Do you remember the pure bliss of marriage following your wedding day? All the love, opening presents, smiling and enjoying the beginning of a new journey was at it's highest. Fast forward a few years or even months, and the feeling is not as potent anymore. You're both busy with work, kids might be in the picture, marriage is not a priority, and you're too tired to even talk with one another at the end of the day. It doesn't mean you are no longer in love, but you might miss the person you were dating before you got married.
My husband and I had become parents by the time we reached our first anniversary, and it saddens me to say that it was not a good celebration. I felt depressed, self-conscious, exhausted, and was not in the mood to talk about my day when my husband got home from work. Luckily, being a type 5 personality (Enneagram Test), I did some research I found a book with raving reviews. I spoke to my husband, and we both decided to read it (We purchased the audiobook!) on our own time. The first few chapters opened my eyes and helped me understand why my husband and I no longer had the relationship we once did. Of course, everything changes when introducing children, but this book was precisely for that situation. His Needs, Her Needs for Parents: Keeping the Romance Alive by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
Although there are plenty of things to take away from the book, here are the top 3 that made the most significant impact on our relationship.
MAKE TIME FOR EACHOTHER
According to the book, we need to spend fifteen hours a week alone without kids, family, or friends. It
sounds impossible, but it's not! If you think about it, 2 hours a day is already 14 hours. Consider what you used to do before you got married. Go to dinner, hiking, watch a movie, road trips, whatever it may be. I'd be lying if I said we'd gotten it down to a tee, but some weeks (months) are more stringent than others.
HIGH'S AND LOW'S
It might seem silly at first, but try to share the highlights and lows of the day. No matter how big or how small it will give you a reason to talk. When you least expect it, you'll be having full-on conversations.
INTIMATE EMOTIONAL NEEDS
I could probably write a book about this topic, but luckily for you, there's already one written! He explains that we all have different priorities as far as what we need in a marriage. For you, it might be "affection, conversation, honesty, financial support, and family commitment." For him, it might be "sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, an attractive spouse, domestic help, and admiration." See the difference? If we do not know what our partner's intimate emotional needs are, how can we fulfill them? Just ask!
I sincerely hope this encourages you to buy the book/audiobook if you feel your marriage isn't what it should be. If you have kids or plan on having kids, I recommend both parents to read it. He includes some chapters on parenting and how to make decisions together without it being an issue, but for the most part, the relationship chapters were our biggest takeaway.