Today is one of those Mondays that I wish was actually Sunday. Sometimes weekends prepare me to start my work week and sometimes they make me want another weekend. This past weekend my husband and I went to Chicago to celebrate our wedding anniversary which meant I was barely home and feeling unprepared for Monday. Oh well. It’s here. Monday always happens whether I am ready for it or not. It’s actually a great gift that way. Gives us practice in doing something that we aren’t prepared for which ends up being how much of life can feel like.
Before I got sidetracked, I mentioned my wedding anniversary. It got me thinking about how often people forget about their relationships. I was just talking to a client today who was in a funk and it turns out, she is just in the midst of life. Life had taken over as it so often does and we forget. We forget to be mindful about our choices. We forget to practice our hobbies. We forget to be social and see our friends. We forget to bond with our partners. We forget that we are actual people with actual wants and needs.
Most of us know that 50% of marriages end in divorce. This stat says nothing about unmarried couples but let’s say it’s about the same. We also know that one of the most common reasons couples don’t last is because of a lack of emotional connection. So, clearly prioritizing your relationship is of the utmost importance. I know how hard it is. I know that after a long day at work and then nights with kids or all days with kids (God bless you stay at home parents), the last thing you want to do is put energy into your relationship. Remember, I am IMPERFECT and certainly am at fault of this myself. I’m empathetic all day at work, drained by my children and still have my husband who deserves some of my energy as well. It’s hard but it’s so important. There is about a 0% chance that you can have a happy family without a happy partnership. I see people prioritizing their children over their marriages constantly and it almost always ends poorly. I am not talking about the cases in which one parent is hurting a child and the other parent doesn’t do anything. I am talking about refusing to go on a date night because your child says they will be sad. I am talking about never taking a trip or a moment to yourselves because you think it’s going to negatively impact your child. IT WON’T! Your child can hangout with grandma or a babysitter for a short period of time and be just fine. They will still know you love them and it’s good for them to bond with other caregivers. Your kids will be fine and when you get back you will feel refreshed and happier. EVERYONE WINS!
Tips on how to prioritize your relationship in the midst of parenting:
- Communicate! Tell your partner how you are feeling so they can truly understand and not assume that your absence, distance or quietness is because of them.
- Plan the time. If you are like me, nothing gets done unless it’s written down and I have planned time for it. Plan time to watch a movie together after the kids go to bed, plan a date night, plan to cook a meal or order in food after the kids are sleeping, plan sex!
- Find out your partner’s love language (check out Gary Chapman’s book or google them) so that when you do put energy towards your relationship, you know you are not wasting your efforts and you are doing things that your partner will value and appreciate.
- Make time in daily life. When you partner is sharing a moment of their day with you and your child also wants to tell you something at that exact moment (please tell me I am not the only one that experiences this. No one wants to talk to me and then everyone does all at once…), ask your child to wait their turn. Showing your children that you value your partner is important too.
- Appreciate your partner. Tell them thank you. Tell them they are a good parent. Tell them that you appreciate them. Treat them like you want to be treated and watch all the positive juju come right back to you.
Go on now, go do something nice for your partner and report back!