Here is a list of things that has helped my international marriage survive the blaze of the toddler years. It’s not always easy, but for those of us with faith in God, we will make it through no matter what the outcome!
Put God First
Make time with God a priority. The Bible says to seek Him and his Kingdom first and then all of those other things you’re worrying about will fall into place. Whenever I have been in trouble in my life, God has always been there to pull me through, but I had to earnestly seek him in those times!
Put your Husband Next in Priority after God
I know it can be tempting to get caught up in the kids, especially when you have toddlers (Like me!), but never forget that you married your husband, not your kids. Your kids should learn early on that when dad is talking, it’s time to listen. If a man is not respected in his own home, you’re going to have a messy situation. Unfortunately, it is possible to put your best into your marriage and still have it fail, but always remember that God is with us no matter what trial we face in life, and that sometimes we must stand up for what’s right even at the cost of our most precious relationship.
Don’t Bombard Your Husband When He Wakes Up
I made this mistake constantly in the beginning of my marriage. I’ve never been one to hold my emotions inside, but this can be absolutely devastating to your relationship. Even if you just can’t shake something from your mind, honesty is always the best policy, but so is timing. Men have a tendency to want to fix problems as soon as they see them, so sometimes it’s a good idea to wait, even if it seems impossible.
Limit Discussion on Important Topics with Your Husband When He’s Hungry
It’s always a good idea to make sure your husband is not on an empty stomach when you start talking about important topics like finances, in-laws, or whatever else might be on your mind. Even Naomi when she was telling Ruth how to approach Boaz said to wait until after he had eaten to approach him.
Practice Self-Control in Little Things
How’s your diet looking like lately? You don’t have to look like a supermodel, but it’s very important to take care of your body. Many of the processed foods out there are filled with all kinds of additives and preservatives that destroy your metabolism. Even Japan has mountains and mountains of additives in food now, so it’s best to pay attention. Local farmers are always the best way to go.
How about your phone? Do you have a habit of constantly looking at your phone? Are you always on Facebook or texting your socks off? Sometimes it’s nice for everybody in the family to just take a break from electronics and sit down, read some books, or just enjoy the sunshine.
How about your morning and bedtime routines? Vickie Bentley over at the Home School Legal Defense Association(HSLDA) recommends to make sure that you’ve got the morning and evening schedules down so that when the day turns sour, you can have some relief in knowing that at least your morning and evening went as planned. Getting some kind of routine in will really help if you decide to homeschool later.
Discipline Children Consistently
If you don’t practice some form of discipline with your kids, they will quickly overpower you and turn your home into a living nightmare. Children must be taught what is expected of them and then this must be enforced. A wonderful way to start this is by practicing 3 consistent meals a day and snack time. This is a really great way to teach kids how to set the table and will encourage them to eat vegetables they don’t like. I really longed as a child to sit down together for meals, so mealtime is a big deal in our house.
Give your Husband Lots and Lots of Praise
It might feel like you are the only one drowning, but it’s possible that your husband is feeling the pressures of parenthood just as heavily as you are, he’s just expressing it differently. Many husbands cheat on their spouses during the toddler years due to stress at home and other factors, so be sure to let your husband know you appreciate him.
Fast and Pray for Your Spouse
If you’re like me, there will be times when you get angry at your spouse and wish that he would just get out of sight, even though you love him. Always remember to lift your spouse up in prayer, especially when you find yourself angry at them. Never forget that your marriage is the most prized possession that you have from God. Your marriage is worth more than your career, it’s worth more than a new car, and it’s worth more than winning some silly argument. That’s why it hurts so bad when you lose a marriage. Before you decide anything rash, be sure to pray for your spouse.
Be Honest about Your Limits
As much as we would love to be able to do everything perfectly and completely, life doesn’t allow for that. Let your husband know when you’re feeling overwhelmed. I’ve seen some “mommy blogs” acting like you’re always supposed to have everything together, but no one can do it all. Especially in those first years of parenthood, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It’s also good if you’re getting overwhelmed by social media to just turn it off for a while.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes… (Psalm 101:3)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
May God bless you today and everyday!