Today we are going to discuss a very difficult topic for couples with children, relationship priority and maintenance. After having a child whether by plan or a spectacular surprise your life, especially your love life, cannot and will not remain the same. When you change one variable so drastically all others must change as well. These changes do not have to be negative, and today we will navigate how to keep them positive.
First we are going to the harsh truth out of the way—your relationship must remain a priority. You are in a commitment with someone who has either literally or figuratively pledged themselves to you. You do not get to ignore that because you brought a new life into the world. Instead you adapt to the new life you two have brought in. I can literally feel the upset as this is being read, but bear with me here and read all the way through. I am not saying that your child shouldn’t be a top priority, what I am saying is your spouse/significant other should remain the same priority they held before. This is a very unpopular and hard to accept truth, but this truth if you can take it and make it yours will save your relationship.
The main reason for this being your child should grow up to be a mature healthy adult, form relationships of their own, and leave you. Then you will be left with your significant other, once again alone. Now you can either face someone you have loved and cherished through the happiness, perils, and traumas of raising a child, or you can face someone you ignored and made to feel inferior; which would you rather have looking back at you?
The other significant reasoning behind this one, and a very hard subject is the loss of a child. To anyone reading this who has lost a baby, my heart bleeds for you and there are no words—you loss is purely unimaginable. Now should this tragedy occur to you and your significant other, all you have left is each other. The way you have treated each other up to this point is the base/foundation for which you have to stand on while trying to find your legs again. You need this to be a strong base. If it is not, it will become a relationship full of hate, regret, guilt, and accusations. If it is strong it is a relationship that will flourish into something so beautiful you literally glow amidst each other.
Now let’s discuss the actual maintenance itself. After having the child you have to communicate with each other and decide that you are a priority and what is the best course of action for you to continue feeling loved and like a priority. For many couples this is the infamous “date night”. I personally highly recommend this method. Now I hear multiple mothers going, “but Cathy I can’t leave my darling child, my most precious part of me with a sitter” and let me stop you there, yes you can. For those of you who are lucky enough to have family to watch after your little one, do not abuse this, but use it for sure. For those who don’t, children have been left with sitters since the beginning of time and survived. Children have been left with family and not survived; blood relations do not affect the outcome of this. There are multiple services with professionals who can get you a dedicated child care taker for the evening. For those who are on kid 2 or 3 you know the babysitter on your street does just fine.
A very important aspect to keeping intimacy emotionally and physically alive is lying down a very important boundary, and that is your bedroom. Many parents struggle with this, and I get it, it is so much easier to just give in on this, but do not. That is you and your significant other’s sacred space. This is where you have cried together, loved each other, and held each other in lust, fear, anguish, and love. Do not violate this space. Once you do it is psychologically and subconsciously altered for you both, and not in a good way. You need a space where you feel special, and like the people you were before the baby. If you turn this into your child’s haven it is no longer your haven. When you are facing those nights where sex isn’t going to happen and sickness or night mares reign king, sleep in the living room or their room as a family; use this a building block to establish both parents as strong pillars in their eyes.
I have touched on this in a prior blog, but am going to make a note here to of it—self-care is vital to maintaining your relationship. Gentleman, if you have been in need and you want some, do not underestimate the power of drawing a bubble bath, pouring her a glass of wine, and keeping the kids away from her for an hour—you probably could even get extra kinky that night. Women if you are lucky you have a good strong man who had contributed to child care and he needs a rest as well; send him out with the boys for some beer or poker and give him a mental break from the exhaustion. Whatever works for each partner, ensure that you help them have the ability to take that time.
Make sure you take time at least once a day to show your partner some appreciation, even if it is in the form of kind words or a small token, and once a week spend some alone time together—you need to make this a priority. If you need a justification think about this, you do this you build a better relationship, your children grow up seeing a healthy example to emulate and form their own healthy relationships.
As always feel free to email or reach out with any questions! If you have a topic you would like to see in the blog send a suggestion in the contact page!
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