Having two young kids, a young business and a young relationship is no easy task! We had a hard time trying to do everything and maintain a great relationship! It has taken time and effort on both sides but we both love the place we are in now!
I am not a relationship therapist or any kind of expert at all, in fact I have a lot of learning to do myself. However I think every parent can relate, when you are new parents exhausted from no sleep, warn out from your days and still have all the other stresses of life it can have a strain on your relationship.
So I thought I would share a few of the simple things that have helped us maintain a happy relationship, hoping maybe it will help! Because this should be a happy and exciting time in your life. You need to be able to lean on your spouse and rely on them for whatever you may need at that time of stress, whether it be a laugh, a cry, someone to listen, someone to hold you or someone to drink with. It’s a time when you need to be stronger than ever! Some days you will feel like those kids kicked your a**! So You need your best friend to help you smile and laugh and comfort you! And you will need to be able to do the same for them.
Again this is not coming from a professional it’s just from my experience so far.
We have only been married for 4 years but for the majority of our marriage we have had kids, or I was pregnant, which can be just as bad with all those hormones!! So it was a hard adjustment. We were very young so our mindset was still on work and fun not suburbs and kids! In fact that was never the life I saw myself living!
But when I stopped and thought clearly about it, we were living a great life! We should be happier! It took a lot of long late night talks and effort but it was so worth it! Now when I think back on it, I can see the things we were doing wrong and how we fixed them.
Every relationship is different so maybe some things will work better for you, but here are the things that helped us.
Steal the time to be alone together
No easy task with kids I know! But if there is a time when both kids are sleeping, rather than always doing some extra cleaning or work, push the pause button and be together! Especially if this is a rare thing, try to forget the mess and the bills and everything else, Even if it is just 30 minutes, steal that time to be together.
Also try to make it something other than a movie or TV show. Try to DO something together, light some candles, pour some wine, and play some cards, snuggle on the couch, or just sit and talk! Whatever it is you do, spending some quality time together is important!
Also don’t use this time to bring up that thing he did that irritated you or what he can do better, push aside those small things and use this time to build each other up! Laugh, talk about the funny things your kids did or goof around, maybe you like to dance or have a favourite board game or whatever it is have fun together! Doing this at least once a week will be a nice little refresher and brings you closer!
This is SO important! You need to know how the other feels! Neither of you can know what the other is thinking at all times.
On the other hand you don’t need to share EVERY little thought that comes to your mind! I have a problem doing this! I share everything, and it was usually the negative things and not always the positive! Each of you already has their stresses so we should not be reminding each other of our constant imperfections. Saying the things you appreciate, complementing them on something they did or even how they look will help keep your relationship a positive, happy, and loving one!
So here are a few important facts I have learned about talking with each other;
Breathe and think. Don’t say things in the heat of the moment and start yelling.
Pick a good time and talk to them.
When it is their turn to talk, Listen! You might not always like what is being said, but remembering you are not perfect and you are in this together.
Let them say all they need to.
Don’t get angry, they are, hopefully, not attacking you!
Try to act the way you would like them to if you needed to talk!
Take to heart, move on and remember. Do not hold on to those things that frustrated you, accept the apology and continue on! However always be thinking about the points they brought up! Try to make changes for the better.
Always remember it takes time! Don’t expect all the problems you discussed to all go away that night! It will take time and effort and probably more talking.
Be a team!
When it comes to parenting you both need to be on the same page. Not one parent can always be mean and the other fun! Again it goes back to talking, discuss your views on everything parenting; teaching, discipline, rules, friends, entertainment, and anything that comes up! Be on the same page and share the roles! You need to have each others backs! Some times that may mean compromising, but in the end, make sure you are both comfortable with the decision.
It really is the small things.
Always keep your spouse in mind! It is true that the little things are so important, especially if you are not able to make the grand gestures nearly as much now! Even as small as a note on their coffee mug for when they wake up can make their entire day and remind them of your love!
Never be ashamed of being cute! Maybe it is not always your thing! But telling her how beautiful she is with no makeup on, (especially because she may not always be wearing it,) telling each other how much you appreciate how hard the other works, or buying a small little gift just because you were thinking of them. These little always reminds them of your love!
I am sure you have heard the expression, “keep the flame burning” well once the work of starting a fire is done, it is quite easy to throw a few logs on to keep it burning. Those little things are the logs! Its not a huge effort but it will keep the heat! and yes once in awhile you will need to put more effort in by collecting and cutting the wood, or planning a nice evening and doing something nice but it is all worth the effort to keep that heat!
Remember your relationship is the centre of your family. It is how your family started, what created your kids, and what will keep everything together. You are responsible for shaping those little minds so set a wonderful example and never loose who you were, in 20 years that is all that will be left and you want that to be a happy time! Most importantly though you want now to be a happy time for your kids and you can do that by being happy yourselves. Take care of each other and keep that flame burning!