Robie is a mother, a wife, and an incurable romantic who believes in the power of focusing on goals, positivity, and being open to change.
Relationships Change After Having Children
When there are children to care for, love is more than hugs, kisses, back rubs, and sex after the kids go to bed. In a relationship, a big part of love is in recognizing and caring about the details. It’s in doing housework when it’s your turn, or when your partner is too tired or busy; it’s cooking, dish-washing, wiping the counters, sweeping the floor, and changing the sheets.
Not the idea you had of romance, huh?
A marriage needs the daily little attentions and deeds as much as an engine needs oil. Never forget to show care for each other, making the other one feeling appreciated.
Let the little things count.
Keeping the Romance Alive
How do you keep the romance in your marriage when your life has been thrown upside down by those lovely little people that depend on you so much, and make sure you know it every minute?
For a couple with children, the recipe for a happy relationship is similar to when you have no kids, but with a bigger family, you need more dedication and sense of sacrifice to accept the hard work that is implied on being a good spouse and a good parent, while retaining your identity and get some self-realization.
The great thing is that the hard work is very rewarding, especially when you see your happiness increase, and your family serene and thankful for what you do. The bases of a healthy relationship are love, commitment, and trust. If both spouses bring these elements to the table, they are more likely to find good reasons to stay together and work as a team every day.
How to Keep a Marriage Happy
Below are some ideas on how to keep love alive after kids, some are from my experience and some were inspired by conversations with friends.
You can maintain a loving and respectful marriage that can survive and thrive with children through:
- Sense of purpose
- Fervent devotion
Be Your Spouse's Teammate
Always work with your partner as a team on a unified front. Having a united front when it comes to making any decision, big or small, provides the much-needed love and predictability to the children. “Let me talk to your father” is my response to requests when I’m not sure what he would say.
Find Agreement How to Discipline a Child
Avoid confrontation and power struggles in front of the children. If he says something I do not agree with or gives a punishment I deem too severe, I wait until the kids cannot hear me pointing it out, and so does he. Showing disagreements to your children can confuse them and give them tips for ways to circumvent the rules in the future.
Nurture that primary relationship, for it is the foundation upon which the whole family rests. Without a loving, sound relationship with your spouse at the base of your family, anything else you do to keep the family together and happy is a vain struggle.
Have some “you and I” time with your partner. Maybe a date night scheduled regularly, or you meet for lunch often, or, as we do, play games together when the children are in bed or busy with something else.
It’s ok to hug, kiss, caress, hold hands, sit close to one another, and snuggle in front of your children. It shows them affectionate exchanges are a good thing and are normal in a loving couple. It’s a non-verbal communication that you love each other and enjoy each other's company.
The Gift of Rest
Give your partner a break after an existing workday by taking the children out of the house and let him or her rest.
Send sweet texts, emails or phone calls out of the blue, for no particular reason, avoiding the topic of work, bills or kids.
Take a trip, separately. Be away from your partner once in a while, giving each other the chance to miss one another.
Laugh together, as a family and as a couple. Sharing good laughs is a wonderful way to bond. Find and create occasions to laugh together: family dinners, game nights, etc. but don’t forget to get some good humor going also when you are with your spouse alone.
Keep It Sexy
Last but not least, an advice that I got from a friend after her husband divorced her: never, ever stop having sex with your spouse. Keep your sex life active, fun, and fresh. Find things to do for the children and sneak into the bedroom – thank God for those cartoon DVDs!
A Healthy Relationship Is the Foundation of a Happy Family
All the romantic ideas are icing you put on an already tasty cake. If the foundation of your marriage is shaky, you need to get that in order first. How can you even think of rubbing your wife’s back when you are full of resentment? Why would you want to get a bubble bath and candles ready for your partner when you are angry that he’s not pulling his weight in the family department?
What We Learned from our Parents' Marriage
My hubby and I are only in our 18th year of marriage, parents of two, and looking forward to the rest of our lives together. I’m the third child of a workaholic couple that has been happily married for 59 years, going on 60. My husband is the oldest of three children, and his parents recently celebrated 53 years of joyful marriage.
We learned from our parents that the paving of love is never smooth, there are many challenges and bumps that pop out of nowhere sometimes, and you need to be flexible and understanding, stick together and fight strong.Sometimes you need to suck it up and move on. But when there is deep love, respect, and honesty you can overcome anything. Oh, and add lots of patience in there too.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Robie Benve
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on April 03, 2018:
Thanks a lot Kimberly, married life can surely get tricky in the long run, sometimes I feel like I need to to re-read my article to remind myself how to put things in perspective, lol. I'm very happy to hear that you found some valuable advice in there too. Blessings!
Kimberly Johnson from New Jersey on April 03, 2018:
Thank you for this article. I think this is full of great advice and will definitely keep all of this in mind. Very Helpful!
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on November 14, 2012:
Hi Louisa, our families are far away and the kids are always with us too, "grown-up time" is truly something to conquer and defend nowadays! :)
Thanks a lot for reading and your comments. :)
Louisa Rogers from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico on November 12, 2012:
I think you are absolutely right on about taking time to renew your own relationship when you are in the midst of child-raising. My husband I offered to babysit the grandkids and the parents came back in less than half an hour! There are much softer edges these days between adults and children-- children often go everywhere with their parents, and 'grown-up time' in many cases has disappeared. I think we have gone a bit overboard.
Thanks for coming by and connecting with me! I look forward to reading more of you, & congrats on your awards.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on August 02, 2012:
Hi g-girl11. good yo hear that I'm on the right track. I always look up to people that mait through and make it work. :) Thanks a lot for reading and your comment.
g-girl11 on August 02, 2012:
I agree with everything you say here--my husband and have been married for 22 years, and have been together for 28. (We were hs sweethearts!) We have two teenagers and have been through a lot together, but we are always a unified front, like you say. Good advice!
acaetnna from Guildford on July 19, 2012:
Awesome - a brilliant read - thank you.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on June 28, 2012:
Hi adjkp25, supporting each other no matter what, what a wonderful recipe for success! :) Thanks for sharing. :)
David from Idaho on June 28, 2012:
My wife and I got married young but we are just about to hit our 16th anniversary. Things definitely change when kids are introduced into the relationship. We try to always support each other no matter what, it has always helped us.
Voted up and useful
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on June 25, 2012:
Hi Summerberrie, I'm glad you liked my hub, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. :)
summerberrie on June 23, 2012:
Robie, what a nice hub. My kids are nearly grown and I can say the investment in the marriage matters a healthy future with your spouse. Thanks for sharing your helpful insights and tips on keeping a healthy marriage.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on June 23, 2012:
Thanks for the addition Middle Player, that's good advice.
"Happiness is a heroic" daily conquer, I like that! :)
Middle player on June 23, 2012:
Everything correct. I would add: do no allow the unavoidable past mistakes to affect your present and your future. Happiness is not a given but an heroic daily conquer.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on June 23, 2012:
Marcy, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Thanks!
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on June 23, 2012:
Awww - what a sweet love note! Having children is a huge blessing, but it definitely changes the dynamics of romance for a couple. Very important information here - voted up and up!
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on June 21, 2012:
Jagerfoods, I can only start imagining. Children's emotions are difficult to handle even in the first marriage, especially through the teenage years. A blending family situation could make it even more complicated. Good luck to you guys, may the boiling pot cool down.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing. :)
jagerfoods from South Carolina, USA on June 21, 2012:
Awesome hub. My wife and I were both previously married and we each brought children from previous relationships into the mix. What we ended up with is a boiling pot of different emotions and feelings. Bottom line: it's anything but a Hollywood ending.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on June 21, 2012:
@ sadie423, I used to want 5 children, but we started too late, and stopped at two. Better that way, I don't know if I could have done it. Kudos to you sadie, you are some kind of a hero to me! :)
@ jasontoheal I looked at your blog on Being a Dad, very nice. I like your style a lot. :)
Thanks both for your comments! :)
sadie423 from North Carolina on June 21, 2012:
You've given some great tips! We have 5 kids, and it can be hard to focus on us at times, but it is something worth spending time on.
jasontoheal on June 21, 2012:
Great Hub. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. I like to blog about being a Dad and a husband as it helps me get my thoughts together and pushes me when things are tough. It's great to have parents encouraging each other. Thumbs up!