Relationship Tips For When Children Are Born
‘Life is never the same after children come along..’
How many of us can resonate with the above statement? As loving couples turn into growing families much of the focus shifts to the new arrival. Babies change our lives in so many ways and are beautiful blessings, but they come with a plethora of responsibilities that can strain even the strongest relationships. As a parent, Family Mediator and Psychotherapist myself I know only too well how subtle little lifestyle changes, mood shifts, time, energy and exhaustion can impact on a couple’s love life.
What I would like to share with you all are a few tried and tested things you can do to keep the romance alive despite having children around. The key is to keep in mind the importance of having fun with your partner, keep working on that love and friendship, whilst creating bubbles of quality time for each other. Too often we get bogged down with routine, and feel overwhelmed with the daily stresses and strains of home and work life. Below I have listed a few quick life hacks you can try to rekindle that lost romance.
- Focus on the good points of your partner, re-build the friendship if things feel disjointed between you. Remember what drew you both together in the first place and re-visit old places where you had fun and that hold fond memories for you both.
- Conflict resolution- try to avoid fights by nipping things in the bud as they arise, don’t let them fester and grow bigger. Try to communicate without blaming, or harsh words. Listen to each others perspectives be open and accept your own part in any dispute by owning how you feel and sharing this using ‘I’ statements instead of using ‘You’ statements.
- After a fight- what is your pattern? Do you sulk, give each other the cold shoulder? Apologise and make up, or carry on as if nothing happened? Explore what works for your relationship try talking about it when not in an argument during a time of calm to decide what techniques work best.
- Connect with your partner emotionally and physically, talk about happy memories and focus on hopes for the future. Show affection in gestures, through small gifts and kind words to one another and commit to fulfilling each other sexually. Share your likes and dislikes- get to know each other properly. Discuss what you can do to grow shared hobbies that draw you together.
- Reflect on what your actions are saying to your partner- do they convey a sense of love, warmth, trust, respect? To communicate effectively listen actively. Listen to hear, not to react. Allow yourself enough time to process what you hear before formulating a response.
- Take into account all of the non-verbal communication going on between you. Body language, facial expression, positive or negative vibes. Address issues as they arise in a sensitive way. Often it’s the unsaid stuff that haunts us.
- Remember how important the role of humour is in a relationship and encourage this, laughing also releases feel good chemicals. Try not to take yourself too seriously, enjoy moments of silliness together.
8. Remember the importance of spirituality in your marriage, do you both share the same faith, values, beliefs? Is that a source of conflict or peace in your relationship? Have an open discussion about this if it is a problem.
9. Learn new ways to increase peace and cooperation in your marriage, let some things go, pick your battles and remember everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Sometimes you have to just agree to disagree and let it go.
10. Continue in self-development for every area of your life, people change all the time so keep up with yourself and your partner. Accept that life is not all mapped out and that both of you will have shortcomings and good points so tolerate the bad and celebrate the good.
11. Establish building strong self-esteem for yourself and your partner- support each others dreams and visions for the future individually and as a family.
12. Learn how to manage your emotions and share feelings so that you don’t shut each other out and disconnect. Establish trust and rebuild trust if broken- it takes time so exercise patience, caution and practice honesty.
13. Learn how to cope with common conflicts about money- agree on if you both want a joint account or keep individual accounts to manage household finances. Money is one of the major causes of divorce so focus and discuss this early on in the relationship.
14. Learn to live and love with a higher purpose- ultimately the aim is to remain faithful and build a loving, lasting relationship and family.
15. Have plenty of non sexual touch throughout the day to stay connected where possible, hand holding, arm touching, kisses on the cheek etc. Offer hugs, and give each other talk and touch points daily at either end of the day to check in with your partner. For those who are physically apart most of the day working use technology to send a loving text, email or write notes to let them know you are thinking of them.
16. Bring out the best in your spouse- influence each other in positive ways and show appreciation for each others efforts. Live up to your highest potential individually and together as a couple. Navigate as a team through life’s difficulties, share problem solving tasks. Present a united and loving approach to your children when parenting it helps to inculcate a sense of safety, security and boundaries for children growing up.
17. Have an open attitude and expectations about your partnership / marriage- be realistic and contribute to the relationship fully. Mind over matter. A positive attitude can take you a long way in appreciating what you do have as opposed to focusing on what you don’t.
I will leave you with this quote to consider….