7 Ways To Have A Great Marriage For The HOmeschooling Couple

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Originally published August 2013

Marriage =  that blessed union between a man and a woman, and when a couple stands before a minister and says their wedding vows, it is done with love and anticipation of a long and happy life ahead.

I don’t know about you but our first year of marriage was amazing. Oh sure, we both had to make a few adjustments as we learned to live with a new person. But when a man and woman fall in love with pure and godly intentions and are truly, head over heals in love and can hardly wait to get married, that first year can be something to remember with fondness for many years to come.

Wedding PIcture

And then the children start coming. Blessed children who are sent from God. Our first child was born two weeks after our first wedding anniversary, and from then on about every two years a new child joined our family.

It has been busy. A time of blessing, where my heart is so full it wants to burst from the joy of having children. But it also brings along great responsibility in raising these children up. The day to day routines threaten to steal the joy out of raising them. Willful attitudes, colicky babies, hormonal teens (we aren’t there yet!) – these can all put strain on parents.

And then you add homeschooling on top of that. Another wonderful blessing full of great joys, yet it can bring tremendous pressure of trying to educate your children using the perfect curriculum, the perfect schedule, with the perfect atmosphere in the home.

Somewhere along the way, the marriage quickly becomes the thing that gets what  little energy is left over. Between multiplication and ABC’s, the marriage gets the 10 minute recess break, than it’s back to work we go, as we plunge into more homework and housework.

Family picture

One day disaster hits. That day when you wake up and look at your spouse and realize you don’t know who he is anymore. Or when your spouse hands you divorce papers, and you wake up out of your daze of grading papers and wiping sticky fingers, and you realize that your marriage is over.

These are not just made up stories. They happen, and do happen way more often than they should. You might appear to be that wonderful homeschool family that everyone loves,  but closed doors there might be intense fights, or emotional abuse, or even affairs happening in secret.

How do marriages fall apart? It really comes down to two things. Either one party walks away from the Lord and starts living for self, or else neglect happens to the marriage and slowly the couple drifts apart.

When your family was created, it was just the two of you. Husband and wife. When your marriage ends, it will {most times} be just the two of you. Your children will be grown with their own lives and children. Suddenly you have to live with just this man again and you don’t want him to be a stranger.

Between those math lessons, breaking up arguments, chore charts and bedtime prayers, you must find time for your husband. Time to cherish him and let him know that you adore him just as much now as you did the day you married him, if not more.

I get it. Really I do. It can be hard to pull away from the busy days and stop to focus on my marriage. I’ve found when I do though, I’m so much happier and content with my daily routines. Why? Because I’ve got a man who loves me! I’m a woman, not just a mama, and stopping to show some love to my husband reminds me of that. 

Practical Ways to Show Love

When you have a house full of little ones who are always present, it is more challenging to be spontaneous and purposeful about your marriage. Here are some of my favorite ways to show my husband I love him.

1. Be romantic with the children present. Let’s face it, if we waited to kiss our husband until the children were not present there would be little kissing going on! This past year I’ve found myself more than once kissing my husband with a toddler inches away from us, or an older child tapping one of us on the shoulder asking us a question. 10 seconds later they will still be there, so don’t stop just to answer a question! 🙂 Also, for those of you who might feel uncomfortable kissing your spouse in front of your children, remember children feel most secure in a loving environment. It is perfectly healthy for them to see you kiss each other and give each other a hug! Just save the passionate kisses for private. 🙂

sean and caroling kissing

2. Do date nights at home. I don’t do this near often enough, but there are times when I put the children to bed early, or send them downstairs to watch the Duggars and my husband and I have dinner together just the two of us. You can even do dinner with the children, and then have a dessert date of ice cream, and sit and talk together.

3. Do activities with him that he likes to do. This can be with the children present, for example I’ve been going to the track with my husband a lot. We both enjoy doing it, but I especially enjoy this husband/wife time of camaraderie as we walk/run together. Many nights we are not even staying in time together on the track, but as we pass each other by we encourage each other to keep going, and come home both feeling great that we got out of the house. Our children play in the middle of the track as we exercise. Your husband might like to ride bikes, play tennis, shoot his gun, read a book, or even just work on the house together! Learn to enjoy an activity along with him.

4. Watch a movie together! It can be hard to find good quality movies to watch together, but I’ve been blessed with a husband who loves to watch Jane Austen movies with me. Gotta love a man who will sit through Sense and Sensibility, or even better, a six hour mini series of Pride and Prejudice. We divided that last one into quite a few evenings. 🙂 Take a friday night and snuggle in bed together watching a movie on the laptop.

5. Listen to music as a couple. Before we had children, we have many memories of sitting on the couch together listening to our favorite classical music. A tradition we started was to attend a concert together during the last trimester of each pregnancy. It is always so fun to feel the baby respond to the music, and enjoy that time with each other before the new baby comes. One pregnancy we just didn’t have the money for tickets, so my husband set up a huge screen with nice speakers (he borrowed them) and we spent an evening listening to a concert at home!

6. Go away for the weekend! This involves more planning and saving to get away, but I recently surprised my husband with a one night getaway at a bed and breakfast about an hour away from us. Before we both started school again (me with the children and him back to college) I wanted us to get away and build some wonderful memories. It was glorious. We were in a gorgeous old home, and we enjoyed swimming, paddle boating, dancing to old love songs, talking, watching a movie, shopping, and talking about the children of course. 🙂 Yes, that money could have been spent towards his college loan, but sometimes you need to decide what is most important. I knew the year that was coming ahead of us, and Sean’s Senior year of college is bound to be quite stressful and hectic. The money was well spent.

bed and breakfast

7. Flirt With Your Husband. Let him know in the little ways that you love him. Send him a text message letting him know you are thinking about him. Slip a note in his lunch box, which can be romantic or sweet. Leave a note on his steering wheel. Send him an email. Write him a love letter.  If he doesn’t answer his phone, leave him a voice message. We’ve done some fun voice messages over the years. 🙂 Be creative! If your husband is going away on a business trip, make a flat hubby and and take some fun pictures to text/email to him and brighten his day!

I’m not very creative when it comes to special date nights. We created this 30 Days of Loving Your  Man challenge because I know sometimes the wife just wants the ideas given to her, so she can act on it. You receive 30 printable cards, each day with different ideas on how to love on your man in a special way!

I also have a Pinterest board on Marriage/love where I’ve compiled some of my favorite ideas.

Having been married almost 11 years now, I feel like I still have a long road to walk in regards to my marriage. But I’ve spent time observing other marriages, what keeps the strong ones together and what makes the weak ones end in divorce. The above ideas are what I’ve come up with to strengthen my marriage during the days and weeks, and not just stop on our anniversary to remember that we are married and do something romantic.

What do you do to keep your marriage alive and healthy?

23 Comments on 7 Ways to Have a Great Marriage For The Homeschooling Couple

  1. Thank you for posting this! I was just thinking about this subject and feeling convicted for not paying more attention to my husband. We just had our 4th child a month ago and I’ve been busier and know I’m definitely lacking in this area. Thanks again!

  2. This is just beautiful and so true!! What a beautiful testimony of love and simple faith 🙂 The Lord is delighted with living this way and it brings Him glory! Thank you for blessing me today 🙂
    PS do we have a winner of the Giveaway…I have several people asking~

  3. Overjoyed to have found your blog; this post really resonated with me, being a homeschooling mom myself ( and very date night deprived lol! We really need to make them weekly).

  4. New baby here, too, so really trying hard to remember to love on my husband between the feedings, tiredness, our three other kids, and homeschooling. He needs to feel loved and cared for, too. I try to do simple things I know he likes. Make him homemade jam, love notes, make him a nice lunch, give him time alone to read his Bible and books in the evening, tell him simply that I love him, be complimenting, and try my best to keep the house up. I think most definitely our men need to feel needed on a physical level, too, so I try to remember those needs also.

  5. Thanks for the wonderful reminders. My hubby and I ran together in high school and college competitively. After 17 years of marriage, we are still running. It is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and stay in shape for one another. Not to mention, it is a great example to your children. Three of my older children run on a homeschool cross country team.

  6. I agree, my first year of marriage was the best year of my life! Many of my friends, though, said it was their hardest. Like you, things became more difficult once we had our first baby. I think it was harder for me to transition to being needed 24 hours a day (or at least on call!) Thanks for the encouraging post!

  7. okay so i L.O.V.E LOVE your shirt in the pic of you and your husband mid-smooch :):):):) It’s amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I love point number one and I love the last one as well. I’m nearly 21, and the oldest of 6, and, while this may sound weird, I am APPRECIATIVE that my parents flirt with each other 🙂 It’s sort of like, “not only do we love each other, but we still LIKE each other after all these years :):):)”

  8. Great, practical points! The last thing we want to do is wake up one day living with a stranger who believes we’ve put anyone else in front of him.
    For me, couple time comes every evening. Once the kids are tucked in, it’s just us. Usually we read a few pages from a marriage, parenting, or Christian living book, talk a little, and then watch something on the computer (my husband’s favorite wind down activity).
    I don’t think there’s ever been a time when my husband thought I was putting the kids or computer higher than him because of this routine.

  9. We love the “family dates” around here. Married a little over 2 years with a 15 month old bundle of energy… we’ve gotten pretty creative! Once when he was younger (and more willing to sleep in the Ergo), we strapped him to my husband’s back and my husband and I played a 5 hour game of Axis and Allies! 🙂 We also ran when our son was younger (life has gotten too hectic for it now), and, like you, I thoroughly enjoyed that time together — and eventually I started enjoying running, too!

    Thanks for encouraging us to be wives FIRST, then mommas. Blessings!

  10. These are great and practical ideas even for couples who don’t home school! As a marriage counselor I always express to my clients how important it is that they show affection and have a solid marriage for their children to see and follow since this will be the basis of what they look for in a relationship when they come of age. Also, when mom and dad are happy, it makes for a much healthier environment for the children. So many mothers believe their children should come first rather than their marriage, not realizing that their marriage is just as important for their children as their quality time with mom.

  11. What a great reminder. I’ve been married almost 20 years. My husband and I are realizing the importance of spending time together. My mom empty nested last year and announced a couple months ago, after 41 years, she doesn’t want to be married any more. This scares me and we’re diligently praying and working on our marriage even more than before to prevent such a tragedy. The kids can’t be the only thing that keeps a couple together. The most important thing is having Jesus in the middle. I heard on the radio (I may not have the numbers perfect) that Christian couples still have a 50% divorce rate, about the same as a non-Christian couple. However, couples that pray together only have a tiny percent chance of divorce. I think that number was 3%, but it was definitely less than 10%. Make your marriage a priority. Pray together. Do stuff together. Talk together. Connect. Love.

  12. Every person who has advised my husband and I, or any book we have read has said to date your spouse. It seems that the successful marriages of 40+ years almost all do that! My husband and I are trying to be very intentional about having regular date nights, at home and away, and its been really fun to think up creative date ideas! And on a side note, you have such a beautiful family! 🙂 Love the pictures.

  13. My husband works 2nd shift and farms when he’s not working, so our together time is extremely limited. We’ve been married almost 13 years and were blessed with twins during our 2nd year of marriage. When the twins were 3, we had baby #3. Six years ago we implemented Date Night, but at home. On Saturday nights without fail, we order breadsticks from our local pizza place and watch a movie after the kids are in bed. The kids know this is our time and respect it. It has kept us close, even after all these years of such limited contact 🙂

  14. I think this is perfect advice for ALL couples.

    Only today I wrote about couples after children (empty-nesters) and the importances of rekindling ones love and romance.

    We are heading for 28 years this year and it does take work to stay together but its worth it.

  15. I appreciate your words but you are still fairly “young” in your marriage life and your kids are young…I think at this point you should read and gleam from “older” moms and be careful of giving an advice or judgement…

    • Caroline is still fairly “young” in her marriage, and her children are young…those are true statements. She does read and glean from “older moms.” As far as, her giving advice or judgement…if any is given in this post, it is based on what she has gleaned from “older moms,” or what she has witnessed in extended family experiences, or what God intended marriage to be. The seven ways are what has worked for HER marriage. And, in her last paragraph, she admits that she still has a long road to walk in regards to her marriage. She never claims to know it all. And, I think I’m safe in saying, like Caroline, we all have observed the makings of a strong or weak marriage.

  16. This is great! (And I’m currently watching the 6 hour Pride and Prejudice with my husband, it’s one of my favorites!!)

  17. My I highly recommend reading the Five Love Languages together? My husband wasn’t willing to read the book but he did take the test and let me read portions of the book to him. :-). It was SO eye opening. Our love languages are opposite and we had never really thought of that. Thankfully there was even a couple mentioned in the book who had our love languages so as I read about how they viewed one another and why they got angry it really resonated for us.

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