Pathways to Wellness

conversation • connection • commitment

Keep love alive

Taking time to nurture the relationship with your partner is good for your well-being and your child's.  It turns out that satisfaction with the relationship goes down, and hostility goes up, after a couple has children.  Even though time is in short supply, parents who make time to nourish their relationship also improve their relationship with their kids. 

When you are a parent, sleeping in late, having breakfast in bed, or staying up late to enjoy each other's company may be more difficult once you have 1, 2 or more children.  The only solution is to make time to strengthen and deepen your relationship.

  • Make a date with your partner.  Consider a late candlelight dinner after the kids are in bed.  Or get a sitter and go out.  
  • Swap your kids with another family every once in a while.  You do a weekend camp at your house one weekend and they have all the kids another weekend. 
  • Use the time you have alone with your partner to talk about anything but the kids - this is your time together.
  • Stay emotionally connected.  Keep up with what is going on in your partner's life.  In the morning, make sure you know how their day is going to unfold.  And end the day on a note of appreciation.
  • You may not have sex as often as before (most couples don't), but you can still enjoy being physically affectionate and close.  Back or foot massages, sharing a hot bath or snuggling while watching a DVD help keep you connected.

Psychologist John Gottman speaks about how relationships affect children, and vice versa, how children affect relationships in the question-and-answer section of a talk on making relationships work.  If you like how Gottman approaches the beauty and the challenges of relationships, you might want to watch the Parts 1-3 of this four part talk - preferably with your partner.


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