How to Stay Happily Married After Having Children
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.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Robie Benve