Monday, April 20, 2009

Marriage Trouble after Kids - Tips to protect marriage

Novelist and screenwriter Nora Ephron once wrote, "When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was."

After their two kids were born, the Davis' faced marriage trouble with more than a few battles and much neglect. As parents do, they were engrossed in taking care of their daughters' needs and security. Finding time to feed, bathe, and play with them between work schedules was challenging enough. Hanging out as a couple was like a dream from the old days, when it was just them, and getting together was as easy as signing your name.

But there was more to it than time management. Their marriage trouble was escalated with routine squabbles about everything from how to discipline the girls to their own expectations and disappointments. They spent zero time together, even when the kids were in bed, somehow they each went on to do their own thing and never met up after wards, whether it was out or just in the TV room.

Through it all, the nagging question remained: How could they protect their marriage, the relationship that created these beautiful children to begin with, and still manage to be good parents? What can they do as a couple to eliminate their marriage trouble and create a firmer foundation?

 Marriage Trouble after Having Kids

These areas will help with marriage trouble after kids. They will help you and your spouse create a firmer foundation for your relationship and at the same time show your kids what a strong couple you are, affirming to them that your family will always be together.

Learn to Compromise

It's a very common problem. We give plenty of attention to our children but not enough to each other. Over time, this transfer of focus can start to hurt even the most solid relationships.

Make no mistake that a strong relationship with your partner is one of the best things a couple can do for their kids and their childhood. Harboring a solid, loving relationship sets your children up for better marriages themselves when they grow up. They will have had a good example to follow and will want to have the same as they saw their parents having.

You have to keep battling before you can win the fight. Set a plan in place that enables you and your spouse to have free time together and spend that time together. If you are both too tired then be too tired together. If you just feel like going to bed then go to bed together. Once you get into the motion of doing something together your feeling of tired will bend, as you have something to look forward to and spending time with your spouse.

Strengthen the Foundation of your Marriage

How can you keep a focus on your marriage when most of your time and energy is devoted to your kids?

  • Keep the relationship with your partner at the top of the list, above your children. This doesn't mean to forget about the needs of your children. You can do the little things that let each other know and the kids know how much you value your relationship with your spouse.
Keep the Romance Alive!
  • Shift your center of attention sometimes.
It is important for your children to learn, from a young age, that mom and dad can't just drop everything when they wants their attention. Don't allow them to interrupt your adult conversations.

This takes time and training just like everything involving kids but it is well worth it when the training takes hold. When your child gets older she can participate more in the conversations but until then it is valuable for your relationship that your kids learn to wait their turn to talk. Teach them not to Interrupt.

Warm Welcomes

You hug your kids everyday, usually more then once. Even the dog get a cuddle or two. What about your spouse? Does he/she get greeted with enthusiasm or just a simple "hello" in the midst of your busy schedule?
  • Once in a while, kiss and hug your spouse when they get home, as if one of you is going away and you aren't going to see each other for a week. The kids will have a giggle and this kind of affection reassures them that you're close to each other, as well as to them.

The 20 Minute Reconnect

You don't need a whole weekend away or even a regular "date night" to keep the spark alive.
  • Take short walks together. Catch up on each others life and use this time to reconnect to each other.
  • Pair up when you take the kids to daycare or pick them up from an activity. The portion of the commute or waiting time can be used to chat.
Early Bedtime for Kids
  • Get you your kids into a strong bedtime routine from a young age (one year old is good time to start the process).
This will give you time after your kids are in bed to do things you want and need to do and time to spend together, without interruptions from the kids. A good bedtime for toddlers, especially those in school is 7:30 -8:00pm. Here is a good place to start for getting your child into a sleep routine and some ideas to help them settle into one. Help Baby Sleep through the Night.
Toddler Sleep through the Night

Help Carry the Cargo
  • Share in the chores. This can also be a prime couple time.
After the kids are in bed, get the evening chores done together along with some music. Not only will you finish sooner to get to relax, but because you are helping each other there is no resentment about who does more. This is a good time to chat and catch up on things.

Encourage Independence
  • Teach your kids to be independent players as well as sleepers.
When children learn to entertain themselves for short periods of time, it means less time you have to spend as your tot's activity director leaving more time for yourself and your spouse. This is also an added bonus for your child.

More ways to keep the Glow Glowing

Revive your past

Remember who you were as individuals and as a couple before you were parents. Bring back into your lives the activities you used to enjoy together. This is particularly effective when your routine starts to feel just that - routine.

Schedule Love Making

True. It's not very spontaneous. However, sex is usually the one area left out because something has to give right? So scheduling it into your routine is more practical. Waiting for it to JUST APPEAR one night will cause you to lose your intimate relationship.

Quiet Quarreling

Loud, out of control arguing is insulting, and will have huge consequences on the intimacy level of your marriage. Doing it in front of your kids will cause them to do the same with you when you have a disagreement. It also shows them you don't respect each other. A Preschooler is old enough to recognize this - make no mistake.

Father can Know Best

If your spouse thinks you don't trust them to take care of the kids as well as you do, it will cause resentment and you will find your spouse, bailing out of the picture every chance he gets. Don't criticize too much and be open minded with things. Let him do it his way sometimes. Men should guard against fleeing off in order to escape parenting.

Daytime Dating

You already know that a date can reignite that spark in your relationship -- but you can extend the range of dating by doing lunch dating while the kids are in day care or at an activity. If you both working parents then meet up for lunch.

Feeling trapped?

Appreciate that the trying times in your marriage are only temporary. This help you not to feel trapped.

Feeling disconnected from your partner while your kids are little simply comes with the territory of parenting. It doesn't mean you have a failed marriage and are heading for a break up. However, when faced with marriage trouble use your anger and concern as a sign you need to make an effort to connect with each other.

Marriage advice from the professionals say that one of a child's biggest anxieties is that their parents won't stay together. You can avoid this fear in your children by ensuring you invest time and energy into your marriage thus avoiding marriage trouble. Knowing their parents have a strong, untouchable relationship is one of a child's greatest comforts so give it to them and at the same time you give yourself the gift of an unbreakable bond.


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