Relationships take work and lots of it to keep them alive and well. It’s hard enough when it’s just the two of you trying to keep things going. It gets even worse when the first bundle of joy arrives, and by the time you get more of them, it’s chaos.
But does this mean that all relationships are doomed to fail after kids? Thankfully, not at all. If you work on it, your relationship can become better. The key is to find an appropriate balance between being mommy and daddy and being just the two of you.
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Here are a few pointers for keeping the motor going in your relationship.
Randomly say “I Love You.”
Random “I love you’s” are an amazing way to stay connected. Just being reminded that you are not alone can create a world of difference for both of you. Reminding each other of this necessary foundation of your love helps to avoid pulling in different directions.
Not only that, but it can ground you in how you feel about each other. That way, you will tend to show love to your partner even when you don’t feel like it.
Find Some Alone Time
Spending most of your time with the kids and then the rest of it with your partner may become suffocating. One of the best things you can do for your relationship is for both of you to establish some alone time.
What you do with your time alone is entirely up to you. Whether you choose to hang out with friends or take yourself out for lunch (yes, just you), it will help put a lot of things into perspective. After some time away, you may be more inclined to connect with your partner.
Bedroom Date Night
When the kids take over your schedule, you hardly have any time to go out. Then again, having to find a babysitter you can trust or someone to watch the kids may get so complicated, you drop date night altogether.
To find a simple go-around for this, create your late-night date indoors. Once you put the little ones to bed, finally, don’t get in your pajamas or curl up with a book. Dress fancy and have a sit-down. Limit the conversation to adulting only.
Embrace Your Parental Differences
Your partner is not going to do things exactly the way you want it. And that’s okay-really, it’s not the end of the world. Blowing a gasket every time stuff doesn’t get done precisely the way you want will only make things worse for your relationship.
Learn to accept your partner’s point of view and let some things slide. Unless it’s harming your kids in any way, it’s fine.
It’s always easier to let your frustrations out to the nearest person. In this case, your partner will mostly bear the brunt of your horrible day. Moms are all too familiar with these. Before you blow up, count to 10 or 20.
The point is instead of blowing steam at your partner, let yourself calm down first and then share your frustrations over a good talk.
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Doing the chores together lightens the burden for both of you, and you won’t bicker as much. Part of the problem that strains relationships is one partner feeling they have to do all the work. Create a partnership instead where you both feel you are in it together. It makes things easier to handle; you won’t want to strangle each other, well, at least not all the time.
Shared parental duties take the resentment out of your partnership, so it helps to talk about each partner’s responsibilities regarding the kids. That said, it’s important to remember that once you share responsibilities, don’t encroach into each other’s lanes. Let your partner handle things their way. Micromanaging will only affect your relationship.
Making a date out of your chores is also another great idea. Instead of drudging through to get things done, savor the moments. Playfully do the dishes, make helping the kids with homework an adventure, whisper funny statements to each other across the changing table. Whatever your interests are, infuse them into your daily routine.
Talk To Each Other
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised the last time you talked to your partner, not at them. This kind of talking is not about conveying a message but really sharing what’s on your mind.
We get it, there’s no time anymore, but it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Even if you get 5 minutes alone with each other, use that time to talk. You may find that you are dealing with the same frustration, and there no need to be throwing stones. Just letting your partner know about your thoughts will make you feel closer together.
The most significant part of relationship problems after kids is the monotony; it pours water on the intimacy flames. Pretending you are other people will ignite your passion. It’s a great way to escape from reality, even just for a bit.
It doesn’t have to be weird. Just simple things like pretending you are strangers meeting on the subway can spice things up.
Shower Each Other With Surprises
Surprise each other with random acts of kindness and friendly gestures. Even small stuff like random text messages and unexpected gifts here and there will help smooth things out. There’s nothing greater than feeling loved in chaos.
There’s no sugar-coating it. Raising kids is hard, and it can get overwhelming. Feeling appreciated by your partner will help give some calm. It doesn’t have to be anything significant. While that wouldn’t hurt, even the little stuff will do the trick. Making it a point to do something nice for your partner and vice versa will keep things on track.
Set Aside Check-in Time
Having a house full of little people is enough to use up all your time and energy. It’s easy to push your relationship to the back burner. But if you don’t work on it, you are bound to fester frustrations and put your relationship out of whack.
To get things back on track, schedule some time to check in with each other. It can be a few minutes every day if you can manage or one day of the week.
Avoid the temptation to let check-in time slide; it helps keep you and your partner on the same page. Moreover, check-in time will take the heat out of some issues. For instance, instead of addressing something when you are still angry, you could pencil it in for the next check-in time. By that time, you’ll have calmed down, and you can fix things without the anger.
Most couples use counseling as a last-ditch effort when things go wrong. But it could save your relationship if you get into counseling before it’s too late.
The fact is, having children changes you, and it will also change your relationship. Going back to the way things were is impossible, so the only way to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner is by working on dealing with the changes.
Any change is hard, especially when you face it alone. That’s why getting into counseling early on will help you deal with your relationship better and keep it thriving. There’s no shame in getting help, and the earlier, the better.
To Sum It Up
Having kids is a wonderful part of your life. But being parents will inevitably change things. Learning to deal with these transitions in life while working on strengthening your relationship is the key to keep it functioning. As difficult as it may be, make your relationship a priority. Try using some of these tips. Once you come out on top of the challenges, you will be stronger than ever.