how you feel about certain aspects of life and how you spend your time changes.
Marriage Drifting Apart
While working with couples, I often hear husbands and wives talk about how they feel like they’ve grown apart. They come in with the hope of getting their “spark” back, but ultimately share that they feel like they don’t know each other anymore.
Many couples worry that unless they do everything together, they will grow apart. However, the reality is that if spouses don’t continue to “know” who their partner is growing into, they will drift apart.
In other words, what keeps a couple connected over the years is not doing everything together, but up to date knowledge about one another. So, if you want to stay together, you have to remain curious about each other and understand each other as you both evolve.
Get to Know Your Husband
When you first started dating your husband, you probably spent a lot of time learning about the man you were falling in love with. You asked him a lot of questions, listened to his stories, and gathered information about who he was, where he came from, and where he wanted to go.
As life happened, things changed. As mentioned previously, you are different today from the person you were when you met your husband.
The problem is that many couples do not stay up to date on each other’s hopes, dreams, goals, priorities, and preferences. Many couples stop gathering information. The curiosity drops off, and they assume they know the person lying next to them at night.
How Well Do You Know Your Husband?
To avoid falling into this pattern of assuming that you know your spouse and growing apart, you have to learn to maintain a sense of curiosity in your marriage.
You have to make a habit of carving out moments in your busy lives to get reacquainted with the man you married and how he is changing. You have to share with him how you are evolving. You have to stay connected to the now, not the “who you once were.”
How I Changed After Becoming a Mom
For example, my priorities shifted after becoming a mom. The activities I used to enjoy, my priorities at work, and my relationships with friends and family all changed.
Motherhood changed my perspective on life.
These were changes that I did not expect or anticipate; they were a result of a significant shift in my life that altered me.
Had I not taken the time to bring my husband in on all the changes I was experiencing, he would have been in the dark, and we would have drifted. Had I not remained curious about how fatherhood was changing him and asked him meaningful questions, we would have drifted.
By keeping the lines of communication open in our marriage and prioritizing the right types of conversations, we were able to stay connected and grow together during the first year of parenthood.
If you have recently gone through a life change or realize that you’re drifting apart, it is time to get to know one another again.
The best way to jump-start this process is by asking open-ended questions.
An open-ended question is a question that elicits a descriptive response instead of a “yes” or “no” answer.
For example, “What was the best part of your day?” (open-ended question) versus “How was your day?” (closed-ended question).
These two questions will give you two entirely different responses.
If you ask, “How was your day?” you will likely hear, “good” or “ok,” (a short, non-descriptive response).
If, however, you ask your husband, “What was the best part of your day?” he will share details that will bring you into his day, experiences, feelings, and what matters to him.
Getting To Know Your Spouse Again
Putting this curiosity into practice on a deeper level in your marriage will strengthen your bond.
While it is essential to ask your husband about his day, you also need to ask open-ended questions that grant you access to his inner world.
You need to ask questions that will provide information into what he thinks about, worries about, his goals, aspirations, and what makes him who he is today.
Here are a few examples:
- “What are you most looking forward to this year?”
- “What is one goal you want to achieve in the next five years?”
- “What is your favorite part about being a Dad?”
REAL WIFE LESSON OF THE WEEK: Asking just 1 or 2 open-ended questions per week will enable you to grow with your husband. This simple practice will keep the two of you connected. It will also help you make each other’s dreams a reality, ease each other’s fears and worries, and allow you to remain in love with the many you met and married years ago.
Now, if all this sounds great, but you’re thinking, “We don’t have time to have these deep conversations.” I’ve got you! CLICK HERE to learn simple ways to carve out more time for your marriage, including how to FIND TIME to ask open-ended questions.