Many couples put the care and upkeep of their romantic relationship on hold after the birth of their first child. It can be hard to find time alone when you are parenting young kids. However, romantic relationships need nurturing to last, and keeping the relationship with your partner healthy provides the loving, caring environment kids need. Here are some steps you can take to keep your relationship strong and overcome any additional challenges your relationship might be facing, such as working from home and homeschooling kids.
Keep your relationship evolving and growing
After many years of daily life together, it is easy to become complacent and take the relationship for granted. However, if your relationship is not evolving, you may risk either of you losing interest in the relationship. Refresh your relationship by finding new hobbies and activities to try together. Protect time for these relationship activities by putting it on your calendar and making it a part of your weekly routine.
Another effective way to stay connected with your partner is to set goals together. Enjoy supporting each other as you work together to achieve your goals and have fun celebrating when you reach a milestone.
Use active listening to communicate well
When having a discussion with your partner, give your partner a chance to fully express himself before giving your reply. Try to keep a positive attitude while listening. A positive attitude can prevent you from immediately judging what your partner is saying. Ensure you heard your partner’s main points correctly by paraphrasing them and repeating them back. Ask your partner to provide more detail if you are unsure of the point he is trying to make.
When you respond, know what you are trying to achieve. For example, your intent might be to share an idea or to propose a compromise to an issue. Having an awareness of what you are trying to achieve with your response helps you avoid pulling in topics that are irrelevant to the discussion and derailing the conversation. This awareness can also keep you from falling into the trap of continuing to discuss a topic just to prove that you are right, even though the topic is not important. Discussions are not a contest, and when your discussion does end up as a disagreement, your goal should be to either find a compromise or to decide to ‘agree to disagree’ in a friendly manner and let the topic go.
Show gratitude for your partner
Spending so much time together in recent months may have led you to expand your list of negative aspects of your relationship that you would like to discuss with your partner. However, try to limit the discussions you initiate about negative topics to those that are the most crucial.
Instead of flooding your partner with negative comments, send plenty of positive messages about what you enjoy about your relationship and what you love about him. When you do need to bring up a carefully selected negative subject, use messages that start with ‘I feel…’ to explain why making a change would benefit your relationship.
Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is crucial to a successful relationship with your partner. Schedule some time apart from your partner to spend with friends or to have some time to relax and enjoy your favorite hobby. The time spent alone does not have to be extensive. It can be just a few minutes to do your favorite yoga workout in peace or take an undisturbed bath.