You wake up in the morning next to your partner, but, as soon as your eyes open, you’re focused on the kids. Whether that means feeding the baby right away, getting the little ones dressed for school or making sure teenagers heed their alarm clocks, your day starts with them.
You may head off to work, or maybe you stay home with the kids. Once both parents are home again, the day ends in much the same way, ensuring the brood has gotten baths and fallen asleep.
Now, how much time do you spend connecting with the person by your side through all of this? Parents should also continue to fortify their partnership as they raise children, but, sometimes, their bond falls by the wayside.
Fortunately, that connection is not lost. It simply needs to be cared for and cultivated, so you remain a strong couple, both as parents and partners. Here are six ways to re-connect.
1. Make the Time
Most importantly, you and your partner will have to carve out time to nurture your relationship.
Some couples struggle with this, especially with a new baby in tow. They worry about leaving their little one with a sitter, so they just stay home all of the time. They take care of their child and do little to fortify the bond that brought their newborn into the world in the first place.
So, set aside time to spend with your significant other. It might not sound as romantic as the spontaneous days you used to have, but you’re parents now — you need to put the date on the calendar.
If you worry about leaving your baby with a stranger, enlist the help of friends, family members or a caretaker recommended by someone you trust. You can even create a babysitting co-op. If your friends watch your baby while you go out, you can return the favor on another evening.
2. Do Something Special
You might just want to curl up on the couch, switch on Netflix and fall asleep in your partner’s lap. But the time you’ve set aside is meant to help you reconnect — you won’t be able to if you’re both snoozing.
Set up a date night for the two of you and get out of the house for a bit. It doesn’t have to be fancy, either. Something as simple as a coffee date, a workout session or a volunteering opportunity can bring you closer together. Then, once you get home, you can snuggle up with Netflix — win-win.
3. Talk It Out Every Day
Have you had a tough day? You should be talking to your partner about it, and vice-versa.
These talks will make you both feel supported and, perhaps, a little bit less stressed out. Without speaking to one another, the tension will continue to rise, whether you were annoyed at each other or not.
Therefore, make sure to chat each day privately to vent your frustrations and build each other up. Even if it’s in the few minutes before bed, you’ll feel closer to your partner after having talked about your feelings.
4. Focus on the Good Stuff
It’s normal for couples to go through rough patches, especially when the stress of raising a family puts a strain on the relationship.
If you find yourself routinely frustrated by your partner, shift your focus from whatever is bugging you to the reasons why you fell in love in the first place. To that end, it’s vital to remember that, while you feel love for your partner, it’s a choice to remain in love with them.
By reminding yourself of all their wonderful qualities amid struggle, you are choosing to keep your love alive and strong.
5. Take Care of Yourself, Too
You won’t have the strength to give your partner love if you don’t take care of yourself, too. For as much time that you’re putting into reconnecting with your partner, you need at least that much to reconnect with yourself, too.
That might mean that you pursue an old hobby, meet up for dinner with your friends or sweat it out at the gym. Whatever it is that makes you feel like yourself, do it. When you feel good, you’ll put more goodness into your relationship.
6. Fight Cleanly
You’re bound to disagree with your partner — that’s just life. But if you’re in a period of disconnect, the way you resolve your issues can significantly strengthen your bond.
Rather than yelling or slinging insults at one another, try a calmer approach. Address only the situation at hand, rather than drudging up previous conflicts, no matter how intertwined they are. Speak only about yourself. If you need help, start your sentences with “I” and avoid any accusatory “you” statements.
To resolve whatever it is that’s bugging you, tell your partner how the initial disagreement made you feel, and how you can both avoid repeating that in the future.
Of course, this will mean that you, too, have to listen carefully and enact any suggestions made by your partner. With that sense of mutual respect and consideration, your bond will only deepen.
Realizing your relationship needs some TLC doesn’t mean there’s a problem. Instead, it shows just how much you care about your partner and the life you’re building together.
Take the above steps to reconnect with your significant other. With a stronger bond, you’ll only be better at navigating your future as partners and parents.