There is absolutely no denying that becoming and being a parent changes life as we know it. Pressures involved with being responsible for the safety and wellbeing of a totally dependent little person, along with the depleted energy and time stores we have perhaps previously taken for granted, can spell a diminished connection with your life partner. It’s natural, it’s to be expected, but it is crucial that you take action to ensure it does not last forever.
As your children grow, so does your list of responsibilities. Busy schedules, chaotic households, and never ending to-do lists can often result in parents failing to really connect with each other, instead taking turns to bark orders, check off tasks or figure out solutions to over committed, overlapping diaries.
While we watch our children transform into teens and young adults, our stresses may change, but they are there nonetheless. Worrying about employment, safety away from the house, newly attained driver’s licenses or academic achievements at school, coupled with the raging and unforgiving hormones no doubt surging through your household, can leave parents exhausted and empty, and too tired to turn to each other for support.
Remember life with your partner before you became parents? It was filled with love notes, love making and declarations of passion. You adored each other, you chose each other, and now you have become three (or more!), you have become housemates. While you will undoubtedly be aiming to work as a team together in this ever-evolving career as a family, I urge you to remind each other that you are indeed lovers, and not just parents.
Let’s take a look at a few easy ways you can help spark the reconnection in your relationship. It takes serious and consistent effort to ensure your partner feels desired, appreciated and chosen by you, and these are just a few ways you can share those feelings with each other, from now and a long time into the future.
Prioritise fun – Whether you find a hobby you can share together, insist on weekly dinner dates or trips to the movies, or enjoy your gym membership together, it is so important to remember what you like to do together, without the kids in tow. Even just setting aside an hour a week where you can share a bottle of wine and inject a bit of silliness can be beneficial to your relationship – laughter is good for you after all. Every now and then, aim to try something new with each other – prepare a new cuisine together over the weekend, try an adrenaline-inducing activity side by side, or call in support and visit a new holiday destination, just the two of you.
Dream of the future – Abandon the constant chatter of what is happening today, and begin to encourage conversations about your future together. Asking questions about your partner’s thoughts of the future will open up the floor to making plans and setting goals together – where would you most like to go in the world? Where do you see yourself professionally in the next five years? What is your greatest dream for our retirement? What is holding you back from achieving what you want the most? These open-ended questions not only show your partner that you are invested in your relationship for the long haul, but also that you are interested in and curious about them as a person and partner. You may even learn something new about each other, which is exciting and romantic and often lacking in familiar relationships after years of living together.
Initiate lovemaking – While daily physical touch can be a part of your daily regime, through handholding, long embraces and kisses hello and goodbye, some long-term couples find that diminishing lovemaking can leave them feeling undesired or unappreciated. If you feel that there are road blocks to being intimate with your partner, or that one or both of you would like to make time for it more often, get the ball rolling by initiating it yourself! Remember that sex is fun and playful, and reminds your partner that you want them romantically. If your partner declines, do not take it personally, perhaps the timing is not right or they are exhausted after a long day. Do not become despondent, keep the lines of communication open and ask your partner what you can do to help them feel more trusting in the bedroom. Listen actively to their requests, stay respectful and patient, and remind your partner how desirable they are to you. If you remind them often enough, your words will help to boost their esteem and feelings of trust and romance within your partnership.
While it is not uncommon for parents to fall into the trap of placing their marriage or relationship low on the priority ladder, it is a testament to your loving, respectful and thoughtful nature that you are keen to try to reinvigorate the connection you once had with your partner, in order to ensure you both remain happy and content long in to the future. If you would like to chat more about how you can reconnect with your lover, or are perhaps keen to check out our upcoming Inspiring Relationships events, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0415 509 275.