When you’re newly married, making time for each other is simple. Once you add children, hours of overtime, and daily household chores, things can get a bit more complicated. After you start having children, your whole world changes. It changes everything from the meals you cook, the way you spend your weekends, and even how often you can fit in a good nap. Even more so, it changes the relationship with your partner.
But don’t worry, you are not alone.
According to the American Psychological Association, 45% of married couples divorce after having children. In fact, researchers found twice as great a decline in relationship satisfaction in marriages with children compared with marriages without. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as both partners are dedicated to the effort, there are ways to strengthen and rekindle your marriage even after you have kids.
Make Plans Together
Perhaps you two have a favorite spot to visit or a local restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. According to the Livestrong Foundation, studies show that trying something new produces dopamine or serotonin in our brains. Thus, being in a new space outside the home can invite excitement back into your marriage.
Set a Routine for Your Family
The best way to keep your house a happy home is to establish a routine for your family. Create a bedtime schedule and stick to it – no exceptions. That way, children will already know what to do, how to do it, and what to expect. Not only will this help keep things in order, it will also give you and your spouse some quality time when the kids are asleep.
Keep the Surprises Coming
Whether it is your anniversary, your spouse’s birthday, or Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate and surprise your partner with gifts, notes, or an unexpected dinner. You can arrange a hiking trip if he’s outdoorsy, purchase game tickets to his favorite sports team, or even recreate your first date. No matter how big or small the surprise, your spouse will appreciate the thought and effort you put into it.
Cut Toxic Influences
Get rid of distractions and toxic people that harm your relationship. Easier said than done, right? It often seems like outside voices are the main cause of conflict among marriages. Make your relationship as private as possible and keep those who don’t support you away. Chances are, they won’t hold the answer to your problems, but rather could create more damage in the relationship. Instead, communication openly and discuss any concerns with your partner.
Argue About One Thing, Not Everything
One common issue most couples have is dragging up other conflicts during an argument. Not only is this unproductive, it will also prolong the argument and lead to further issues. In fact, saying “I’m sorry” will work wonders for your relationship. Once you realize that the time you spend together is limited, you will find that bickering at each other is not worth the effort at all.
Learn to Forgive
To forgive your spouse wholeheartedly, you must let go of the bitterness, anger, and resentment you feel toward your partner. Release the negative emotions and thoughts that keep you from true forgiveness. Holding on to hurtful memories will only allow them to fester.
Learning how to talk to your spouse about problems is key to a healthy relationship. With trust, love, effort, and communication, couples will have a fighting chance to stay connected and sustain a deep, meaningful bond for years to come.