While celebrating my daughter’s first birthday over the weekend, I found myself reminiscing about what my life looked like only a few years ago. My husband and I were a newly married couple, and our marriage, careers and dogs were our only major responsibilities. We slept in on the weekends, enjoyed frequent date nights and made spur of the moment plans with friends after work and on the weekends.
As they often say, you never know how good something is until it’s gone. While life with small children has been wonderful to us, it is drastically different than the life we used to lead. With so many new responsibilities that take up the time that we used to dedicate to each other, my husband and I have found we have to work harder at focusing on each other and keeping our marriage a priority.
Here are 5 tips for keeping your marriage strong after children:
Take time together to center, strengthen and communicate with each other daily.
Before kids, successful couples often spent time sharing their days, goals, dreams and even failures. To maintain their connection after children arrive, couples should go out of their way to continue doing these things both concerning personal and child related topics.
Successful couples with children may connect in more abbreviated ways, but they still spend time sharing with their partner as they did in their child free days.
Schedule and plan date events and activities.
Ideally, every married couple should participate in weekly dates. Unfortunately, lack of time, money, energy and childcare can alter this romantic ritual once children arrive. However, this is where planning and creativity can come into play to ensure dates still take place on a regular basis.
Dates don’t have to be reserved for Friday night, and can take place over lunch during the weekdays and at other unusual times. Babysitters, family and friends should be utilized when possible to get you out of the house together as a couple.
If you truly can’t find child care, date nights can even take place at home after the children fall asleep. The trick to dating at home is to make the time special- don’t just watch TV.
Make and take romantic gestures.
This means not only surprising your partner with flowers, candy and other love tokens at unexpected times, but also accepting tokens of affection in a loving manor. When life gets crazy, we sometimes fail to appreciate the little things.
Successful couples with children remember to enjoy the moments they are in. And remember, both men and women can participate in giving and receiving romantic gestures.
Between chaotic schedules and childbearing responsibilities, daily sex may be an unrealistic goal for many couples, but affection still needs to be shared. Intimacy is essential to a happy marriage, and can include everything from kissing and holding hands, to cuddling and sex.
The frequency and means by which physical affection is displayed will differ from one couple to the next. The key is that some form of physical affection is expressed regularly, and that intimacy does not become neglected.
Be kind to each other.
This may sound obvious, but according to research, one of the biggest reasons relationships don’t succeed is lack of kindness. Unfortunately, many husbands and wives get caught up in the stresses of everyday life and child rearing, and make the mistake of lashing out on each other.
Generosity, thoughtfulness and patience take the back seat to exhaustion, stress and intolerance. Couples need to remember that patience and generosity are of the utmost importance in the home. A good tidbit to remember is that for every one negative a person hears, they need to hear five positive things to make up for it.
Overall, with some hard work and a lot of love, it is very possible to maintain a strong marriage after the arrival of children. I hope these tips can help you and your spouse, and that you find encouragement in knowing the struggles you may be facing are normal.
To learn more strategies for achieving a successful happy marriage with children, give a call at Life Counseling Solutions! Set up your free 15 minute consultation or to schedule an appointment with one of our expert relationships coaches by calling 407-622-1770!
Author: Morgan Rahimi