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Keep Your Marriage Strong After Having Kids

Many healthy, loving couples are not fully prepared for the challenges of having children. These challenges are difficult to foresee, and. almost no couple is immune to them. Even couples who have never been through a serious argument before having children can be tested by all the new tensions and pressures that come with bringing a new family member into the world.

While there are many problems that can arise in a marriage after children are in the picture, the most common issue is

a stark reduction in the sense of love, intimacy, and connection between both parents. When the focus is on the kids—and when children are babies, they do get all the focus—parents have trouble tending to their own connection, and this can lead to serious problems if not handled well.

If you and your partner are expecting kids or have recently encountered problems you suspect might be due to your parenting responsibilities, here are some things you can do to help make sure your connection stays strong.

1. Spend time together without the kids. In order to stay close, you have to have time to reconnect without the kids getting in the way. It does not matter how you do it. Whether you hand off the kids to a family member, get a babysitter, or squeeze in a little together time while the kids are in bed, make sure you get a little time together, if not every day then at least several times a week. Use this time to talk about what is on your minds or simply to snuggle and be close.

2. Get on the same page. Much marital difficulty after having kids results from disagreements, spoken or unspoken, arising from the act of parenting itself. In order to guard against these sorts of tensions, make sure you and your spouse devote plenty of time to discussing your strategies and tactics for parenting. The more you are in agreement on your approaches, the better you will understand each other when dealing with the kids. Plus, consistent parenting is easier for the children to understand and makes a peaceful household.

3. Find other ways to communicate. When you are too busy to find time to reconnect as a couple, keep your connection going by staying in touch other ways. Perhaps your job lets you send off a quick email or text message between tasks, or maybe you can squeeze in a phone call during your lunch break. In any case, it is important for you and your spouse to know that you are in each other’s thoughts.

4. Make time for romance. When it comes to your love life, the days of spontaneity are mostly in the past now, and it might take some adjustment to find ways to keep the spark going without sex seeming like a chore or an obligation. Even if you find that you have to schedule time to be intimate, try to be flirtatious and affectionate at other times so that the spark is already kindled when you finally get alone together.

5. Talk about other things. When you and your spouse get together, it may be very tempting to talk about the kids and nothing else. Many parents fall into this trap. But keep in mind that the two of you once had many other things in common and that your children are not the foundation of your relationship. To remind yourself of this, always make an effort to talk about things other than the children. This does not make you bad parents; it makes you well-rounded people.

By Lisa Pecos

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