Written by Karli Steenkamp
Being parents are a wonderful gift. It can be a smooth ride or a rocky rollercoaster. No two days are the same. Some days you feel victorious and overjoyed because your toddler finished their food, which makes this day not a good one but a great one. Other days you might feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Every day has its own challenges and victories and during these it is easy to neglect the one person that is with you and keep you sane 2 o’clock in the morning when your child wants to watch television. You and your partner are probably too busy in life that we forget to live. One can easily drift apart, but it is never too late to reconnect with your partner.
There are many ways to rekindle the flame between you and your partner. It is important to remember that you two had each other before you had any children and that is the relationship that needs the most nurturing. It is much trickier to look after one another, because you assume that the other one understands that you are busy and life gets in the way, however there are a few easy things that one can try that will make the world of difference. Not everything will work for everyone; it all depends on your personalities and circumstances.
Listen to each other
Probably one of the biggest fights between couples are about feeling like you are not listened to. After a days’ work, it is a rush to get dinner on the table, get kids bathed and ready for bed, do household chores, you name it. Both of you have your hands full. Between these activities you are trying to tell each other about how your day has been with a screaming toddler running away because he or she doesn’t want to bath. Sounds familiar? You need to make a point of listening attentively to what the other one is saying, to give the necessary support for whatever they are going through at work. Don’t nod your head and not take in what is being said, but listen with meaning.
Make time for one another
Amidst all the chaos, find time to do something together. Do it every day. It can be anything. If the kids are in bed, have a cup of coffee together or watch your favorite show. If the kids are still awake try cooking together, work in the garden or go to a park for half an hour where kids can play while you two have an actual conversation or even just sit in silence appreciating one another. Find something both of you is comfortable with and enjoys.
Emotional and physical relationships go hand in hand
Except for the physical relationship it is important to rebuild the emotional relationship too. What initially made you fall in love with each other? What did you regularly do or enjoyed pre-kids? Do it again. Find a babysitter or take a half day at work now and then. Go on a date just the two of you. If you bring back the fun in your relationship you are halfway there. If you are on a budget, have a picnic, it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Go out for lunch or watch a movie. You can even go to a spa. Do something different as often as possible. Set the dates up in advance so that both of you can plan around it and make the necessary arrangements.
On the other hand intimacy is just as important. And this is the challenging part. You have to make time to look after the physical relationship. Where it will fit into your routine is the difficult part, but it is also a good stress relieve, so make sure you do it.
It’s the little things that count
There are many little things, but by no means unimportant, that you can try to reconnect.
- Make your partner feel that they are your number one. They must feel like they are being understood. Ask their opinion about important matters and go with it. Trust each others judgments.
- Make them feel special by writing a note or leaving a special message.
- Kiss and hug each other when you greet. Physical contact helps to spark the flame. Hold hands when walking or sitting on the couch.
- Say ‘I love you’ every single day.
- Leave the past in the past. Don’t bring up old fights.
- Complement each other on a daily basis or send a sexy text.
- Never be too proud to apologize when you are wrong or said something mean.
Whether you as a couple decided to try to reconnect or you are trying this by yourself, have the courage to put yourself out there. Get out of your comfort zone. Your partner will see and appreciate your actions and reciprocate. Everyone is different and you need to figure out what will work for you. You won’t see result over night, but your efforts will pay off. Start enjoying live with your partner and not just merely surviving.
Readers Digest – Sari Harrar
Psychology Today – Clifford N Lazarus