It's not easy being a stay-at-home mother of small children. I try hard to maintain an orderly household while nurturing my kids, but things have a way of getting out of control. My husband is extremely understanding; still, I can't help feeling bad about the “mess” he often finds when he gets home. What can I do about this?
We're glad you asked. It's only natural that a mum in your position should be completely caught up in the joys and challenges of raising her kids. No one, least of all your husband, could possibly fault you for having little or no energy for anything else at the end of the day. But that doesn't change the fact that your marriage relationship is vitally important. It's the bedrock upon which your family is built, the foundation on which your children's welfare depends. If you don't take the time to keep that relationship healthy and preserve yourself as a couple, you might eventually find the walls of the household crumbling around you. It's good to know that you understand this.
What can you do to strengthen the bond of marital love and keep the fires of romance burning in spite of the stresses and strains of parenthood? Here are a few practical ideas.
When your husband comes home from work, let him know that you're happy to see him. Don't greet him with a laundry list of complaints or “honey-do's” before he's crossed the threshold. Demonstrate your love with a heartfelt embrace. Give him a few moments to unwind if possible before launching into the evening's agenda.
Tired and frazzled as you may be, don't neglect your personal grooming and appearance. Like it or not, even the most committed and principled male is still affected by what he sees. A fashion statement isn't necessary, but freshening up before the evening arrives will make more of an impact than you might realise.
If you're overdue for some time alone with your husband, take the initiative to clear a night, arrange childcare and make some plans. You don't have to wait for him to get the ball rolling.
Many wives complain that their husbands are uncommunicative and won't talk to them. But some of these same women forget that a meaningful conversation is two-sided, not merely in terms of talking but also in terms of listening. When you speak, look for ways to demonstrate that you're genuinely concerned about him and that you want to hear about the issues that may be weighing heavily on his mind. Do you know what's happening at this workplace? He'll feel affirmed if you're as interested in his day's events as you would like him to be in yours.
Last but not least, remember that your husband is strongly affirmed by a positive sexual response from you, just as you are by thoughtful gestures from him. You don't want to be faking it, of course, or participating with gritted teeth, but you need to bear in mind that the physical expression of love is central to the strength of your marriage in some very important ways. He will feel loved and honoured in his own household when you initiate sex, especially if he realises that you've had to plan carefully for intimate time with him at the end of a very busy, tiring day.
This article was extracted by Focus on the Family Malaysia (www.family.org.my) with permission.