Remember the good ole days, the days without children when you could go out to dinner and do adult things with just you and your significant other? Now you find yourself not only balancing marriage and everyday life, but also a couple kids with toys scattered throughout your house. Unfortunately, when adding children to the relationship, it’s not all that uncommon to lose time for the romance, which changes the marriage and creates a whole new dimension to the relationship. Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be this way, for we have some healthy tips to balance the scale between raising children and maintaining a happy marriage.
Why do studies show a negative relationship between marital happiness and having children?
- Age: Terrible twos? Sweet sixteen? Your child’s age can contribute to stress levels both individually and within your relationship. In particular, you might find your stress levels go through the roof when your kids are very young, infant or toddlerhood, and during adolescence.
- Financial Stability: This doesn’t mean that if you are struggling with finances that you’re never going to be happy with kids or that your kids are going to be causing you misery for the rest of your life. What it does mean is planning ahead or along the way can ease some of the tension child rearing can create.
- Division of Labor: Unfortunately, we still see a lot of studies show when women are working full time or just as much as their partner, they actually are taking on more of the household and child-raising responsibilities, adding to the stress of an imbalanced relationship.
Make your partner a priority: Try taking five minutes at the end of each night to check in with one another to see were the other is at. A quick back rub, a smile, or a simple conversation about the other’s day can go a long way to balance the relationship. This may seem really simple, but its simplicity can be a small piece to add to your routine and help to improve your marriage. Another great option is to literally “go to bed together.” Turning out the lights, going to sleep, and ending your day together can be comforting and help to bring back that special connection between you and your spouse.
Define your roles: Moms, don’t think you have to be super-mom, super-wife, and super-employee all at the same time. The same goes out there for you too, super-dads. To help to balance children and marriage, both partners need to be willing to ask for help when needed or ask what to help out with. Don’t let raising your children be one-sided. Historically, moms might be more of the caretaker while dads might be more of a playmate who comes to the rescue for disciplinarian actions, but find what works best for you and your relationship!
Be a team: Presenting a unified front to your kids will help avoid the difficulties couples sometimes experience when children try to play off of one parent or another. Triangulation, or when a child tries to insert themselves into the parent relationship, can add stress to a marriage. Find what works best for you, and make sure you are both on the same page in terms of responsibility.
Don’t put the romance on the back burner: Even though you know you love each other and know you have a solid relationship, don’t let everyday priorities take priority over your love life. While large gestures are nice, try to incorporate some small romantic gestures into your routine. For example, this could be as easy as mommy and daddy coffee time after dinner or a nice stroll around the neighborhood every evening. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a moment set aside for you to enjoy the company of one another.