Spend quality time with your partner
It’s not uncommon for your relationship to get placed on the back burner after kids enter the picture. The dynamic in a marriage changes drastically because your priorities shift from yourself and your spouse to your child and it can be difficult to find time for you and your partner. That’s especially true in our age of helicopter parenting, where parents worry that not enrolling Junior in every available art or tumbling class will mean a rejection from Harvard. But the best gift you can give your children is to have a happy marriage! After all, children learn about relationships from their parents. Make sure you communicate with your partner frequently about all the day to day matters, as well as just things you enjoy talking about . It is important to make time for each other.
Here are her tips for getting back on track — and staying there.
Sweat the Small Stuff
Grand romantic gestures, like whisking your loved one away for the weekend or nabbing a table for two at the latest hot spot, were great in your dating days but not as feasible post-kids. Luckily, it’s the little things that make a big difference in a marriage.
Taking the time to brew your wife’s coffee in the morning makes your spouse feel loved and appreciated.
Not sure what to do? “Create a ‘care list,’ outlining what your spouse already does that makes you feel cared for. You might find tasks (like keeping the cars in good condition and paying the bills on time) are the new forms of flirtation. If you’re coming up short on these free tasks, create a list of all the house chores and ask to re-assign them. The goal is to appreciate the small ways you both take care of your family.
Go Beyond Date Night
“Research shows that trying something new or engaging in new experiences together, makes you feel more connected,” says Rachel Sussman, a licensed clinical social worker who focuses on marriage and family counseling. Instead of going out to dinner, enroll in a class together,make a meal together, play cards or take up skiing. When you do spend time together, try and make it a kid-free time — complete with talking about things besides your daughter’s latest basketball game or son’s homework problems. Yes, you might need to find a date night sitter to make this happen, but a few hours learning and laughing together can give you the boost required to continue parenting happily!
Make sure you’re having fun with your spouse. If it’s too hard to completely disconnect from the kids, set a specific amount of time – around 10 minutes – to get all the talk out of the way and then move on to other topics. You need to see your spouse as someone other than just a parent all the time.
Take a Tech Break
Many spouses communicate by text or email even when they’re rooms apart. It only becomes problematic when the technology cuts into quality time. Too many couples go out for date night and spend the entire evening on their smartphones, checking in with work or updating their Facebook status. When you’re having dinner or are out as a family, it should be a technology-free time. Not only will it bring you closer, but you’re modeling great behavior for your kids, showing them that time together is more important than what’s on your phone.
Every couple fights — even happy ones. It’s how you fight that’s important. It’s important to maintain a sense of humor even when arguing, and never say anything that’s personally disparaging to your partner. This is especially important if you’re arguing in front of your children. It’s fine to disagree, but you want to make sure you’re not too confrontational or negative. If you’re talking about something difficult, try taking your spouse’s hand, or make sure to maintain eye contact. Touching or laughing during a fight helps keep things from escalating.