There is no doubt that having and raising kids is a life changing experience for anyone. There are so many young couples who swiftly find that they have little time left to reconnect with themselves or each other. Sometimes there’s just little to no time leftover to do the things that they used to enjoy doing together. Children are a full time job, and there are no two ways about it — once they come, they always take first priority. We get it. It can be hard to keep the spark alive in your marriage when you’ve been up all night with a crying baby. Handling children, of any age, can be difficult and sometimes even frustrating. The challenge doesn’t lessen as they grow up, just adapts to a different form. Most parents in their spare time just want to relax or catch up on some sleep, which is more than understandable.
This is why the major shift from ‘husband and wife’ to ‘mom and dad’ can be a tricky transition. From being equal companions, the dynamic must now include a third party. And as much as we’d like to try, the roles and responsibilities that mothers and fathers have are never entirely equal. Th conversations at home shift from couples sharing their hopes and dreams with each other, to talking mostly about their kids, house related issues, and work. Given these new circumstances, it is quite normal to feel detached from your spouse.
Undoubtedly, the key to marital bliss lies in how the pair manages things. There’s no magic fix that works for every couple. It’s an individual effort each time, and a constant one. It’s not whether the couple has problems, because every couple does. The most important thing is decision making — when babies come along, there are a dozen more issues, and countess differences of opinion to negotiate. Disagreeing fundamentally about how to raise your children or manage crises that arise around them can make or break a marriage. A couple’s ability to make the right decisions with each others support and respect makes all the difference. It’s about hearing each other, and valuing the others thoughts.
One of the best things you can do for your children is give them a strong upbringing, and strong marriages make strong families. Putting your spouses before your children when appropriate will teach them how give and receive love and respect — the kind of trait they’ll find useful throughout their lives.
Don’t misunderstand me. There is nothing more precious than time to yourself to relax and recalibrate, but when you become a parent, your personal life suddenly becomes nonexistent. Often you’re too tired to think about planning anything beyond your child’s next day — the packed lunches, the playdates. A good way to break out of a rut like that is by making a habit of checking in with your partner on a regular basis. Connecting with them can actually lesson the load and make the journey of being a parent much more enjoyable. Affection doesn’t just endure by itself — you need to fuel the fire to keep it going.
Principally, the trick to keeping the spark alive lies in working together to be better spouses. First and foremost, make date night a priority! Family nights are great, but you need time to be husband and wife instead of parents. For some couples, finding time for a planned date night might be hard. Lets not forget the innumerable emergencies that emerge when least expected. So, if date night starts to seem like something that involves too much pre planning and organising, just remember one thing: it doesn’t have to be a production! Watch a romantic movie, or order in food from your favourite restaurant. Other times, accept help from relatives or friends when they offer to babysit, and make it a point to discuss anything and everything unrelated to your child during this time.
It is important for spouses to remember why they got hitched in the first place. Which means, it’s time to reclaim the fun in your marriage and banish complacency. Don’t lose the playful, fun aspects of your relationship. Be funny — do fun stuff! Whatever that may be. There’s nothing more relaxing than having fun with someone you love!
Communicate, communicate, communicate! Sometimes we all feel like no one understands us, but you will be surprised to learn the power of continuous and open communication. Not only does it solve issues, but avoids their creation altogether. You need to be asking one another ‘how can we help each other’ and then collectively work out what you need to do in order to make that happen.
When we are tired, exhausted, struggling and sleep deprived, it is always easier to listen less and complain more. But imagine if you really paid attention to what your spouse was trying to say, and worked on a way to address the issue before getting heated. After all, no one enjoys fighting. Don’t underestimate the power of kindness and patience.
Compliment one another! Let’s face it — all the physical attraction and good feelings you have for each other are probably hidden under dirty nappies and eye bags. But your partner (both husbands and wives) will appreciate a nice gesture, and a reminder that you still find them attractive. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It might just be a small reminder of the fact that they are still valued.
And finally, look after yourself. We get that time isn’t plentiful, but some self care will make you feel stronger and better. There’s no need to spend the entirety of your child’s year years tired! It’s an exciting time — enjoy it whichever way you can.