“We got married, have two beautiful kids, but we don’t have each other anymore” or “She’s always with the kids, it’s like I don’t exist” or “Since we had kids there is no sex at all”.
These are just some complaints I hear in my private practice every day. Do you find yourself having these concerns? All of them seem to be related to the main question: “Who is most important, my children or my husband?” The squeaky wheel gets the grease is a popular saying that can be applied to kids. Children are very demanding – especially newborns, so they get most of our attention. We know their demands have to be met. But as soon as a routine is set in place it is crucial that you two recover their time together as a couple.
Remember that marriage is the foundation of the family, so marriage goes first. If this is not your case try to rearrange your priorities. Realize that when parents are happy, kids are happy.
Surprised about this?
Research pinpoints that children growing up in a family in which parents also cultivate their relationship as husband and wife learn a lot from their parents’ marriage. If they watch how mom and dad solve their conflicts with respect and love, and with the proper voice tone and intonation, the kids will learn about relationships that will help them in their future lives as adults.
When parents choose to have a baby together to fulfill the dream of raising a beautiful child, who can be a good person and a strong individual for the society; the role of a parent, at least on a day-to-day basis, ends when the child becomes and adult and the adult child leaves the parents’ home.
So at the end of this “time to raise kids” season the couple is left alone again. You and the one you chose long ago to spend the rest of your life have your house back! You will be at risk of having a complete and absolute empty nest, not only from the children but also from each other. The divorce rate due to empty nest is high. According to statistics from 2009, 1 in 4 individuals of 50-year-old and older divorces.
So here are some tips to enhance your marriage when you have children:
- Stay in touch throughout the day. With technology today, this is very easy. A quick text message, or an email, reminding your significant other you love him.
- Make sure you know about your spouse’s day. Learn what his/her schedule is and be curious about what happened during the day.
- Create a daily tradition of when to bond. It is usually the easiest to do this after the children go to bed, but if they don’t, make it happen while they are awake. Something simple like sitting down to talk with some coffee and chat.
- Remain grateful. Appreciate what your spouse does for you and how supportive he is. In a team, each player has an important role.
- Learn how to handle arguments. Arguments are bound to happen, so learn how to have a disagreement with respect.
My Experience as a Mother
As a mother myself, I had experienced the overwhelming feeling when my daughter needs me every hour and minute of her life. That’s why I can understand when my patients focus their attention on their children. It’s part of our therapeutic work to find a balance between giving attention and care without taking away opportunities for children to learn to solve problems and deal with emotions such as frustration, anger or sadness.
Your therapy friend,