Ten Tips to a Happy Marriage After Kids
A Happy Marriage: Ten Steps to Nurturing a Heart-Centered Relationship
by Minette Riordan
Have you give any thought lately to how you treat your spouse or what you want from your relationship?
If you have children, then you know what a difficult challenge it can be to maintain intimacy with your spouse when baby comes home. Yet the truth is that no matter how tired and stressed we are, we need to work at our relationship with our spouse in order for it to be sustainable and meaningful. I want to share with you 10 simple yet powerful tools that you can use to strengthen your relationship with your spouse and have a happy marriage after kids. First, let me say that flexibility and creativity are the keys to a successful partnership. Pick one or two things to try, don’t feel like you have to do them all at once!
Tip #1. Focus on listening. Listening means giving your partner the opportunity to speak without interruption, judgement, denial or anger.
Tip #2. Share your feelings with your partner. Speaking out when you are hurt, upset, or angry. Don’t let small incidents build up. Ask for your partner’s attention, pick a time with the kids are asleep or you alone together. Do not pick a fight, just ask for your partner to listen.
Tip #3. Find time together. Be creative and be flexible. Even a 10 to 15 minute phone call while baby is napping and one of you is working can build connection.
Tip #4. Look for the good, overlook the bad. You married this person for many good reasons. Search for those things that make you smile, you may fall in love all over again.
Tip #5. Give two compliments every day. Now that you’ve committed to seeing the good in your partner, it’s time to say it!
Tip # 6. Play nice. How many times do you see — or experience — partners treating each other in impolite, harsh ways that they’d never even treat a friend? Sometimes we take our partners for granted and unintentionally display rudeness. Or to put this in the wise words of Bambi’s friend Thumper, the bunny rabbit — “If you can’t say somethin’ nice don’t say nothin’ at all.”
Tip #7. Pick your battles. In any human relationship there will be disagreement and conflict. The key here is to decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored.
Tip #8. The 60 second cuddle. Make the effort to touch your spouse more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage — the good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.
Tip #9. Make a commitment. You must be willing to put time, effort and thought into nurturing your marriage. The ideas that I mentioned above will help you follow through on this commitment and will put new life and meaning into your marriage.
Tip #10 Change your Attitude. The surprising secret is that this doesn’t have to take any extra time in your already busy schedule. Just a change in attitude plus a committed focus can yield a stronger, happier marriage.
So here’s my challenge to you. Take these tips home and apply them in your marriage for the next 30 days. Then re-evaluate your marriage. I guarantee you’ll both be happier.
Minette Riordan, PhD is publisher of North Texas Kids newspaper and a Certified Coach for Parents.