Having a thriving relationship with your spouse after kids is no easy feat. A lot of couples go through a rough patch for the first few years into their new parenthood game, but if they are able to work past it together, it is somewhat easy to get back in the swing of it…It just takes work! But, I believe that a thriving relationship with your spouse is so important because nobody wants to live in a household with two unhappy parents, who are not working together as a team. If you feel like you cannot get out of the hole, read along because I’m giving you some great tips for working your way out of it and creating a space of love and intimacy again:
Learn the love languages
I hope that every couple who is planning to get married reads The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman before they get married and have kids, because it will save you a lot of frustration. Chapman says that there are five basic love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. If you try to express your love to your partner in a language that’s different from their own, it’s like speaking to them in a foreign language they can’t understand. Once you figure out your partner’s love language, you’ll be able to show them your love in a way that’s meaningful to them. So, if your own language is ‘words of affirmation’, you may have been trying to express your love by praising your partner’s attributes. But if their language is physical touch, it will have fallen on deaf ears because they feel loved through hugs, kisses and other physical contact. Try touching them gently on the arm as you walk by or a spontaneous hug and you’ll soon notice them returning the love.
The reason why this is so important to read before you have kids is because dating after having kids can sometimes look like a foreign language and you might feel lost. But, if you know their love language, that is practically like having a translation book in your lap. Although you might still be a bit confused and lost, you have the stepping stones to build the language of love up again.
Keep the communication gates open
Even couples who used to have wide-open lines of communication find that they barely have time to say hi to each other amidst the chaos of the day once they become parents. And when you’ve finally managed to get the kids to bed, the dinner mess cleaned up, and maybe even the lunchboxes packed or a load of laundry finished, chances are slim to none that you’ll feel like having a serious conversation. But communication is key, so try making it a priority. As they say: communication is the most important thing in a relationship and it has the potential to make or break a couple. Keep the communication gates open and practice your communication skills each and every single day – even when you don’t feel like saying one more word after a long day.
Praise each other whenever possible
No matter what your love language is, chances are you like being told that you’re awesome (and I bet your partner does too). Make an effort to praise your better half’s efforts at home, at work, with the kids or in another area of their life that’s important to them. After a few tries, it’ll feel more natural and you’ll likely notice a positive change in your partner. They might even begin to return the favor. Moms and dads constantly feel like they aren’t good enough. Patting your partner on the back and telling them that they did an awesome job is huge!
Date each other regularly
The truth is dating each other is what made you fall in love in the first place. So it makes sense that you should keep dating to stay in love. If you don’t want the fire to die out, you have to keep blowing on the flames. Right? It doesn’t have to be an elaborate, over-the-top date. Even if it’s just talking & laughing over a shared cookie box, just set aside time each week for just the two of you to reconnect. Family nights are great, but they don’t count as date nights! You need time to be husband and wife instead of mom and dad.
I think most of us know we should be making time for date night regularly, but the reality is that it isn’t always happening. We get it, it’s hard! Especially if you have little ones at home. But if you’re honest with yourself, and you want to know how to keep your relationship alive, you’ll admit that if it’s important, you’ll find a way.
Get help from a counselor
Not able to fix things on your own? Get help from a counselor who has worked through issues with tons of other couples before you. They have seen it all and more than likely know how to help you, but it might take some time. Sometimes, just hearing things from an outsider can be a wake up call and a jolt in the right direction. The counselors at Ray of Hope Counseling Services are there for all of your couples counseling needs. They offer therapy, group therapy, couples counseling and family therapy in Kennesaw, Alpharetta, Conyers, Athens, Canton, Peachtree City, East Cobb/Marietta, and Lawrenceville, GA. So if you are looking for a therapist Peachtree City, you know who to call. They say,
“At Ray of Hope, we have experience in counseling people from different backgrounds. Lots of people have an idea of what relationship counseling is and think that you only need it when things get really bad. But we’re here whenever you need us, no matter what situation you face in your relationship. Even if your problems seem trivial, we can help. For some people, couples counseling may transform their relationships and their lives; for others it helps them solve a specific problem and move forward with more confidence and less anxiety. In a typical session, your counsellor may ask you questions so that you can talk about what’s going on and how you feel. They may also offer you advice or ideas to try at home.”
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ray of Hope Counseling Services.