Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Making Time for Your Marriage

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I thought it was only appropriate that we take a moment to talk about keeping our marriages strong. I think most people would agree that this was easier before they had children. Bringing children into a family can greatly enhance partnership and love within a couple, but it can also be a source of stress and jealousy if a couple does not properly tend to their marriage. How can couples make sure they take care of each other first? Here are a few ideas to help you stay connected to your spouse:

  • Sit down with your spouse and separately write down when you have felt closest to one another. What were you doing at that time to encourage the connection in your relationship? Discuss your answers with each other. Choose at least one item you have discussed and commit to doing it again or more often.
  • Commit to setting boundaries with your children to allow couple time. Decide when you would like to have time alone together and make the necessary arrangements. Stick to it.
  • Find a marriage seminar in your community that you can take with your spouse. This is a way to get great instruction, learn new ideas and skills, and get research-based information that will help you in your marriage.
  • Go out of your way to do something nice for your spouse every day: leave a nice note, give a compliment, or perform a small act of service.
  • Start a new marriage ritual. A ritual is a consistent, planned time set aside for you and your partner to interact in a fun and meaningful way. Examples include taking evening walks, engaging in a shared hobby, talking in a certain place together each day, making and eating breakfast together, or running errands together. The most important aspect of a ritual is that it helps you reconnect and feel close to one another so make sure you choose rituals that are meaningful to you.
  • Read a book on marriage. A couple of my favorites are The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman. Both books have applicable information and quizzes to help you understand yourself and your spouse better.
  • Look online at helpful websites. Try http://www.smartmarriages.com/ or http://www.utahmarriage.org/.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you to think of ways you would like to improve your own marriage. Keeping our marriages strong does not only benefit us, but also greatly benefits our children. Feel free to share your own ideas on how you have made time for your marriage after having children.

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