Sometimes, it can be hard to remember what your relationship was like B.C. (Before Children). All those long romantic walks can go by the wayside when you have to shuttle kids to soccer practice and schedule after-school pick-ups. Sure, your kids are cute, but that doesn’t mean that they can take over your relationship with your partner, either. Marriage and family therapist Laurel Wiers, LMFT offers tips on how to kid-proof your relationship—and begin to fall in love with your partner all over again.
Don’t stop dating.
When weekends are comprised of endless Target runs, it’s easy to just bring the kids along and make it a family outing. But Wiers encourages couples to regularly schedule date night at least twice a month, if not more. “It’s important to remember what you did when you started dating,” says Wiers. So get dressed up and make sure to not have the kids in tow, even if there are tears before you leave home. And to avoid cancelling date night because the sitter was a no-show, (and end up watching Finding Dory for the umpteenth time on the couch with your kiddos), be sure to have a bunch of babysitters lined up well in advance.
Have a healthy sex life.
Sex is a critical component of any healthy relationship. But when kids enter the equation (or worse, your bedroom), the chances of having it are almost always on the decline. If your family practices co-sleeping, Wiers suggests finding other ways to connect intimately with your sweetie. Now is the time to get creative! Above all, talk to your spouse about each others’ expectations regarding sex. As Wiers points out: “Most people do not realize that they’re not meeting each others’ needs.”
It’s natural that many families become child-centered when kids come along. The downside is that your kids might expect that they will always take precedence over their parental relationship. “Allow the children to see you talking, being affectionate and doing activities with your partner,” says Wiers. “That way, they’ll learn to respect that time without always interrupting.” This is important for the sake of your marriage, and it also helps your kids to feel safe and secure. After all, it not only sets a good example for your children of what healthy relationships should look like, but it also builds stronger family ties, too.