How To Maintain A Strong Marriage After Having Kids

God created marriage and family. He loves marriage and family. He has given to us this beautiful gift to steward! And having children does not mean that marriage should be a lesser priority. Please join us for this podcast episode of Marriage After God where we dive into maintaining marriage after kids. We have a little experience and we are in the midst of it right now. We share our experiences and what we are learning about marriage after kids. We hope this blesses you!

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– Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

– Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

– And today we’re gonna talk about marriage after kids. Hey, thanks for joining us for this week’s episode. We wanna just invite you, as usual, to subscribe to our channel, so that you get notified every time we upload a new episode.

– Also, this episode is a little bit unique in that we pulled questions from you guys, from our listeners, and we’re really excited to be able to answer some of those, give you some of our personal experience, along with some biblical scriptures to back up what we’re sharing with you today. But we just wanna encourage you to leave those comments and if you have questions for further episodes that we could try and answer, we wanna hear from you. Or if you have anything that inspires you to share on today’s topic about marriage after kids, you can also feel free to leave that in the comments, as well. So today’s topic is marriage after kids, and this specifically came from Lindsey B., and she said “I’d love a topic on marriage after kids!” So we started there, we have a few more questions to get through, but I thought it’d be cool if, Aaron, we could just contrast a little bit from our experience before and after kids.

– So, well, we went through a season early on in our marriage where we didn’t want any kids. Just our mind wasn’t right. We were selfish, we knew it.

– We struggled with intimacy.

– We struggled with intimacy, which made it even harder-

– Harder to want that.

– like, all I thought is like, “I don’t want kids, I can’t even do, “you know, enjoy my marriage.” But you know what? The Lord got ahold of us, changed our hearts on-

– Gave us a desire for that.

– Gave us a desire for children, and so we started, we said yes to God on that, had our first son, and God used our son to show us where he wanted us to go, in our own relationship, in our relationship with Him. It was challenging, it was hard being parents for the first time, not really having much help and advice. We had lots of family that helped us for sure, but just our understanding of children and what we were gonna do. So we went from not wanting children to now loving having children, and everything in between, and the journey of having children and growing our family, God’s taught us a ton. And He’s still using our children to teach us a lot.

– Yeah, and I would say one of the biggest things that He’s taught us is that children are a blessing. They really are beneficial to our marriage, to our family unit as a whole, and it’s just been a really positive experience, having children. And we have three now with another one on the way, and so our experience and sharing what we know of having kids with you guys just comes from us experiencing that season of having little ones. But I would hope that those listening in that even have older kids would still be just as inspired by the content today so that they know no matter what age their kids are, what we share today is applicable.

– Yeah, and what you just said, the children are a blessing idea? The first place we want to go in talking about marriage after kids is what is our perspective on children because if, like we did, we had a perspective that children were gonna be a burden, they were gonna be in the way, they were gonna be hard.

– It was gonna be hard.

– It was gonna stop us from our intimacy.

– Or doing things that we wanted to do.

– It was gonna stop us from doing what we want. And so everything we’re gonna talk about starts with having the correct, biblical foundation of our understanding and perspective of children. And I just want to read Psalm 127, verses three through five, and it says this, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, “for the fruit of the womb a reward. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior “are the children of one’s youth. “Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! “He shall not be put to shame when he “speaks with his enemies in the gate.” And so, we didn’t have this perspective in the beginning. We were kind of taught through culture and just all the things we heard about children, like it was all negative.

– Even, actually, while I was pregnant, we heard things like, “Oh, better get in your sleep now,” or “Better go take that second honeymoon now “because once you have kids-

– Yeah, get all your traveling out of the way now.

– “pretty much everything stops,” yeah.

– And not that people were intending them to be negative, but that is kind of the position that many people are taking is that like, oh, well, children are gonna stop everything you want in life, and you’re gonna have to change everything, which is partly true.

– Things do change.

– But again, it’s perspective. You know, if we have the perspective that children are a blessing, that each child is a blessing, we’re not gonna look at them as curses. ‘Cause that’s essentially what it feels like. So, we just wanna start with this idea of like, how are we supposed to think about our marriage now that we have children is like, well, it’s more blessed. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s not easier. The connotation of blessed goes into many layers.

– True.

– But the idea is that we see our marriage as more blessed because we have children and because we’re … ‘Cause that’s what the Bible teaches us, and this is not the only scripture. There’s hundreds of scriptures that talk about children and it talks about God knitting them in the womb, that He knows them before they’re born. He knows every hair on their head. Children are what the Lord’s doing in the world. And so just having a correct perspective, and God’s constantly changing our perspectives because our flesh wants the other thing. It wants the freedom, it wants to just be able to go. It wants to … And you know what? Children, they anchor us, they give us a foundation. They help pull us into a mature thinking.

– So now that we’ve had kids, that we’re in the midst of parenting, what would you say is one blessing? Just name one.

– Well, so before, before we decided we want to have kids, I remember asking God, saying, “God, I want to know you more. “I want to know more about you. “I want more of you,” and I know a lot of our listeners are thinking like, “Yeah, I want more of God.” And I remember God just speaking to my heart. Of course, it was through scripture, but He was saying, “Well, if you want to know more of me, you gotta have children.” And I said, “Well, why?” And He said, “Well, you know me as a son,” like me being a son to Him being my father. But I don’t understand the father side of God. There’s that side of God, and the motherly side of God because he’s the one that created the mother and the father. I could never understand the father’s heart of God without being a father.

– Without experiencing it.

– Yeah, so just the fact that I’m now a father, and I get to see when my son makes a mistake, and I can now understand like, oh that’s how God feels. He loves me so much that He doesn’t want me to make mistakes like that because He wants to protect me and save me from the heartache and the pain, and so I would say that’s just the first blessing. That was what kind of changed my heart on having children. It was like, well, I want more God. I’m not gonna say no to that.

– Yeah, that’s awesome.

– Yeah.

– I would say for me, it’s just how parenting has refined our marriage. Don’t you agree that our communica-

– And it’s constantly refining it.

– Constantly, yeah, it hasn’t stopped, but it’s matured us in a way of our thinking, in a way of our approach to life, our responses-

– Our responsibilities.

– Our responsbilities, the way that we communicate with each other. I feel like children are a blessing in that they add to the family this element of growth. Like they help you grow, they help me grow, they have helped our marriage.

– We’re just gonna get into some of the answers that we’re gonna bring on some of these other questions, but you’re right. Having children, if you put the right intention into raising your children, it keeps you from being selfish because you’re like, “Oh, no, I need to sacrifice my hobby over here “today, or forever, for the sake of the health “of my children and the well-being of my children, “and me being present and spending time with them, “and making sure that they know that I’m there for them.” And that’s just one little aspect, but there’s like infinite number of elements that children, the dynamic of children in the home bring to a marriage specifically. Because it requires us to work together. It requires us to work as a team, especially if we want healthy kids. Because we could easily not. We could be selfish and separate and totally cause chaos for our children.

– I was gonna say you’d see that in the fruit of your children.

– Oh, yeah.

– Good fruit or bad fruit, you’d see their responses.

– A specific example is we work on our bickering. That’s our, our heart is to not bicker. Our heart is to not fight, and then there’s, rarely, the occasion that we do. We walk in the flesh instead of the Spirit, and you know what, we see it in our children.

– They respond immediately to it. And they get like, they even tell us like, “Stop fighting.”

– Yeah, and they’re like more emotional. They’re more fragile, they’re more sensitive, and it’s because we’ve literally taken the foundation out from under them because their foundation is our oneness.

– We shook their security a little bit.

– Yeah, we shoot their security in those moments. Now, luckily, because we don’t walk in that way with each other, that we are not constantly fighting like we used to, our kids are much more resilient when it does come up. But it’s still, we immediately see it. When we’re not walking in oneness, when we’re walking in discord and you know, discontentment with each other and that strife, we immediately see it in our children.

– Yeah, okay, so I have one more aspect I want to get to about marriage after kids, and that is intimacy. Now, we’re pretty transparent when it comes to intimacy in marriage, so could you just touch a little bit on the contrast of the before and after?

– Well, again, we struggled with intimacy before.

– Yeah, but then it got good.

– It got good, and then we got pregnant.

– Yeah.

– It was all in the same season, and then we went into a new season of learning to be intentional with it. I feel like we might be a little unique. I know there’s a ton of people listening that might have similar stories as ours with, in the realm of sex. But I feel like we, because of how long of a struggle we had and not being able to be intimate with each other, and then it working, and then having children, I feel like it was easy for us to get out of sync with each other. And not that we were, either of us were bitter angry. It just kind of didn’t happen, and we would forget and be like, “Oh, we actually need to put some time into this-”

– Well, especially having so many kids in a short amount of time, I feel like the pregnancy and post-partum and those seasons of like, time outs kind of, like we just weren’t being intimate, also played a role in that, in what you’re talking about, in like, not being forgetful, but just not able to.

– Well, it becomes not a priority, and then less than a priority, it just becomes like in the background, and then it’s like lower and lower down the totem pole of importance in our marriage.

– Yeah, but intimacy is important, and I just want to encourage our listeners that even with kids, we’ve found time to be intimate, but you have to make it a priority.

– Well, you must.

– Yeah.

– Well, just like we’re talking about when we’re fighting, and our kids feel fragile, when we’re not intimate and we’re not cultivating that oneness physically, whether we are thinking about it or not, we all of a sudden are, we’re like more snippy. That’s actually when fights tend to start.

– It’s true.

– They come out because we’re more emotional, and our actual, the biology of us, the way God created us, whether we’re thinking about it or not, starts responding. And it’s healthy to be aware of where we’re at spiritually and physically with each other to protect from that. You know, the Bible tells us, it says if you’re gonna separate, it says to first of all give the conjugal rights to your spouse. We talked about this in an episode before. But it says if you’re gonna separate for a time to only do it for a time-

– To be in agreeance.

– In agreeance on it, and then to come back so that you don’t give a foothold to the enemy. And so when we are unintentionally separating and not pursuing each other physically, it’s not good for either of us. Same in your marriage, any marriage is gonna respond the same way, you’re gonna have more tension, you’re gonna have more fighting, you’re gonna feel distant, you’re gonna feel … All these things come from not intentionally being physically with each other.

– So just to add to that, that’s really good. I would just say that if you are gonna be in a season of, let’s say you got pregnant again, or post-partum’s coming up, or there is a reason to not be intimate with each other-

– Or you have a spouse that travels, yeah.

– Yeah, you need to communicate where your hearts are at, and you need to make sure that you’re on the same page. I would say that’s probably the biggest thing that we tell each other is like-

– And have to continually work on-

– You even have reminded me, like, “Well, just make sure that you let me know where you’re at. “Just talk to me about it.”

– Yeah, it’s something that we’re in a new season of having to learn to communicate more about our sex life, which is funny because that’s all it was back earlier on, but then life changes, and you know, we get busy, and we forget, but our kids shouldn’t be an excuse to not be intimate with each other. And if we’re using our children as an excuse then there’s another reason why we’re not doing it.

– Yeah, exactly.

– Our children shouldn’t be the excuse. We need to make time for it. We need to prioritize it, and I think that’s, we’re gonna actually answer more of that-

– Yeah, in a little bit.

– in the next couple questions.

– Yeah, okay so the next question is from Kristen A. It says, “How do you stay strong in your marriage “with three or more kids? “I’m having such a hard time to stay “focused on my marriage and God with three littles.”

– Yeah, so when I was just talking about the whole using our children as an excuse, if our children are the center of our family, then our relationship with God, our relationship with our children, or I mean our spouse, our relationship with our friends and our church-

– It’ll all take a backseat.

– they’re all gonna take a backseat. And this is something that we’re learning and walking in is that our children are not the center of our family relationship.

– This is the center.

– Well, it’s Christ.

– Well, starting with our relationship with God.

– We’re Christ-centric, biblical-centric, and then the next thing on the centrifugal spinning wheel is the husband and wife, and then the children, and then everyone else because if we have that out of whack, imagine something spinning in the center, it’s gonna be all out of whack. And so you know, if, with three littles, and I’m not focusing on my relationship with my husband or my wife, I’m not focusing on my relationship with God or my church, and they’re getting all the focus, the first thing that’s happening is you’re giving the wrong training and perspective to your children. You’re telling them that they are the center of the universe.

– And that they’re more important that anything else.

– Which is not true.

– They’re important, they’re significant. They’re valuable.

– Yeah, we actually need to give them healthy perspective of life and where they are at in the family because otherwise, they’re gonna walk the same way with their spouse. You want them to put Christ first and then their spouse and then their children and then others. That’s the order that we want it to be in. So if you are training them now, and it feels that way, this is the natural tendency. It’s like, “Well, this is hard over here. “I’m gonna focus on my kids.” And that’s just not the right order, and in reality, like I said, when we’re not right, the children are harder. Our relationship with our children are harder. But when we’re right, when we’re walking in oneness and working on our relationship and being Christ-centric ourselves, you know what happens is our kids see that, and they actually start to see the order of things, and actually they feel more secure.

– And just to add to that, when it comes to your relationship in marriage, when you’re walking with God, and your relationship with Him is secure, that’s going to reflect in your marriage, and your spouse will be able to respond to that, and you’ll be able to respond to them in a healthy way, but when your relationship with God is off, I don’t know if those listening can relate, but I’m like this, when I haven’t been in the word, when I haven’t been seeking God through prayer or seeking his will for my life, there’s chaos in our marriage because I’m not operating in the way that I should be as a biblical woman.

– And that brings me to, I want to read a scripture, and it’s in Isaiah, Chapter 40, verse 28 through 31, and it says this: “You have not known. ” Have you not heard? “The Lord is the everlasting God, “the creator of the ends of the earth. “He does not faint or grow weary, “His understanding is unsearchable. “He gives power to the faint, “and to him who has no might “He increases strength. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, “a young man shall fall exhausted; “but they who wait for the Lord shall “renew their strength, they shall mount up “with wings like eagles, they shall run “and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” And so this goes back to what you were just talking about. If I’m not pursuing my Heavenly Father, if I’m not pursuing my relationship with God, and I’m not in the word of God, and I’m not renewing my strength and mounting up on wings like eagles, you know what happens? I’m more exhausted, I’m tired, I’m irritable, I’m stressed out, I’m anxious, I’m frustrated, and that, who gets that first?

– Yep, your spouse.

– You do. And then when my kids come up to me, and they’re like, “Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad,” tapping me and tapping me, who do you think, what do you think I give to them?

– Yeah, irritability.

– Right. So if we start with, to answer Kristen’s question, if we start with our relationship with God, what that gives us the strength to do is to love like the Bible tells us to. It gives us the strength to be encouraging and to be, you know, to not be anxious, and to be able to walk uprightly-

– That’s really good.

– in my relationship with you, instead of trying to do the other way. And you know, I was thinking about when we were first married, you use to look to me to be the answer for, like when you were anxious, or tired, or emotional, or-

– Yeah, just to fulfill me.

– You saw me as the thing that would fulfill you, and that was one of the things, and I saw, you know, me not being able to be physical with you as something that was, that was what was supposed to sustain me, and it didn’t work, and I’m like, oh great. So we had both of our, we had each other on the throne instead of Christ.

– Yeah, that’s true.

– And so what we do is we put Christ on the throne, and Christ, through the Holy Spirit working in us, helps us put everything else into perspective and into, in a order. Because He’s a God of order and not chaos. We learn that in the New Testament, right?

– That’s really, really good, yeah. And I just want to take a moment to use these scriptures to encourage the parents and their relationship with their children because, especially for those in this season of many little children, which is exactly where we’re at right now. But sometimes it can feel like it’s a season of just surviving, and you’re overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and all the things that you have to do, and you know, little ones, they rely a lot on their parents for things because they’re not self-reliant yet, but you’re training them to be, right? You should be training them to be. But this, having a strong, secure relationship with the Lord is so important because that is where you’re drawing your strength from-

– That’s the most important, so yeah.

– Every single day in order to be able to fulfill those responsibilities and do those things. And so I just want to encourage those listening, if you are in a season with multiple little children, that you’re not just in a season of trying to survive it but you’re actually, your role should be, your purpose and heart should be to be intentional with it. You know to be mindful that you are training your children to be reliant on the Lord and to understand their role and responsibility in the family so that they do have an important role to be a helper. To be mom’s helper, to be dad’s helper, and that will, as they get older, alleviate some of that stress that we feel when you know, everything feels like it’s caving in on us. And the last thing is just go to God in prayer every single day. When you get to that point where you’re frustrated or overwhelmed or tired, remember that He is our source of strength.

– Yeah, and you brought up the, just showing our kids the example. That’s a part of, like you can’t expect your children to rely on Christ, rely on the word of God, when they get older if they never see you do it. You can’t expect them to do something you’ve never shown them what it looks like to do. So being the example and saying, you know, this is how I renew my strength, this is how I walk, and you know what? We had a conversation with a couple a little bit ago, and the encouragement to them was you know, for the husband, I said, “Are you helping train the kids in a way “that gives your wife time throughout the day “to get in the word of God and to pray “and to rejuvenate her spirit?” And what that might look like is and evening or a morning Bible time, where you’re teaching the kids to sit still and have a quiet time and to listen because then your wife can sit there and say, “Hey, you guys are gonna do quiet time now “because Mama’s gonna be in the word of God.”

– And they know.

– And they know-

– They know how to do it.

– And it takes time, and it takes intentionality.

– They know the purpose.

– It’s not easy, but they can do it. So our kids know that if Mom tells them that they’re gonna do quiet time, they’re gonna play, they’re gonna draw, they’re gonna open a book and read it, that she’s gonna spend time for herself. And that she doesn’t need to be getting all of her energy sucked out all day, constantly.

– Okay, so we’re gonna move on to the last question that we have, which is from Jacqueline D. And it says, “In busy parenting seasons when you have “lots of littles, what are some key ways to continue “putting your spouse first and remembering to pray “for them throughout the day? “I need practical action steps! “What has worked in your daily routines?” So I love this question because it’s very practical.

– Yeah, so we did an episode that we talked about intentional date nights. This is something that we’ve implemented this last year because we were so sporadic with it, it almost never happened. But we’re like, no, every week, it’s on the calendar, and we’re gonna go on a date. Now, there’s some weeks we don’t, but it’s on the calendar ever single week. So I would say having that intentional, like, we are gonna go and be alone. You know what we tell our kids? Remember, teaching our kids the marriage-centric, the Christ-centric relationship, they say, “Oh, where are you guys going?” “Oh, I’m taking Mommy on a date.” “Oh, why?” “Well, I love Mommy, and I want to be alone with Mommy. “And I want to spend time with her because “we like to talk, and we like to be with each other.” And so our kids, every single week, they know now. They used to like have a hard time when they knew we were leaving because the babysitter- “Oh, the babysitter’s here, you’re leaving.” And they would have a hard time with it, but now they get excited about it.

– Mm-hmm. They always tell us to have fun.

– “Oh, are you gonna take Mommy on a date tonight?”

– “Where are you going?” They’re excited.

– And so now, they’re learning date night, and they’re learning that, no, actually, we take time to be with each other and be alone, just us, so we can talk.

– But we have to make that a priority, and I just want to encourage those listening, you don’t have to wait for a specific age. Like don’t let that question pop into your head of like what age should I be telling my son or daughter, just-

– Right away.

– Right away! Our youngest is one right now, and we even tell him, and he’ll come and give us a hug and then go play, and he’s totally fine with the babysitting-

– He had the hardest time because he’s just the youngest, and he loves it, but he learned.

– He’s learning, and so I would just say don’t shy away from talking to them and giving the big answers when they have questions of why is that the way, why are you doing that? Give them big answers.

– Like the Old Testament tells us, it says “Raise their children the way they should go, “and when they get older, they will not depart.” So we’re teaching them that date night’s important, and we’re teaching them that mom and dad, we love each other enough to go be alone with each other. That we don’t, we tell them that hey, now it’s our time. We’re gonna go, and it’s just gonna be us. And so I would say that’s one practical thing is put a date night on the calendar. If it can’t be in the evenings, maybe your schedule’s just that way, we’ve done breakfast dates.

– Do morning dates, yeah. They’re great.

– We’ve done breakfast dates. It could be, you know, figure it out. Maybe it’s a lunch date, you know, if you can get an hour away. But put it on the calendar and make that a priority.

– The other thing that I would say is nightly routine. This was really hard for us in the beginning when we just had one kid because we were still trying to, we were still trying to do our own thing, and we just kind of let Elliot tag along. Do you remember those nights where we’d stay out ’til like 11:00 and stuff, and it just wasn’t-

– Yeah, there was no schedule, really.

– There was no schedule, there was no, there was no nightly routine, and we realized when Olive came along, how important it was to have that nightly time together because we were both feeling really exhausted.

– Well, exhausted and there was nothing there, there was nothing left at the end of the night for us.

– Yeah, for us, and so when our second child came along, we realized the importance of this, and we started establishing a nightly routine. And we were not good at it, by any means. But as we started practicing it, and seeing the value in it, we’re at a point now where all of our kids pretty much go to bed at the same time, and it’s glorious. We both like, we have time to take showers and get ready for bed-

– We can get in the word. We can talk, we can be intimate.

– Yeah, like, ah, it’s really awesome. I’ve loved it.

– So we have that, we have that time, and it’s a good couple hours. We don’t just let them up and you know, suck, again, all of those times we have to- They learn boundaries, and they learn order. And we get to benefit from that and learn to be self-controlled and self-disciplined, and that’s what it really is, is having a self-disciplined and orderly home.

– And I would say that the key to all of this is being consistent because when you’re inconsistent-

– The same thing every time, all the time.

– Yeah, it has to be the same thing all the time or else the kids know that they can get away with stuff, or they just don’t know, and they don’t know what to expect, and that kind of sets them off a little bit. And so when you’re consistent with your kids, I feel like that is key, a key component to establishing some of these routines, whether it’s date night or nightly routine.

– So another thing that you can do, because she mentioned praying throughout the day for her husband specifically, but for your spouse. Some practical things you can do with that is just get into a habit of prayer. So one thing that we do is every morning, as a family, we sit around the table, and we get in the word of God, and we pray. I’ll pray for Jennifer out loud, our kids will hear it, and they learn like, “Oh, Dad prays for Mom.”

– So kind of just that idea of incorporating, making prayer a corporate event for the whole family.

– Yeah, so it becomes a habit, and you do it, and you get in this mentality of like, “Man, I need to, I want to pray for this, “I want to pray for that.” And then, in the evenings, we pray with the kids, we pray as a family, Jennifer and I will pray before bed. So having those times, it’s called coupling, taking something that you already do all the time and adding prayer to it and say, oh, in that time-

– We’re gonna say a prayer.

– I’m gonna pray. Maybe it’s during a shower, you know, I’m gonna pray, or a bath. Before bed, at breakfast, at lunch time. Just having those times that you know are consistent and make those times of prayer. Another practical thing, I thought about this when we were writing these notes, is we all have smart phones nowadays. Pretty much everyone does. And put it in your calendar.

– That’s good, set a reminder.

– Set a reminder for like every hour, or twice a day, it’ll just go “Pray for your husband,” “Pray for your wife.”

– I love that, it’s a good idea.

– That’s just a fun one. Do you have any practical ways that they can pray for their spouse?

– Well, as you were talking, I was thinking about our books, which some people have, a lot of people have used for building that habit of prayer, and it’s 31 Prayers for Your Husband and Wife, but we also have 31 Prayers for Your Son and Daughter, and so I think-

– Oh, yeah!

– You can couple those, for sure, and just make prayer time a very specific time where you know, you’re keeping track because you’re in a book, and you can keep that bookmark there. But I think that that’s a really practical one.

– Well, when we actually, we wrote these, not to replace your prayer time, but to be a catalyst for a habit of prayer. So you go through it for 31 days, and it’s every day, and you write your own prayers in there, and you read the prayer that we wrote out, but it’s for you and your spouse or your children. And then you use that as as, you know, after 31 days, you can build, that’s how you form a habit. And you’ll know, oh, I can do this. I kinda know the way to pray, the things I could be praying for. It gives you ideas to pray for things, so if you want, you can check out our books, the 31 Prayers for Your Husband and Wife, or the 31 Prayers for Your Children books. That’s a good, practical way to get in the habit of praying throughout the day and being intentional about your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with God.

– Yeah, again, just to go back to the beginning of this question, she said in busy seasons. Now, I know busy seasons come and go. Sometimes it feels like we’re in them for several years, but I want to encourage you not to forsake your relationship with God or put it on the back burner just because you have a long to-do list. I’m preaching to myself here. I do this, I still wrestle with this because I get in the habit of you know, writing out this to-do list, and I go throughout my day, and I’m just boom, boom, boom, checking stuff off, and I realize at the end of the day, I haven’t prayed yet, and so I just want to encourage you to make sure that you’re not forsaking prayer, you’re not forsaking getting in the word, just because you have a lot of stuff to do.

– Yeah, they one thing that I always get out, and this is something that I’ve been practicing this year, specifically, is making many little changes. Things that I know that I can sustain, not a big, like, I’m gonna read five chapters a day, and I’m gonna, you know, like with my going to the gym. I could start off with like, I’m just gonna try once a week, with no big goals in mind, but just can I get up early and go to the gym? So find ways in your life to make those small changes. Like I said, at breakfast time, if that’s something that you do as a family pretty regularly, then at breakfast time say hey, I’m gonna, we’re gonna pray. And that’s a small thing that you could easily get consistent with, and that makes it easier for the next thing you add on because that’ll be, just happen, and you’ll be like, oh, now at lunch time, we’re gonna pray.

– And just to encourage those listening, if you are in a place where you’re not doing something consistently, as a whole family, together, maybe start there. Maybe talk with your spouse about choosing one thing throughout the day where you can, you know for a fact that we are going to do this together-

– Every day.

– And start there, yeah.

– And the reason I bring this up, forming those habits is, like you were just talking about in the busy seasons, it’s harder to-

– Establish them.

– No, it’s harder to break the habit when you’re in the busy season. So instead of not having any sort of foundations or habits when the busy season comes, you can’t even, yeah, you’re busy. Like, it’s just gonna be throw out the window, all those extra things, but if you start now when you’re not busy, and when you can throw in those little, those little life changes, those small baby steps that become lifestyles for you. When the busy season comes, it’ll hurt to not do them, you know? Again, going back to the gym, when we went and did a, we just traveled a couple weeks ago, it hurt me to not do it because I was so consistent with it, I was like hey, can we … We actually had to drive like 30 minutes from where-

– It was strange because we’ve never gone on vacation before where you’ve asked to work out. That was, it was cool, though.

– And that’s why I’m bringing it up is because, because it’s been such a part of my daily routine now, it hurts to not do it.

– That’s a good point.

– And so instead of thinking of where you want to be, know that the only way to get there is to take a lot of baby steps. And so just how can you simply just add those spiritual disciplines in small baby steps at a time? And you know what? They’ll become a part of your life, and they’ll become a part of who you are as a family. And in the busy seasons, it’ll be that much harder to throw those out because they’ll just be so much a part of your family. What you’ll find happening is all the things that you were gonna throw in, get thrown out because it’s like, oh, we can’t do that because we wanna like, still do this while we’re traveling or while we’re in this busy season.

– So we hope that you guys enjoyed this episode of Marriage After God and talking about marriage after kids. We loved answering your questions. I hope that we did a good job about that based off the experience that we’ve had and the perspectives that God has given us about children. And just know that children really are a blessing. If you’re listening right now, and you’re married, and you don’t have kids, we just want to encourage you to at least pray about it and ask God, like hey, what’s your perspective on kids and get into the word and find out what God’s heart is for kids. If you are like us, in that busy season of raising little ones, we want, we hope that this episode today just inspired you to take a look at your kids and be reminded that they are a blessing and that they are there as a gift from God to you, and that you’re training them right now for the future of your family and what that looks like years down the road. And if you’re sitting here with older kids, or maybe you’re empty nesters, just spend time today thanking God for them. Thank God for all the memories that you’ve built together. If you have children that maybe, maybe you have a broken relationship with them, we just want to encourage you to go mend that. Pray about it, pray about their hearts, and ask God to restore those relationships because children really are a blessing, no matter what age they are.

– And the last thing I want to remind you of, is we, it’s the reason we started this show, is that your marriage is a ministry. A marriage after God is one that the marriage is being used for His kingdom work, His kingdom ways, and you know, what God’s desire is for the world. And one of the ways we do that is by discipling our children, by seeing them the way God sees them, and so we get to do that. We get to minister to our children, we get to minister to each other, and we get to let the blessing of children mature us and grow us and sanctify us the way God desires it to, if we let it, like I said. And so, we just want to thank you for joining us for this week’s episode, and we look forward to having you next week.

– Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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