It’s no secret that kids can wreak havoc on even the most well-functioning of marriages. With the late nights, added financial stress, parenting arguments, and extreme focus on the kids, many couples can begin to feel as if they’ve lost their spark.
Yes, kids are a massive addition to the household dynamic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your romantic relationship as exciting as it was when the two of you first met. Check out our tips, and you’ll have no trouble sustaining the electricity in your marriage – kids and all!
1. Plan a regular date night out
One-on-one time, away from the kids, is obviously the primary factor that will keep your relationship firing. Ask around your circle to see if a friend or family member is willing to babysit for you on a regular basis, and set up a weekly or fortnightly date night with your nearest and dearest.
The point of a set date night like this is for the two of you to talk about and enjoy things which have nothing to do with the kids, so whether it’s watching a movie or attending special events together, find a responsible friend to watch the kids and cast off your parent hats for a few hours and enjoy some alone time!
2. Make the small stuff count
On a day-to-day basis, couples with kids need to learn how to derive joy and satisfaction from the minutiae of life. It’s the small stuff – meaningful conversations had when the kids are down for the night, a cuddle in front of the TV, a text sent while one of you is at work – which really fuels that romantic spark. These things allow your partner to know that they’re still the only person you have eyes for, even if much of both of your time is taken up with parental responsibilities.
3. Compliment your partner
Especially for women, the advent of parenthood can be a real knock to the self-esteem (and dads, too, may find that the 24/7 responsibility of looking after kids can get them feeling a bit worse for wear). This makes mutual praise all the more important. Studies have proven that couples who put effort into making each other feeling good are twice as happy as those who don’t dedicate any time to compliment-giving. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either: a simple “you look sexy today” will more than do the trick.
4. Find new things to do – as a family
Parenthood isn’t all strife and struggle; it can actually bring new opportunities and activities into your orbit which, along with pleasing the kids, can actually work to strengthen your marriage. For example, having kids might encourage you to experience or dabble in new cuisines, or it might get you travelling much more in search of the perfect family holiday destinations.
5. Keep the lines of communication open
Good communication is key to all healthy relationships, but it’s especially vital for those who’ve well and truly passed the honeymoon stage. What does your partner need? Working out the wants and wishes on both sides will quell any potential clashes at the source, and get the both of you feeling much more solid about your expectations for each other going forward.
A central element of communication is honesty. If either of you is feeling as if the spark is fizzling out, you need to make the other person aware of it. After all, they might be so tied up with parenting that they haven’t even stopped to realise – and once the alarm bell’s been rung, then you can both get to work on reinjecting into your relationship the excitement that you’ve temporarily lost sight of.
Cloe Matheson lives in the gorgeous city of Dunedin, New Zealand. She loves watching chick flicks with her friends but also has two lovely young children underfoot – so is eternally grateful for friends who can watch the kids a few hours each month so she can have some time by herself. As a freelance writer, she's penned articles for various sites, blogs and local companies including Sea Containers. Read more of Cloe's work on her Tumblr page.