In marriage we go through the transitions of life. Nancy and I had five years of marriage before our first child was born. Five years of just us and we needed every minute. Getting married at twenty, thinking we knew everything about marriage, then finding out we knew very little was a revelation for us. In those years, we learned, grew together, fought a lot, and made up a lot. This is the time when you lay the foundation in a marriage. You begin to figure out each other and marriage. You realize marriage takes work but you also begin reaping the benefits of all that work. It is such an important part of marriage as you solidify your commitment to each other for life.
Just when we thought we had this marriage thing down we transitioned into having kids, adding one baby and then another. Actually, one child was not that hard for us. Sure, there were adjustments but we loved being parents and embraced those roles. We did a good job of praying together and kept date nights a priority but we still fought too much. For every couple new challenges and opportunities come with each additional child. With one child, it is easier to still carve out time for each other but with two you have to be much more intentional. Each child brings new transitions. As we went through these, there were times that we drifted apart. Life was hectic and the demands were ever increasing. We got pretty good at recognizing the signs of drifting and learned the importance of reconnecting.
The transitions that occur with having children often make or break a marriage. It is easy to put the marriage on “coast.” It is easy to not put the effort and time into the marriage. That never works. We have to pour into our marriage every day. I see this stage as one that is critical to a marriage and to a family. When a couple grows distant, a number of bad things can happen. Needs that are designed to be met in marriage are not. A connected couple becomes a disconnected couple. The red flags will be there. We just have to see them.
So what is the answer? Transitions are going to happen in your marriage. That is reality. Staying connected during these transitions and even growing your marriage through them is not only possible but I think it is essential. First, seek God together. Ask for His wisdom and guidance as you navigate times of transition. Second, make your marriage a priority. Treat each other well. Find time each day to connect. Have dates. Model a great, healthy marriage for your kids. That commitment you made together before God at the altar was forever. He is doing His part. The rest is up to each of you.