Things might feel like they've changed with your significant other since becoming parents. It may seem like a lifetime has passed since the spark with your spouse was electric and intoxicating. Granted, the flame may have fizzled out a tad since you now experience parenting bumps together that steal time away from your freedom as a couple.
Even though being a parent is very important, it is still crucial that you don't put your relationship on the back burner. Children benefit from having parents with a strong, loving, and supportive relationship. As well, having a healthy relationship with your partner can play a part in your overall self-esteem and happiness.
10 Go on dates
It may seem comical to entertain the idea of still going on date nights when you are a parent. Between work schedules, the kids' extracurricular activities, laundry, or a teething baby who always wants mommy: how do you make the time?
Yet dating helps strengthen the bond between a couple, that in turn, can help communication needed for effective parenting. You are worth feeling attractive and wanted by your spouse, therefore having a date night (even if it's once a month) can be a great reminder why you fell in love with each other in the first place.
9 Us against the world
It can be easy to forget that your spouse is supposed to be your partner in crime in life. When you're in a healthy relationship, you know that there is a mutually supportive partnership between both of you working as a team throughout all successes and tribulations. Life can throw curve balls, especially in parenthood. What better way to keep the romance alive by being a Bonnie & Clyde (except don't rob a bank) and assuming a "Us Against the World" mentality.
Parents who know they can share in each other's struggles, model positive relationship skills with their children. Children with parents in a healthy relationship will be more likely to strive to be in a positive relationship with his/her future spouse.
It is common sense to know that any relationship requires effective communication. However, if you are looking to keep the spark in your relationship with your partner, communication should be held at the utmost importance. For anyone to truly feel appreciated and valued, they need to feel heard. Being heard helps with self-esteem, confidence, and benefits your mental health.
According to Psychology Today, there are ways to ensure the two of you are being and feeling heard. When you converse, it is beneficial to give your spouse your full attention, with eye contact to convey verbally and use of body language. It is helpful to use "I" or "We" statements, instead of "You" as it may come across as a personal attack. If there is a problem, allow one another to share perceptions without interruptions or emotions being a factor.
7 Laugh together
Did you know that humor is one of the qualities that most people look for in a spouse? Laughing makes us feel good, so sharing a laugh with your loved one helps the brain associate your spouse to being happy. Laughing also aids in reducing stress, releasing endorphins, boosting antibody-producing cells, and strengthening the immune system. What better way to care for your spouse holistically, by sharing a chuckle with each other?
You don't need to be a comedian to be funny, just be yourself! Your sense of humor is nothing new to what your spouse is used to, so tell jokes, be silly, use funny one-liners and comebacks. Whatever gets you both to let your guard down and laugh!
6 Make goals together
When you're a parent, it can be hard to plan for the long-haul when you are so consumed in the messy present. Of course, children's needs are put first, so making plans for 5-10 years from now may seem a bit of a stretch. However, remember that your kids will only be the first priority for 18 years of your life, give or take. Once they leave the nest, you will only be left with each other. 18 years can be a long time of personal growth which can make someone you know so well into a stranger.
If you have goals or plans you've made together, whether short or long term, those ambitions can be a great reminder of what you are striving for in life. On days where you feel stuck, it can be turned into an opportunity of moving forward together.
5 Be intimate
Psychologists have studied how being intimate increases oxytocin in the brain, which helps to elevate mood and self-worth, reduce pain, strengthen the immune system, and increase pleasure. Granted, if you are a parent you already are familiar with what intimacy is. Nonetheless, it may be hard to have sexy-time with your spouse when there are little munchkins needing attention day and night.
Although sexual intimacy is a staple of a happy relationship, there are ways to show physical intimacy without having to schedule a quicky. Hugging, kissing, holding hands, and foot rubs are all examples of how you can be intimate with your partner without it being inappropriate for children.
4 Share a hobby
Having a hobby can help strengthen your cognitive and social skills. A pleasurable hobby is not only an ultimate source of self-care as a parent but can help form an emotional connection with whomever you share that interest with. Understandably, you may already have a hobby that serves as a break from being a parent, an excuse to hang out with your girlfriends or to just have personal time. Be that as it may, sharing an interest or hobby with your significant other can enhance the emotional connection you already have with each other.
You are already a team in this parenting adventure, right? Why not be a force to be reckoned with by being the ultimate duo of something you both enjoy doing?
3 Build each other up
Anyone can relate that, at times, life can get you down. Whether it's stressors like finances, job insecurity, or upsetting circumstances: It can be easy to feel like we've failed. There is nothing that screams you're loved by having your spouse fighting in your corner. Reminding one another of your virtues, strengths, resilience, and beauty as often as possible can be empowering to get through hard times.
However, it's essential that you not only build each other up in difficult situations but during the good times as well. As they have seen your vulnerabilities, your loved one is the best person to remind you of your awesomeness.
2 Share the responsibilities
As mentioned previously, parenthood should be regarded as forming a team with your spouse. Imperatively, the teamwork attitude should also be applied to everyday tasks. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and being in an admirable relationship is supposed to help create a happy medium of Yin and Yang.
However, it isn't just making up for each other's weaknesses that help foster a strong relationship. Even sharing everyday chores (like laundry or dishes) to help lighten the load can go a long way in making your partner feel like his/her's needs have been acknowledged. Not to mention, the sooner you tackle those chores and put the kids to bed, the faster you can have some alone time.
1 Every day, say "I love you."
Shifting the focus to what is best for couples, feeling loved is what is best for you. There is a major difference between falling in love and being in love. Although the notion of falling in love can be exhilarating, attractive, and exciting; it's important to remember that the honeymoon phase will someday fade. Being in love is refusing to give up on each other, even during those trying times. It is caring about someone else, regardless if you are upset that he forgot to pick up milk for the baby. It can be him loving your new body with those stretch marks and imperfections that you gained from carrying a baby.
You owe it to yourself, the fierce and beautiful momma-bear you are, to have a partner who makes you feel loved. Your partner also deserves to feel loved, appreciated and valued. Even though the statement is just words, saying "I love you" every day keeps the spark burning for today and the years to come.