The arrival of children is a factor that can bring disruption in a couple's romantic relationship. While having children is a joyful life milestone, it is important to find ways to keep partners romantic life alive. After having children, it's so easy to let romance go by the wayside. Chances are you are both tired (possibly sleep deprived), stressed with life's many obstacles, and the last thing you think of is romance. However, it's in the little things that will keep your relationship going strong. When was the last time you brought your partner a bouquet of flowers or small gift - just because? When was the last time you had dinner just the two of you - no children? If your answer to these questions is an honest "I don't know" it's time to make some changes.
Making time for a Partner
The most disruptive aspect of having kids is that almost every second of a couple's life can become dedicated to raising children. In addition to the demands of raising children in today’s modern and rapidly changing world, individuals can feel like they are constantly bombarded with different distractions that take away time previously reserved for their partner.
Thoughtfully make time each week. It is crucial to schedule time with your partner. Schedule at least 2 hours a week for one-on-one time with you partner. This should be fun time, not time to talk about the kids, work, etc. Enjoy each other’s company. If possible, get out of the house and put down your phone. While kids are young, get creative. "Date night" still counts if you grab Subway sandwiches and drive to the coast with the kids asleep in their car seats to watch the sunset or after the kids are in bed throw out a blanket on the floor and sit and eat dinner without the tv and enjoy each other's company. Also, do not limit yourself to think that a "date night" has to cost a lot of money – creating time is the most important aspect.
Rekindling Physical Intimacy
It is important to sustain physical intimacy. Physical intimacy is beyond sexual interactions. For instance, elements like non-sexual touch, long kiss hello/goodbye, hug that last 10 seconds, foot massage, shoulder rub, etc. play an essential role in keeping the romantic spark alive. When partners avoid or allow physical connection to decline, there is a high chance that problems in the partnership will grow. Having open and honest conversations about keeping both sexual and nonsexual intimacy is essential. If you are having a hard time getting the conversation started I love the Gottman Card Decks App, which has several cards decks that have questions to help build emotional intimacy and activities to build non-sexual physical touch and sexual intimacy. If you having difficulty discussing the challenges with physical intimacy, couples therapy can be helpful for deepening the conversation and offer a place for exploration of thoughts and feelings.
Growing the Relationship
In terms of growing the relationship after kids, communication plays a vital role. Talking to your partner regularly ensures that you can understand their troubles and concerns, this creates a solid foundation for growing the relationship. Besides, it is crucial to consider that the grown children often mimic the family dynamics they saw in their own relationships. For instance, if you respect and nurture your partner, there is a high chance that kids will develop the same positive family dynamics when they have their own life partners. I encourage couples to schedule weekly SOS (save our souls) meetings. This is an opportunity to talk about all the important things that keeps the relationship going, money, communication, chores, various problems, etc. As a rule of thumb if it is not a crisis i.e. toilet overflowing or car broken down, save it for the SOS meeting. The rest of the week enjoy each other’s company rather than talk about tasks or problems. Take this shift in your relationship for growing your relationship will help increase emotional intimacy, which will lead to healthy communication dynamics and improve your physical intimacy as well. All in all, making time for each other. Rekindling the romantic relationship depends on understanding your partner's needs and potentially getting professional help early. Growing stronger relationships is about patience and acting in a manner that offers your children a vision of good family dynamics