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On this episode of Mind Over Motherhood, I talked with Michelle Purta about keeping your marriage healthy.

We discussed managing feelings of resentment in your marriage, how to navigate differing expectations and how to make your marriage work when your spouse works away a lot.

If you’re looking for tips and strategies for keeping your marriage healthy, there is SO much value in this episode and this blog below is a great overview!

Prefer to listen rather than read? Head over and listen to the Mind Over Motherhood Podcast!

 

KEEPING YOUR MARRIAGE HAPPY AS A MOM

 

Michelle Purta is a Marriage Coach for Moms. She is based in California and has 3 children. After becoming a mom, Michelle realized it was too easy to let caring for her marriage slip, and realized that keeping your marriage healthy as a mom was something that many women struggled with.

She now works with women online to help them prioritize their marriages while balancing motherhood and work.

Dive in and read all the details below!

 

KEEPING YOUR MARRIAGE HEALTHY WITH MICHELLE PURTA

KEEPING YOUR MARRIAGE HEALTHY: YOUR MARRIAGE IS THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR FAMILY

 

The foundation of the family is your marriage and deserves intention and attention.

Michelle: “As moms, we are often overlooked, we often don’t ask for support and so therefore we need the most support of everyone. Once I had my second son, I lost myself and as a result I didn’t
really pay attention to my marriage. We started fighting more, I was cranky, I wasn’t really treating my partner fairly

I was expecting him to be a mind reader to be honest. As a mom sometimes we feel like a
total zombie, you’re so tired. It is easy to become laser focused om caring for your helpless new baby and can easily deprioritize your marriage (your husband is a grown adult who can take care of himself, right?”)

 

“I’LL WORK ON IT WHEN THE KIDS GET OLDER.”

 

Michelle shares that a common thought many women have is, “I’ll just work on it when the kids get older because they need me right now and it’s all I’ve got.” 

What women don’t realize is that when you choose to not prioritize your marriage, whether it’s intentional or not, you’re actually rocking the foundation of your family.  When that happens, things go wrong in every possible way.

You may be raising a perfectly good human being… meanwhile you’re basically treating your partner as nothing more than a mate. The partnership is non-existent.

It’s likely this is not why you got married. We often marry to have a partner, a relationship and someone we can share our lives with.

Michelle explains, “We have to remember that it does take continuous effort and take continuous intention in order to reap the benefits of having a true partnership.”

The passion that Michelle has around this subject is obvious.

“I just love empowering women to understand that even though life may seem crazy as a mom, you can still be intentional about prioritizing your marriage and know that it is the BEST thing you can do, aside from working on yourself, for your kids.”

KEEPING YOUR MARRIAGE HEALTHY WHEN YOUR SPOUSE WORKS AWAY

 

Having a really strong marriage is important to create a strong family. There exists such a beautiful interplay having two parents in the household and what that means for the child’s development. 

However, keeping your marriage healthy can get even more complicated if one of the partners lives and works away from the home.

In this situation, it’s common for women to feel resentful, burnt out and overwhelmed as they try to manage a household and family as a part-time single parent.

Furthermore, the routine that they work so hard to create while their spouse is away becomes thrown out the window as soon as he returns for a few weeks. It can be incredibly challenging to keep your marriage healthy in this sort of situation.

Michelle shares, “I would probably equate this more closely to like a military style living situation. It is tough, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. While it may be difficult, remember it is figure-out-able!” 

MICHELLE’S TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR MARRIAGE HEALTHY WITH A “PART-TIME SPOUSE:

  • Create a set schedule based on what is normal for your family.

    • Even with a spouse who works away, there is typically some degree of “normal” routine. Perhaps he works 2-weeks on and 2- weeks off, or he’s home for one week each month.
    • Set a routine based on whatever is predictable for your family. This is important because once you know what “normal” is for your family, you can better work to problem solve as a couple.
    • It’s important to communicate stressors on each side of the relationship as well, so you can decide how to approach and tackle issues as they come up, taking into consideration your partner’s daily stress that you are not exposed to.

  • Be intentional about the time you are together.

    • When you are together, in those blissful times that he/she is home and you have time together as a family, be intentional about how you schedule that time.
    • Be sure to prioritize self-care for both partners. Understand that self-care may look different for both of you and that’s OK.
    • He may need a night out with the boys and you may need a day to get a coffee or just go for a walk. It’s important to communicate that both partners’ needs are valuable and equal.

  • Ask for your “village” for support, lean on your people!

    • When you are a part-time single parent with a partner who works away, it is critical that you depend on your village for support.
    • As moms, we are notorious for not asking for help, but it’s vital.
    • Whether taking care of each other’s kids so you can give one another free time, playdates to help with isolation, sharing meals or just going for a walk, everything is easier to manage when you’re not alone.
    • Lean on your village!

  • Rethink your own expectations for yourself.

    • Are you putting too much on your plate? Are you expecting too much of yourself when you’re on your own? {Sheepishly raises hand.}
    • Michelle encourages moms to kick the “shoulds” and focus more on what is good enough.
    • It’s important to understand that some expectations are not going to be met in every single season of your life. Right now when your spouse works away a lot of the time, it is not realistic to expect yourself to do EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME.
    • As moms and couples, we need to give ourselves the permission to have a house that looks lived in or a sink full of dishes a few nights a week. Our own expectations can be such a huge burden and we need to be mindful of where we are making our jobs harder in our own ways.
    • Michelle says, “I think people need to move away from should and move towards: What are you OK with?  Remember that you are always in a specific season in your life. Just because your house is crazy today, doesn’t mean it will be crazy forever.”

 

KEEPING YOUR MARRIAGE HEALTHY AND MANAGING RESENTMENT

 

Michelle shares that when partners work or live separately, the situation at home can be one that is ripe for breeding resentment.

While the spouse at home is often very appreciative of the fact that their partner is away earning an income for the family, it can also feel like you are doing everything at home and never get a break.

Michelle reminds us that resentment is just a feeling, and we can have the choice to feel it or engage with that feeling. It is common that many people feel victim to whatever emotion they’re experiencing, without realizing that we have a choice in feeling our emotions.

Bring more power back to you.  Instead of thinking that all these things are happening TO you, realize that you have the power to choose how you respond to what is happening. You have the power of choosing how you feel about your spouse working away. You can create the emotional narrative about your situation in your head. 

When you notice the feelings of resentment bubbling up towards your spouse, take it as a sign that it is time to be intentional and examine how your life is arranged.

Can you communicate more what you need from your partner?

Can you shift your perspective from one of frustration to gratitude?

How can you reclaim your own emotional experience in this moment?

 

 

KEEPING YOUR MARRIAGE HEALTHY WITH GOOD COMMUNICATION

 

LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX-PECTATIONS

 

BE HONEST: Do you expect your partner to be a mind-reader when it comes to sex?

Michelle shares that many of her clients feel that they shouldn’t need to express to their partner what they want during sex or how often they want sex.

And if we’re being honest, have you given it any thought what you want in this department?

The first step to clearing up sex expectations is to get clear on them for yourself.

Spend some time reflecting on:

1. How often do you like or need to have sex?

2. Do you prefer having sex in the evening, the morning, the midday?

3. Do you prefer sex to be more spontaneous or more planned?

4. How do you like to be approached for sex? What turns you on?

5. What kind of sex do you prefer? Do you have a favourite position or style?

6. What is important for you during sex? Do you need foreplay? Cuddling? Darkness?

For many women, this may be the first opportunity they have had to reflect on these questions. Yet, for so many of us, we expect our partners to know the answers (when we sometimes don’t even know them!)

 

TO HAVE GOOD SEX, YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT.

 

First of all, it’s important to note that there is no “NORMAL” for how often a married couple should or shouldn’t have sex.

The norm that you have for your relationship is unique to you and should be judgment-free.

It’s important to discuss with your partner how your sex drives differ to make sure that everyone’s needs are being met. Open and honest communication is key in this situation.

It’s also totally fine if you cannot always meet your partner’s sexual needs. Instead, what is more important is that you are communicating regularly and putting in an intentional effort to ensure everyone’s needs are met.

Michelle suggests a strategy of keeping track on your calendar when you have sex so that you can avoid having miscommunciations or resentment around how long or how often you’re having sex.

 

 

WHEN SCREENS + SPORTS SEEM MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU

 

Michelle shared that it is common for women to feel like their partners are constantly distracted by screens or sports on television, and it makes them feel unimportant.

To manage this, Michelle recommends:

1. Trying a dedicated basket where phones and screens go during meals or time together to be intentional about where we are putting our attention.

Another idea is an adult version of a reward chart, or making it a game to see who can go the longest without picking up their phone. The key is to make it fun, intentional and positive.

2. Reflecting on what the screen time or sports time is giving him and realizing that this may be his time to decompress or get self-care.

Again, having an honest conversation about what his screentime and sports is doing for him is important to understand his perspective.

3. Focus on the behaviour you want to see, rather than nagging him for the behaviour you don’t want to see.

Let’s face it, our partners don’t like to be nagged anymore than we do.

Therefore, when our partners are present with us and we feel valued, it’s important to recognize and express your appreciation for that. It is more likely for your partner to respond positively when rewarded or thanked, rather than when he’s nagged or criticized.

 

 

CONNECT WITH MY GUEST:

On Instagram: @michellepurtacoaching

Website: MichellePurta.Com

Michelle also has an amazing Facebook community as well. Marriage and Motherhood is a free community of moms who want to work on their marriage and step into who they really are. Join her there for lots of free content and tools and to connect with other moms!

 

 

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 ARE WE FRIENDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

 

Did you learn something amazing from this episode, or have one of those incredible A-HA moments? Do you know someone else who might benefit from the goodies in this episode?

Be sure to share this episode with them on social media, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest so we can reach more mamas with this message.

I’d love to know if you’re listening and what your favourite take-away is! Be sure to take a screenshot and tag me @carlycrewe on IG!

 

AUTHOR: DR. CARLY CREWE, MD

Dr. Carly Crewe MD is a mom to twin toddlers, a medical doctor specializing in maternal mental health AND an Anxiety + Mindset Coach for Moms and Mompreneurs who are stuck in overwhelm, self-doubt and indecision.

Carly uses a combination of cognitive behavioural strategies, life coaching techniques and motivational interviewing to support moms to quiet the chaos in their lives and master their mindset so that they can build the life (and online business) that they dream of, without sacrificing their role as a mother. 

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