There’s nothing that bonds two people together quite like the beautiful, brutal experience of raising babies together. There are magical days, there are intensely challenging days, and both are made up of a million moments that no one else will experience the same way you, as a couple, have experienced them together. The early years of growing and raising your young family are a truly special time, and this can represent a wonderful new chapter in your marriage, too. However, this won’t happen on its own – the truth is, having kids can either push you closer together or tear you apart.
As a parent, your natural inclination might be to pour everything you have into your children during these early years. This offers tremendous parent/child bonding opportunities, but also the opportunity for your marriage – always taking a backseat to the needs of the children – to fall into the abyss. However, there’s an easy way to guard against this, no fancy bells or whistles required.
While it might seem like everyone on television or social media is planning ultra-romantic date nights or expensive, kid-free vacations with their spouse, you shouldn’t worry if you lack the time, money or energy to make those things a reality. While they are certainly great ways to keep your marriage strong, you can achieve the same results in a simpler way. All you really need to do is focus on “easy reconnects.” These short, concentrated bursts of energy focused solely on your spouse can pay dividends over time by helping to keep the spark alive and remind you both to keep your relationship a priority. Here are two easy reconnects you can practice daily or weekly:
The Long Kiss Goodbye
The next time you find yourself running out the door and giving your better half a quick peck on the cheek, slow down for five seconds and make time for a more meaningful kiss instead. Just a few moments can help you rekindle the flame amidst diaper blowouts and toddler meltdowns.
You may not have any reliable alone time with your partner, but chances are you can always find five minutes somewherein your day. When you do, call an audible! Harness that few minutes for a Q&A exercise where you each ask one or more questions of the other. They can be as simple as, “How was your day?” or unique and interesting like, “What’s your dream vacation for our twentieth wedding anniversary?” Showing interest in one another outside your roles as parents is a healthy way to maintain your marital bond.
There will always be a natural period of adjustment after a child is born, but it’s possible to breathe new life into your marriage even during these crazy, early years. If you both commit to prioritizing your marriage and practicing easy reconnects, you can continue growing together as a couple. And the bonus? You’ll be providing your children with an example of a loving, affectionate relationship that can become the basis for healthy relationships they’ll build in the future.