Having a child, it’s often remarked, is the ultimate gift. The follow-up should be (but never is) that it can come with a price. Often, when a couple has a child something gets lost between play dates and changing diapers. Free time becomes more about grabbing a couple of extra hours of sleep than making love.
How can you and your partner rekindle your romantic relationship after having a child?
Charge your own battery
The most important way to jumpstart your relationship is by taking care of yourself. Children take a lot of time and energy. It’s very easy to manage your family’s wellbeing but neglect your own needs. Fill up your cup so you have something left to give to your partner – take a walk, go to the spa, go out to the movies alone, hang out with your friends, create an art project. It doesn’t matter what you do, just be sure to do something that brings you joy.
Make time for each other
Spending time together away from your child is a necessity, not a luxury. Find a way to spend at least an hour together – just the two of you – every week. Even better, take a short trip together without your child. Planning the details takes some energy, but the results are worth it.
Commit to communication
Open and honest communication is the key to maintaining a healthy relationship. Find time to express your needs and listen to your partner’s needs. Write each other letters or take turns expressing your feelings in a safe space. Don’t be afraid to seek outside assistance from a therapist or relationship coach – many couples wait until their relationship is on the brink of failure before they seek help.
Acknowledge each other
The words “Thank you” are the two most important words for maintaining a healthy love life. Acknowledge your partner for anything and everything you can think of. Pointing out the best in your partner will help them feel appreciated and loved. If you feel like you’re not being appreciated, communicate your needs. Two-way acknowledgement is an essential element of a healthy relationship, especially when a child is involved.
This is probably one of the most difficult things to do when you have kids, but it’s one of the most rewarding. Sneak a kiss in the hallway, play footsy under the table, or better yet, throw Elmo out of the bed and get a little naughty. The key here is to shake up routines and have a little fun like you used to.
In the end, the key to keeping the romance alive in your relationship is by making time for it in your new life. You may have to get creative. Don’t be afraid to do something unexpected. Have fun with each other. It will make you better partners and better parents.
About the Author
Shannon Bindler does what she enjoys most – she helps people achieve higher-than-normal success. She co-founded Get Up Girl a woman’s empowerment company, and has a private life coaching practice. Shannon is the Deputy Editor for life by me, and a regular contributor to HuffingtonPost.com and FindBliss.com. Shannon and her 5 year-old daughter, Pearl, live in Los Angeles.