As all parents know, having children totally changes your relationship with your spouse. The flexibility and freedom you had before is gone, and all the energy you used to put into your relationship with your mate goes straight to the kids.
However, you don’t have to let your status as parents diminish your connection as partners. Here are 12 ways to spark a reconnection after kids are in the picture.
Don’t stop going on dates
Get a sitter, drop the kids off with family or friends, or do whatever you need to do to get out of the house and have time alone together. Try not to talk about the kids, diapers or housework while you’re out!
Have mandatory ‘couple conferences’
Honest and open discussion is crucial for developing and maintaining intimacy. Schedule non-negotiable time for the two of you to talk freely about what’s on your mind and how you feel.
Evaluate your kids’ schedules
We understand that you want to give your kids every possible opportunity, but if the time it takes to transport them back and forth to activities and hobbies means that you and your spouse never get to see each other, it might be time to cut back on an extracurricular activity or two.
Make bedtime couple time
Make it a ritual to put the kids to bed and put away your electronic devices at least half an hour before you go to sleep. Use this time to talk, give each other massages, be intimate, take a bath together or cuddle—whatever you feel like you both need.
If you leave intimate time to spontaneity, it may never happen. Like everything else in your lives, leave room in your schedule for this time, too!
Say hello during the day
Call your partner on their lunch break, or send them a quick text or email during the day. Checking in helps remind them that you care about them and think of them during the day.
Look at your favorite memories together
Take out your wedding album, photos from past trips you took together, or notes you wrote each other, and connect over all the romantic and fun times you’ve experienced together.
Plan a surprise dinner or pick up something special for your partner on your way home, to show them how well you know them and how much you care.
Pay attention to them
When they’re talking, look them in the eyes, ask them follow up questions, and be sincere. If you feel like you have so little time to spend together, be sure that the time you do have is quality.
Get dressed up
With kids around, things get so busy that personal maintenance is sometimes the first thing to go. Shower, shave, blow dry and get dressed up—your mate will definitely appreciate it.
Schedule alone time for yourself
Both of you need time to yourselves in order to appreciate your relationship, and come back to each other refreshed and ready to connect. Make it a priority in your relationship to take some time for yourself, and to give your spouse the same.
Fake it til you make it
You’re not always going to feel romantic—or even like your spouse, but sometimes you just need to act like you do anyway. Snuggle, hold hands and give them an extra kiss or two. It will remind both of you of why you connected in the first place.
If you feel guilty taking time away from your children, just think of it this way: the way your children understand relationships is largely based on the model you provide them with, so taking steps to reconnect with your partner will benefit the whole family!
-The Alternative Daily