Oh boy! Isn't this one a huge topic? Let’s be honest here… do you feel that your marriage has declined since you welcomed your little one into your home? You are not alone! When a couple welcomes a child to this world, a new role is added to the relationship: from just spouses, to also parents. This is a huge transition in a relationship because parenting is hard! And this is true, no matter how old the child is.
As the baby gets older, and the child becomes more independent, and the stress may dissipate; however, staying close and connected with the demands of raising a child and all the other stressors of life, is hard. Couples that have children may experience:
The kids get all the attention: Usually, one spouse feels that the children become the priority, sucking up all the attention. When children are in the mix, they change the attention and focus once given to the relationship. They truly do.
The kids dictate the household. All activities are kid friendly. The house becomes child proof as well as filled with toys. Every single penny coming in appears to go out for the children’s needs and wants.
No time for the couple. With children around, the couple needs to split the hours of the day in managing the daily responsibilities and meeting the needs of the children. And when is there time for the couple? Dates become infrequent and sometimes inexistent. Plus, who has the energy, after all is said and done?
In order to maintain both the roles of spouse and parent, there has to be a strong commitment to making it happen. The key word is maintaining. Every relationship that we have in our lives needs maintenance. It is definitely easier said than done, but small changes can go a long way.
Make your spouse feel like they are #1: Many of you might be scratching your heads right now thinking: “I am not going to neglect my children for my spouse!” Making the other person feel special can take place without letting go of your children.
Here are 6 tips to nurture a relationship for couples with children:
Create daily rituals were you connect. Maybe you talk every day on the phone while you drive home from work, or you have breakfast before the children are up. Some couples wait to have dinner together after the children go to sleep, or at least when they are playing alone in their rooms when they have already had dinner. Have fun coming up with a daily ritual that works for your relationship!
Talk without any distractions for a few minutes a day: Put the phone down, turn off the television, and look at your spouse in the eyes. Eye contact is a powerful way to connect. Do you remember how you used to wonder in your spouse's eyes when you began dating?
Show appreciation and fondness. Say thank you and state the things you admire from your spouse on a regular basis. Gratitude and compliments are the cushions to survive uncomfortable conversations and arguments!
Create alone time. Having date nights is a special way to celebrate one another. Have someone watching your children that you trust, as well as have a stay-at-home date after the kids went to sleep.
Involve your spouse more with the caring of the children. A part of giving attention to your spouse might mean sharing more of the parenting responsibilities. Not feeling needed can distance the couple from one another. It can also help shed light on the struggles of caring for children as well as empathy for being tired.
Have more family time. Decide with your spouse some ways to have fun as a family. Creating as many memories as a family as you can, believe it or not, it increases the connection as a couple. Seeing your spouse being a great dad, and vice-versa is another reason to add to the list of why you love your spouse. Start by asking your spouse what he or she thinks would be fun to do with the children? What memories he or she wants the children to have of the family?
When you find yourself irritated, bored, or distant from your spouse, it might be a sign that the relationship needs attention. Making your spouse feel #1 might only take 5 minutes of your day.
My gratitude list is wonderful this year and I can’t wait to share it with my family tomorrow. I am grateful you are reading this.
To The Success of Your Relationship!
Your Therapy Friend,
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining. Read more about her at: www.infinitetherapeuticservices.com and follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/infinitetherapy/