Congratulations! You started that blog you’ve been dying to write for years and you’re excited. You live and breathe blogging. You soak up every post you can find on how to blog. You try experiments to see what is working and what isn’t working to drive traffic.
You have a blog and it’s safe to say you are in love.
If you are married, the start of your blog can also bring the start of problems in your marriage. I experienced this with my first blog. I was so in love with my blog! I was writing about ideas that had swirled around in my head for years. I was getting comments on my posts and attention on social media. I ate, breathed, and slept my blog.
The problem is when you become obsessed with blogging it is hard to make room for anything or anyone else. This includes your marriage, your family, and your friends.
And I get it. Not only do you love blogging, but it has the potential to bring in money that can support your whole family. That’s intoxicating!
But what if you work so hard to build your blog, are successful, and have no one left to enjoy it with?
It’s a sobering thought isn’t it? This is a slippery slope for sure, but the good news is that it’s avoidable if you recognize it can happen. Here are my five tips to blog-proof your marriage.
1. Schedule time with your spouse
As bloggers it is so easy to work after dinner or after the kids go to sleep. We think “this is our time to work.” We crave a few uninterrupted hours to write and edit our posts. To learn about social media and network with other bloggers. We have worked hard all day in our 9-5 or with our kids and we are ready to get our blog on!
But think back before you started blogging. Remember how after the kids went to bed it was time for you and your spouse to hang out? To debrief and learn about each other’s day. Or to connect about bigger things going on in your life. Now the minute the last kid is in bed you pop open your laptop and breathe a sigh of relief. Ah time to blog.
But I bet the majority of bloggers, myself included, don’t think about how this makes our spouse feel. They are used to connecting with us at night. Without a word we changed from connecting with them to connecting with our blog. That has to feel lonely for them.
How to fix it: When you don’t blog full-time, blogging at night is important. You need that time. But you also need time with your spouse to connect and unwind. My husband and I pick three days a week where I don’t work at night. This always includes Friday and Saturday night unless he is out. We also pick one night during the week to hang out even if it only means watching TV. When I give him my full attention those nights he feels important. He doesn’t mind when I am working the other three nights of the week.
P.S. Your spouse watching TV and you blogging doesn’t count as quality time! Your head is still in the blogging game and not connected with your spouse!
2. Put your phone down
Full confession: I am writing this point with full disclosure that I am the worst person I know at putting my phone down. If my husband could chime in here he would tell you all about it. Good thing it’s my blog so he can’t! 🙂
Blogging has become a mobile sport with the invention of smartphones and tablets, and I for one love that! With one little device I can connect with the women in my Facebook group, reply to blog comments, and schedule social media posts. Heck I can write a blog post from my phone if I want to. It’s awesome!
What’s not so awesome is when we abuse the technology. Sure we put down our laptops to stop blogging, but then we pick up our phones. We get in our Facebook groups, join Twitter chats, or work on graphics for our posts. We are still blogging, we’ve just changed the tool we are using to do it.
How to Fix It: This is something I am working on myself. Here’s are some simple things I have come up with. No phone at the dinner table or in bed. No phone on the nights designated as our time to hang out. Use it sparingly in the mornings when you and your spouse are getting ready for the day. Treat your phone like your laptop and give it boundaries. Like I said, this list is just as much for me as it is for you– maybe even more for me!
3. Go to bed at the same time
For the majority of our relationship, I usually went to bed after my husband. He would go to bed around 10pm and I would work until one or two in the morning. I figured why not? He was sleeping anyway so it’s not like I was missing quality time with him.
Yet I was missing quality time and I didn’t even realize it. And no, not that kind of quality time. There’s something about ending the day together that helps strengthen the marriage bond. Checking on the kids, brushing teeth, and a little pillow talk before shutting off the lights. There is intimacy in those small moments. Moments that you miss if you don’t go to bed at the same time as your spouse.
How to fix it: The nights that you choose as “couple nights” make sure to go to bed at the same time too. Those nights will fill you both up for the nights you stay up late and work on your blog. Every once in awhile shut down your work on the non-couple nights and go to bed with your spouse. It will make you both feel better!
4. Be an active listener
Active listening is something else I struggle with too. I see my husband talking but I don’t actually hear what he is saying. I nod my head in agreement and he knows me well enough to know that I wasn’t paying attention. Yes, I have put my phone and laptop away, but I haven’t shut my brain off. I am thinking about blog posts, my Facebook group, or mom stuff. But I am not being an active listener when he speaks and that isn’t fair to him.
How to Fix It: Now this is one I don’t think we can fix 100% of the time. We are women after all and we have a lot going on upstairs! But we can work on it in each conversation we have with our spouse.
Let your brain know when it is couple or date night. I say to myself “Okay tonight is couple night, time to focus on that and not the blog or the kids.” This simple reminder changes my focus from thinking about everything, to focusing on what my husband is saying.
5. Date night
You’re busy, your spouse is busy, and if you have kids you don’t even remember what it is like to not be busy. Now you are blogging on top of all this busyness. When do you make time to get out as a couple and enjoy yourselves? It’s hard to find the time isn’t it?
Yet there is something magical when you can get away from the house, the kids, your blog and enjoy a night on the town with your spouse. You feel renewed, your spouse feels renewed, and you marriage feels lighter. In our house, date nights aren’t an option but a necessity for survival.
How to Fix It: When was the last time you went on a date with your spouse? The last time you put it all away, put on nice clothes and gasp!– some make-up? If it has been awhile schedule a date night with your spouse. To keep date nights on the calendar take turns planning them every other month.
Blogging is a fun business, but it can be hard on your marriage if you aren’t careful. It is easy to get sucked into your blog and making it a success. But you don’t want to have all that success at the expense of your marriage.
Take time to walk away from your computer and phone at night to reconnect with your spouse. Give your spouse the best part of you by listening to them when they talk. Make sure to schedule couple time and date nights away from the house to connect with your spouse. Then when your blog becomes a raving success your number one fan will be there to share it with you!