Children Change A Relationship
What initially brought a couple together out of love, commitment and respect for each other goes to the back burner when children enter the picture. With each parent so focused on the children, each partner can feel resentful that the other isn’t supporting them enough in the role as parent, or is feeling undesirable or ignored as a marriage partner.
It is easy for resentment to build up. A lot of what they ask for from each other for surrounds their new role. They often feel the need to be supported as a parent, as in “I need you to step in more as a parent. I am doing all the work.” Both may feel they know they need to bring focus to being the best parents, but do not bring that same level of concern, care, compassion and focus to their marriage! Arguments over feeling ignored personally, over who is doing more, over what needs aren’t being met, and how to parent begin to fly.
Add to that fatigue, conversations solely about the kids, different models of parenting from each partner’s backgrounds, tighter financial restraints, and it’s understandable that the marriage begins to suffer under the weight.
Having children is a joy and filled with such depths of love and joy and opens one’s heart in profound ways. But love looks a certain way when there are no children, and it looks another way when there are. Both are beautiful. Wouldn’t it be wonderful though, to have your marriage look and feel as deep as the profound, head-over-heels love you have for you child(ren)? Following are some techniques to bring that back.
Along with gestures of giving affection, listening deeply, being respectful, practicing forgiveness, managing household responsibilities in a fair and loving way, and nurturing your friendship with your spouse, try the following steps to ignite your relationship:
Find out what says, “I love you” to your partner, then do it.
Respond to who your partner is. If they are outdoorsy, then take a hike together. If they are a social person, encourage them to have a night out with friends. If they love their quiet time alone, take the kids out for the day and draw your partner a bath before you go. You get the idea.
Go on a date with your partner.
Be sure you both put it on your calendars, then make a reservation at a great restaurant, get a babysitter, and dress up for the occasion. If you’re feeling really crazy, skip dessert and spend some time in the back seat on your way home!
Work on your relationship every day.
When you first wake up in the morning, think to yourself, “What can I do for my partner today?” This is about being mindful and prioritizing your relationship. Be flirtatious with your partner; be playful; be joyous. Do it for a week; see if you can’t keep it going for a lifetime.
Practice asking for what you want and listening to what your partner wants.
Here’s an exercise you can do as many times as you like this week. Start by massaging your partner. Ask them to tell you exactly where and how they would like to be rubbed. Massage one part of your partner’s body for ten minutes. Then switch. Now you give explicit instructions to your partner about how to rub your back, hands, head, or feet. Make sure you let them know when they are doing things just as you like and when they could adjust their pace, pressure, or movements a bit.
Often, one of you will be more comfortable being the giver, and one the receiver. Taking turns helps create a more equal partnership.
Once you’re both comfortable giving massage directions, transfer your skills to your lovemaking. One night this week or next, when you make love, take turns pleasuring each other. Lovingly give directions for what you’d like your partner to do to you and they follow them. Then you switch. It’s a powerful way to learn about your partner’s needs, but more importantly, learn how to ask for what you like in the bedroom.
Reserve one hour of time each week for sex.
After a hard day at work, the kids are tucked in, the bills are paid, and the house is relatively neat, who wants to be intimate? Set aside one hour of quality time for intimacy. Believe it or not, this can increase your satisfaction with lovemaking more than any other change you might make.
You don’t have to have sex during the hour if neither of you is in the mood or the conditions aren’t right (one of you is sick, exhausted, sore, etc.). But if the feelings are right, you’ll have set aside a full hour without distractions for a satisfying sensual experience.