How to Love Your Spouse Well During the Busy Parenting Years

I’m so pleased to share with you my dear friend and gifted writer, Valerie Murray from Cord of 6. She is a Mama to 4 beautiful children and is on the go nonstop, so if anyone can relate to your struggles to loving your spouse well during these years, she can! She loves her husband and family great BIG, but her heart follows after Jesus first and foremost. His love then flows over onto everyone in her life. May you be encouraged, inspired, and given new hope as you find ways to love your spouse well during the busy parenting years!  

Valerie’s post is the third post in the Building a Lasting Love Story #MarriageSeries! Click on the images to find the first two posts!

Building a Lasting Love Story - A 6-week series with the secrets to loving your spouse well in each season of marriage. Join guest writers as they share their secrets and truths from each stage of marriage. -Lori Schumaker - Searching for Moments  As a new wife, you have entered a season of brand new. Of transition and learning. Loving well isn't all about the romance and steamy sex! It's about something much much more. -The One Way to Love Well as a New Wife - Building a Lasting Love Story Marriage Series - Alison Tiemeyer for Lori Schumaker

As time goes on, the beauty of loving our spouse looks different with the changing seasons in life.

As my marriage has progressed over the past 20 years, each season has brought its own joys and struggles.

If I could describe our life with four young kids in the house I would say busy, exhausting, overwhelming and messy.

But I would also say fun, exciting, heartwarming and abundant!

And I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

Loving your spouse well during those busy parenting years is not easy work. Your time is minimal and your exhaustion real. So how do you do it? How do you love your spouse well during the busy parenting years? Valerie Murray for Lori Schumaker's Building a Lasting Love Story #MarriageSeries

The family is a masterpiece God created in order to teach us how to love one another as He loved us.

It requires looking in the mirror and digging deep into the core of who we are in order to see our desperate need for the power of God to enable us to reflect His image.

Learning how to love your spouse with young kids in the house often takes intention and sacrifice @lori_schumaker Share on X

Exhaustion and busyness can easily tire us out causing us to lose the desire to pursue love with the same effort we gave when the relationship was new and our vision was easily focused on one another.

I want to share a few vital ways to keep love alive during the busy parenting season of messy floors and interrupted conversations.

Share the Workload

In the overwhelming parenting years, having a spouse who takes an active role in loving and caring for your children, helps foster love for one another.

My husband never looked more attractive than when I watched him clean up after our car-sick prone kids. If you know me, you know I have a strong aversion to bad smells. I really appreciate that my fireman husband is not afraid to be hands on when life isn’t pretty.

When your spouse takes an active part of parenting and loving your children, it strengthens your love for each other @lori_schumaker Share on X

I love that my husband and I share the responsibility of taking our children to soccer practices, dentist and doctor appointments.

Sharing the workload may look different for each family, and that’s okay. Maybe your husband does the dishes and helps out with chores.

Whatever it is, learn to appreciate what your spouse does do. Be intentional to focus on the positive.

If you long for your spouse to be more involved with the children, be in prayer and communicate your needs to him in a non-confrontational manner. Try writing him a letter or go to a coffee shop and have a “peace talk.”

Peace talks are great to have in public places where you can remain calm.

Take Care of Yourself/Each other

I remember when my kids were under 9 and a trip to the dentist felt like a vacation. Driving to the appointment by myself in a quiet car felt eerie, yet so peaceful.

Sometimes we just need a little quiet to regain our peace of mind. And it can’t always be postponed until your next dentist appointment.

Sometimes you just have to hand over the baby to your hubby and take a break. Go get a pedicure! He’ll be okay! Really! They both will. 😉

Exercise is also an important way to take care of yourself and reduce stress. When my children were young, my husband and I would trade off watching the kids so we could each go to the gym.

Take care of each other by allowing your spouse to have some time to refresh.

Spend Quality Time with your Spouse

I wish I could say that my husband and I date on a regular basis. It hasn’t been easy arranging childcare and paying for a sitter.

But one thing we have done is make a point to celebrate our anniversary every year. My parents watch our kids so we can stay at a B&B for a couple of nights.

These times help us remember how much we love being together. It’s easy to forget the reason why you got married in the first place if you’re not spending time with each other.

It’s always nice to have something to look forward to when the routines and stress of life can often weigh you down.

Is your child at preschool for a few hours? Go on a lunch date.

Is there a church program like AWANA you could sign your kids up for and go out to dinner while they’re there?

Swap watching your friend’s kids so you can go out.

Be intentional to carve out time in your schedule for each other. Even if you can only sneak away for a few hours.

Have Fun Family Time

Every Friday is family movie/pizza night in our house. We all look forward to relaxing together after a busy week.

It’s important to enjoy life with your family.

Laugh. Be silly. Dance. Tell knock-knock jokes. Play “I Spy” while you’re waiting for your food at the restaurant.

Find activities you love doing together. We love going to plays. We’ve seen Scrooged, My Fair Lady, The Music Man and Peter Pan.

Show affection to your husband. Hug in front of the kids. Hold hands.

It’s good for them to see that mom and dad have fun together and love each other.

Fun family time has helped to strengthen our marriage and our family as a whole.

Loving your spouse well during those busy parenting years is not easy work. Your time is minimal and your exhaustion real. So how do you do it? How do you love your spouse well during the busy parenting years? Valerie Murray for Lori Schumaker's Building a Lasting Love Story #MarriageSeries

It’s easy to let exhausting schedules deplete the effort we should be putting into our marriages.

It’s good to take a step back and evaluate how we can make the marriage stronger. It’s important to invest in our relationship so that when the kids move out, our marriage still has a strong foundation of love.

Do you have or remember having young kids in the house? What advice would you give to busy parents struggling to connect?


Bio Pic

Hello! I’m Valerie, a busy mother of four energetic children and a wife to my husband of twenty years. I write about learning to grow closer to God and family through the daily struggles in life. My mission is to bring hope and encouragement to struggling marriages, overwhelmed moms and people striving to face their fears and know their worth. I would love for you to come visit my blog at Cord of 6.

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If this is content you don’t want to miss, consider joining the Searching for Moments Community with access to the Library of Hope. Throughout this series, I have been creating marriage content available only in that library.


I’m excited to bring you Shannon Geurin next week! She’s a beautiful Mama of 2 teenage girls who fiercely loves her husband! She is going to share with us her thoughts on loving your spouse well during the complicated teenage years. Don’t miss it!

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  1. This post resonates with me SO MUCH at this time of our life. We don’t necessarily have young children anymore, our youngest is 7, our middle 12 and our oldest 14, she just started high school. Needless to say it’s still busy. My husband is a full-time pastor and I work full-time at my child’s school, plus run an online mentoring business. Anyway, you’re suggestions are AWESOME!! Being intentional is what it’s all about. And we do Family Move and Pizza Night on Fridays too. It IS a great way to relax after a busy week. Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

    1. Hi, Samantha! It’s so nice to know that other people can relate! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Life is sure busy! Your life sounds busy and full of wonderful blessings. Busy and blessed. Yay…it’s almost Friday too. God bless you!

    2. Wow! You are busy, Samantha! I love that you are being intentional with your relationship, as well. Thanks so much for visiting today!

  2. As a mother of teens I totally agree! As we look forward to the time in our lives when we have an empty nest, we are so glad we’ve invested in our relationship along the way. It’s worth the effort.

    1. You are so right, Angela. In the moment the investment may seem challenging, but the dividends pay out later!

      1. So true, Angela! The investment is worth it. How nice to hear from someone whose invested and seeing the return.

  3. What an encouraging post! I especially love how you said “Whatever it is, learn to appreciate what your spouse does do. Be intentional to focus on the positive.”
    I oftentimes have a hard time asking for help, especially when I know my husband already works a full-time job and then to ask for his help at home is hard for me to do sometimes. And then, when he helps on his own accord it is such a blessing and a huge help to me.
    Loved reading your post, thank you so much!

    visiting from 3D linkup

    1. Hi Bibi,
      Thanks so much for visiting! I SO agree with Valerie and you! Focusing on what he does do is critical! Infusing gratitude in our lives gives us hope in whatever we do!
      Blessings and smiles,

      1. Thank you for commenting Bibi! It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison trap when you hear about a friend’s husband doing something you wish yours would do. But I love what Lori said in the intro to the series. Every marriage is different and what works for one marriage just may not work out the same in another. That’s why it’s been good for me to focus on the things my husband does do. Thank you for your kind words. God bless you!

  4. The young parenting years are hard, but when the kids get older, what parents don’t often realize is that though the daily tasks change, the emotional engagement doesn’t. you stop worrying so much about lunches, a case of the sniffles, and going to play groups and are concerned much more about if they will make it home driving alone at night and if they will make the right decisions when you aren’t there to be a guide anymore and what damage this life will do to them. it can be unrelenting, so being united with your husband is crucial if you’re going to make it for the long haul. Thanks for this great post.

    1. Oh, Karen, I am already seeing that! As my boys have begun to be a bit more independent (I don’t have drivers yet!), I have begun to envision the upcoming years. Driving, dating … oh my stars. Mentally and emotionally exhausting. But God, right! But for Him, I would be a mess!!!!

      1. Oh man…driving…alone…at…night. I can see how my trust in God will be strengthened during those times of letting go. I can see how important it would be to be united with your husband.

  5. Valerie- I love this post! I’m in the thick of it. Five kids ages 2-14.
    It’s so hard to find time for just hubby and I.
    I have on many occasions taken my frustration out on my husband.
    I need to remember we are on the same team, not opposing teams.
    I have to be intentional and look for the gold in my husband. When I focus on the good and take a thankful heart, my heart flows with love toward my husband.
    It’s a choice and I need to be intentional especially during these hard, messy seasons!

    1. Julie,
      You ARE in a really tough time of life. There are aspects of it that are incredible and beautiful, but. it. is. HARD! Valerie is such a great resource for you! She is such an encourager! Keep hanging in there, friend. One step in front of the other. And one next right choice in front of the other. I’d say to focus on one small area of your marriage. I think when we try to do too much, we set ourselves up for failure. Maybe it’s simply picking that intentionality of looking for the gold in your husband. Maybe in a journal or even a whiteboard on the wall where he can see the gold you found! I’m praying for God to continue to fill you with patience, strength, and joy!

      1. I love that, “Looking for the gold in your husband.” I’m going to remember that one, Julie! You’re so right about remembering that we’re on the same team. Hugs to you mama! Keep up the good work!

  6. There are so many great tips here, Valerie! Rev’s schedule was crazy busy when our kids were young. Full-time ministry for a Christian organization and part-time ministry for our church. He worked all day and most night’s and weekends. Once a week we’d ask the kids to go to their rooms early so we could have a quiet dinner for two at home. It’s great for families on a tight budget. Thankfully, that only lasted for a while and became a more flexible schedule where we were able to go on lunch dates. Whatever the plan, you’re right, it’s essential to make time to be a couple!

    1. Oh Deb, I’ve seen my friends who are pastor’s wives go through the same thing. Long working hours can make it so tough to find any time at all. I love how you made the time and improvised for a tight budget too.

  7. Good tips, Valerie! You’re right … it takes intentionality to maintain your relationship during the busy season(s) of parenting … my husband and I go through phases of regular dates and not so many … depending on if it’s football season, etc. But taking time to be together and talk without distractions is key for us.

    1. Ha..well I understand the football season. My hubby loves college football. I think finding time to talk without distractions is also important.

  8. Such a great and necessary reminder! The more we intentionally love our spouse (even when it doesn’t look perfect), the stronger our marriages, parenting, and everything we do will be. It can only benefit us.
    We will get it wrong sometimes and drop the ball. But choosing grace and coming back together makes all the difference!

    1. Becky, I agree. We can’t be perfect and we do get it wrong sometimes but we can at least do our best to pursue our spouse even when life is busy. God bless you!

  9. What a great post, Valerie, and Lori!
    So much wisdom and sound advice mentioned here.
    Appreciate you both~

    1. Thank you, Melanie! I love Lori’s series. What an honor to be a part of it!

  10. Beautiful and absolutely needed. I’ve definitely got to do a better job at a few of these things. Thanks so much for this!

  11. Love this! I know for me, when my husband tag teams parenting with me, it speaks louder than chocolate and flowers combined. I have to be thankful for the small amount he is home though or I can easily become jealous of others who appear to be together daily. God is good and he has shown us He can use the hard places to grow us!

  12. These are great, Valerie and Lori. I’m thankful we learned in the early years to help each other out. Sharing the work load is so helpful and helps keep the stress down. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

  13. So wise. I think love really should be intentional.

  14. This is so great to read! My husband and I have one child at this time, a 3 1/2 month old baby, so it’s helpful to hear your ideas as we embark on the adventure of parenting.

  15. Valerie, one of the best pieces of advice I ever received as a pastor’s wife was to “take care of each other.” When everyone including our children were calling for our attention, we had to make sure we were putting each other first, and by doing this, we were also giving our children a sense of stability and safety to know our family was the priority no matter what. This is such great advice here! Crystal~

  16. Be appreciative of what he DOES do – YAAASSSSS.

    My husband has the energy of a Tasmanian devil. He works from home, usually on the phone and has boundless nervous energy. He’s a do-er. So he washes clothes a lot. I have to hide my non-dryables because he does this. It’s a problem. Only not. Because I don’t have to be responsible for anyone’s clothes except my own, so that’s how I look at it!

    There are so many negative things we can say about our spouses, yet we overlook the good so many times because we see all their faults. Love covers a multitude of sins!

    And YES – I do remember what it was like to have a house full of kids and never any quiet. I kinda miss it now. But it was stressful, and we didn’t have regular dates, but our kids will always remember us kissing and hugging in the kitchen. It’s just something we do!

    Great post, friend. Love this series, Lori!