Marriage is hard work: sometimes it comes naturally, other times not so much. Adoption and infertility treatments can be stressful for your marriage so having a solid foundation is vital. You will soon be moving into another phase of your lives and will be very busy caring for your child.
It’s important that your marriage doesn’t take a back seat during your adoption journey, as difficult as it may feel. Paying attention to your marriage is of crucial importance during this time in your life. A healthy relationship will benefit your current and future children. Plus, birth mothers desire a stable, two-parent home for their child. Many birth parents actually choose adoption because those two attributes are something that they cannot provide at this point in their lives.
A healthy marriage demands that both partners give 100% of their effort continually. It takes two to make a marriage work. Here are seven ways to keep your marriage strong, healthy, and exciting in the midst of your adoption wait:
1. Exercise together
It’s been said that couples who run together have fun together. So choose an exercise that you can bond over and make it part of your schedule. You might plan to volley the ball back and forth on a tennis court, shoot hoops together, or take part in a class at your local gym. No matter what kind of activity you select, your relationship will benefit from it.
2. Put date night on your calendar
Chances are, it’s been a while since your last date night. So it’s time to put date night on your calendar! It can be something simple and inexpensive, like packing a picnic lunch and going to a park. Hold hands while you take a walk around the neighborhood or spend the night enjoying a movie together. No matter how crazy, chaotic, or stressful your life might be right now, the goal is that you carve out time for each other.
3. Get a babysitter
If you’re parenting or fostering right now, don’t feel guilty for getting a babysitter for the night. It could even be just a few hours during the day. So that you can show up in a healthy way for your kids, you must take care of yourself. Part of this self-care involves taking care of your marriage. If paying for a babysitter isn’t in your budget right now, you might ask a family member.
4. Enjoy a show together
Especially during the pandemic, there’s nothing better than cuddling up and watching a show you both enjoy. Just think about all the bonding you can do over the excitement of a show like Games of Thrones. TV shows are a fun way to spend time together! Just try not to skip ahead while you wait for a time to watch with your partner!
Writing in a journal can help process emotions and find just the right words to explain how you’re feeling. This journal can become a helpful tool to maintain a strong relationship. Just don’t use the journal as a way for you to complain about your spouse!
You might consider inviting your partner to read parts of it so that they can better understand your feelings and thought processes.
6. Seek counseling
Most people think of marriage counseling as something you do when your marriage is falling apart. But that’s not the only reason to go to counseling.
When you’re going through a marriage transition in your life such as adoption, counseling is a great option to pursue. Stress, even if it’s positive, can be hard on a relationship. Seeing a counselor can provide both of you with important tools to keep your marriage healthy and happy.
7. Fight clean
It’s important not to let the stress of your adoption journey turn into unnecessary stress on your relationship. It’s totally valid to feel sad, angry, or disappointed. But that doesn’t justify snapping at your partner over trivial things.
If you do start to argue, take a moment to breathe. Then, ask yourself if you’re really angry with your spouse or if the problem roots from frustration with your adoption process. When you argue, always keep the conversation focused, clean, and fair.
Strengthen the Foundation of Your Marriage
Putting energy into keeping your marriage strong will save you heartache later on. Regardless of what happens or how hard things get, remember that you’re on the same team. Concentrate on strengthening the foundation of your relationship. You’ll soon be moving into another phase of your lives and will be very busy caring for your baby!
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally-recognized adoption expert and the Founder of Lifetime Adoption Agency. She has been working in adoption since 1986 and is also an award-winning author and speaker.
Mardie knows the sorrow of coping with infertility, and is an adoptive parent who experienced many of the challenges adoptive families might face. In various media appearances worldwide, publications, and her podcast, Mardie important steps that must be taken to complete a safe and secure adoption. Having adopted her son, Mardie knows firsthand the joys of raising an adopted child.
Mardie’s life mission is to help adoptive parents and birth parents find each other. With Lifetime Adoption Agency, she seeks to build happy families and provide precious infants and children with a loving and secure future.