Wednesday, 5 March 2014

For the Married: Enjoying Your Marriage with Kids Around

Marriages are meant to be crowned with the gift of children. Their arrival brings joy into the family and especially into the hearts of the couple. As the child arrives, things change. The attention if not shifted, becomes divided most especially on the part of the mother. The reality is that most couples long for children but are not prepared for this change in their day to day activities, that occur.
Being a new parent
Your first test as new parents is adapting to the changes children bring to your marital relationship. In a word, this adjustment is monumental. Marital satisfaction is bound to drop significantly after the birth of the first child. This is mainly due to a lack of mental and emotional preparation, especially on the part of the husband who doesn’t realize (until he’s feeling neglected and miserable) that it is entirely normal during the first six to twelve months after a new baby arrives, for the husband to move into the “number two slot” in his wife’s attentions and affections.

 Fortunately, this situation usually balances out again as your child ages.
Children of course need more attention because they cannot take care of themselves especially when still very young. Therefore, everything about them needs the involvement of the parents.
For busy parents, finding the needed time to take care of the kids may seem very difficult. It’s an adjustment some adapt to easily while on the other hand, some find it very difficult to. As a result of this, some parents – before they realize it – begin to neglect their spouse in order to be able to take good care of the children.

This happens most especially to the women often times, when they are still nursing the child. Time which was formerly spent with the husband becomes feeding time for the child, time for changing diapers, time to soothe the crying child, time to cuddle and sing for the child and to hold the child to sleep.

The husband ends up feeling neglected because the wife may be tired at the end of the day even when he needs her attention or wants to have an intimate time with her. The hunger for his wife’s attention, love and intimacy begins to stem up and he may end up having negative thoughts that may not be good for the marriage.

On the part of the men, some find their wives less attractive after child delivery. Naturally, changes that cannot be prevented show up in the woman. Her body may lose its firmness, stretch marks may appear on the lower body or breasts, extra weight may surface on her body and she may also become more emotional.

 These changes in the woman are likely to make the husband draw back a little, therefore making the woman feel less desirable.
Some men also cannot handle the cry of a new baby most especially in the night. As a result of this, they may stop sleeping in the same room with the mother and child. That is why it is advisable to create a nursery for the child so as to have the normal night with your spouse.

As we all know, in this our part of the world, leaving a new child in a room alone might be difficult, the mother compulsorily has to stick to the child while she forfeits private nights with her husband.
Good marriages that include children set expectations for family times, and for couple times, and then keep an appropriate balance between the two. There should be weekly dates for the couple to go out by themselves and be adults together, apart from the kids or kid-centered activities. Far too many couples give up one-on-one time with each other; therefore, neither the adults nor the children are served. The truth is, creating this balance is a difficult task.

 Weekly family time is essential to the creation of a healthy family. It may be best to schedule family time for the same night every week; that way everyone can look forward to it on a regular basis. Special meals can be planned where the children select and help prepare the food. Family games also promote family togetherness, as do holidays and birthdays. All of these efforts to build a solid family with strong emotional ties will help when it comes time to discipline your children.

 Having the children changes a lot of things in the marriage. It allows the dreaded hunger for the other spouse’s attention creep into marriages. I know of marriages that have lost their spice simply because of the arrival of young ones into the home. This is because the couples did not realize how important it was for them to create a balance in their lives that would on the other hand make every party feel wanted and not neglected.

Making Your Married Life Better Benefits the Whole Family:
Balance Your Children and Married Life.
Make Married Life a Priority When the Kids Rule Your Days.
Get back to the basics of quality time with your spouse to keep your married life strong and meet the ongoing demands of your children with a smile on your face.
Family time is even more special when you balance the joys of married life with the kids’ daily needs.

 The balance between children and married life is a constant struggle. You used to daydream about the next time you would see your future spouse. Then the kids came along and now you daydream about a quiet day when nothing is damaged or destroyed. You didn’t have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to spend with each other before kids so you don’t need non-stop time together to enrich your marriage now. The key is to make the moments you do have together count. That may seem like a daunting task when there are days you feel like quality time with your spouse is saying goodnight when you are both going to bed in your separate rooms. But there are easy ways to connect with each other every day.

How can parents connect when the kids are pulling them in 1,000 different directions each day? Balance your children and married life to benefit your whole family. With a little extra effort, you can reconnect with your spouse and make your bond even stronger.

 Get back to the basics of quality time with your husband to keep your married life strong and meet the on-going demands of your children with a smile on your face.

Below are some tips on how you can make your married life interesting for you as a couple and for the whole family:
• Plan Date Nights with Your Spouse:
Date night is an easy way for parents to reconnect. And you loved going on dates before you were married so there’s no reason you should have to pack away your date night shoes simply because you have kids now.
Spending an afternoon or evening together doesn’t have to be expensive. Try one of many cheap date ideas to keep your family budget in check. After all, it’s not about the places you go, it’s about the company you keep. It does not have to be about pretty dresses, new hairdos, and excess spending. BUt seriously, if shouldn’t turn out to be nights of wearing sweatpants (or tying a wrapper), brushing back your hair and the two of you in separate rooms. You need to take note of this and make amends.

• Don’t feel guilty. You’re not alone:
Raising a family is exhausting. You want to spend time together but you’re both so stressed out from the chores of the day that it’s much easier to do nothing.
Aim for at least one night a month when you and your spouse get out of the house for an old-fashioned date night. Plan an activity together days in advance so you can both look forward to your date.
You can always go to dinner and a movie but try to schedule something different for each date because if you keep repeating same thing every time, it gets boring.

• Have Lunch Together
Lunch doesn’t have to come with a child’s toy. Spice up your marriage by meeting your spouse for a private lunch date.
Bring food home and sit together in your room or in the balcony if you want to save money. It doesn’t matter what you eat. It only matters that you’re spending quality time together.

• Take a Weekend Off
For some people; it’s hard to imagine being away from the kids for more than a few hours. Then there are those who go off to the other side of the globe for a week’s vacation without a second thought.
Start with a weekend off from the kids to see what works for you. You may actually enjoy the alone time with your spouse even more than you did before you had children.
You don’t have to leave the house for a weekend off. Make the kids leave instead. Send them to a friend or family member’s home for their own weekend getaway.

 Just be sure you tell the person who’s watching the children not to interrupt your weekend unless there’s blood or vomiting (God forbid). No dropping by the house to get a toy or pajamas that you forgot to pack for them.

 Your weekend without the kids should be just as if you were spending a weekend out of town. No getting on the computer to check Email. Skip TV time unless you’re watching a romantic movie. The weekend needs to be all about your marriage.
Parents can easily connect when they spend some one-on-one time together. Go on a romantic getaway for the weekend or send the kids to the grandparents’ house and stay home.

 Yes, you love your kids but parents need time to be together without the children around. A weekend alone can work wonders on your relationship. It not only helps you both reconnect with each other, it also refreshes you both for another round of dirty diapers, noise and crying.

• Spend Time Together after the Kids Are in Bed
Children are fond of making excuses whenever they do not want to go to bed at nights. It may be one last glass of water or five more minutes in front of the television watching their favourite cartoon. We know the tactics children use to delay bed time. We used them plenty of times ourselves.
It’s tempting to give in to prevent bedtime struggles but you and your spouse need time together just as much as your kids need sleep. Set a bedtime for your children. Ensure you stick to it and with time they’ll get used to it too.
That way, you can “meet” your spouse for a secret rendezvous in the living room. Elaborate plans aren’t needed. This is just your time to be together without wondering what your children are doing.

• Talk Every Day
Daddy can tell the kids how his day was during dinner. He can also save some of the details so you can talk more when the two of you are alone.
Read the newspaper. Laugh together. Watch funny videos. Say a lyric and see if your husband can guess the song title. Make a point every day to interact with each other.
Today’s technology lets us communicate instantly with everyone. That often means you’re texting most of the things you could have talked to your spouse about face to face over the dinner table.
Put away the gadgets; hide the remote controls and turn off the computers. Simply talk to each other at least once during the day. Even if you only have time to talk before you turn out the lights at the end of the evening, always take the time to talk to each other about your days, plans for tomorrow and what you could do together over the weekend
Talk, listen and make time for each other . Even with you both being dedicated to your children, your family’s happiness depends on the health of your marriage.

• Send a Text
Texting isn’t all that bad so don’t rule it out completely. It’s a great way to say hi and touch base to see how each other’s day is going. Just don’t use it as your primary means of communication.
In other words, if you two are in separate rooms at the end of the day because you’re both out of things to talk about since you texted all day, you’re letting your phone rule your relationship. Use your texts as a quick way to check in with each other or send a fun picture of yourself. Save the rest for when he gets home.

• Tackle Hobbies
He loves golf, you prefer chess. Neither one of you is interested in the details of the other’s hobby. Your individual hobby really deserves the other’s attention because they’re something that makes you both happy.
Commit to learning about the other’s hobbies. No, you don’t have to ride along in a golf cart and he doesn’t need to be a pro at chess for you both to show you care. You both can learn, though, so you can see and hear why those hobbies are so important to the other.
What’s even more fun? Find a hobby that interests you both so you can enjoy it together.

• Get Intimate
Remember how you two used to hold hands while watching TV? Or how you would hug for no real reason? Of course, intimacy also includes sex but it’s the little intimate moments throughout the day that help parents connect too.
But a lot of those intimate values are lost when the kids come along. Being intimate with each other, whether you’re holding hands while on a family walk or having a quickie while the kids are at school, are key to maintaining the intimacy and helping you two reconnect.
Don’t neglect the intimacy of your relationship. It’s easy to think your marriage doesn’t require intimacy to survive but it doesn’t hurt your relationship to get closer either.

• Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
If all you’re feeling is a disconnection, it may be time to seek outside help to save your relationship. Don’t be afraid to talk to your spouse about marriage counseling to decide if it’s right for you.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking outside help. Sometimes it’s the only way for parents to connect again.

• Find Fun Things to Do Together as a Couple
Your schedule for your kids is pretty much planned out. From School, to after-school coaching, football practice, ballet, naps, dinner on the table by 6pm etc., do you sometimes feel like your marriage is stuck in a regular pattern too? Start looking for everyday activities you can do together such as cooking a meal together for the two of you after the kids go to bed or find new activities for you two like exercising together before bed.
When the kids aren’t around, it’s easy to want to sit and do nothing for a break. But your marriage can easily fall into a rut if you and your spouse don’t take advantage of those stolen moments with each other. Balance your children and married life with fun things couples can do together.

• Exercise Together
Many of the workouts that are best for women are also good exercises for men. Team up and exercise together. Not only will you two get to spend time together, you’ll also get in better shape.

• Dance Together
May I have this dance? Play those old records (if you still have them) or put on your favorite songs. Ask your spouse for a dance in the kitchen. Or take your moves out on the town and hit the mature dance or karaoke clubs. It’s always worth it!

• Read a Book Together
Curl up on the couch or in bed and read a book together. Read out loud or read together quietly. Discuss the books you’re reading every opportunity you get.

• Relax Together
Most guys won’t jump at the chance to spend their free time at a spa. But you can convince them to have an at-home spa day where you both relax while spending time together. Take turns in giving each other a pedicure, manicure and massage. If he’s still not into a spa day, turn on some relaxing music, dim the lights and get cozy on the couch with each other to simply unwind.

• Play Games Together
No matter the number of games you played throughout the day, save some game time for your spouse. Whether you’re hitting the scrabble together or sitting down for some face-to-face time with the best card games, games can be a great stress reliever. It presents you with plenty of moments to laugh and test your competitive spirit. Game on!

• Renew Your Vows
Looking for something to do together that’s a little more elaborate? Renew your vows in front of friends and family or have a private ceremony in your living room. Renewing your vows is a great reminder of the bond you two have with each other and it’s also a fun way to incorporate your kids into your vow renewal ceremony.

• Celebrate Together
Every day is a celebration of your marriage and family. Celebrate those moments. Mark your calendar to celebrate your first date, the date you got engaged and, of course, your wedding. But also be sure to celebrate other life moments. If your spouse gets a promotion, cook a special meal to celebrate. If you pass an annual exam with flying colors, enjoy an evening out together. We often sweep these regular life moments under the rug, but celebrating them as they happen is another way to celebrate you, your spouse, your family and the life you have together.

• Explore Your Town
Explore your town as a tourist. Go for window shopping, browse gift shops, drive around town, take pictures, and walk around the streets where other people roam. Act as if you don’t know your town inside and out and you and your spouse will probably discover something new together.

• Bring New Topics to the Table
Good communication is the key to a healthy marriage. We often find ourselves talking about the same things over and over and over again, though, and we struggle to bring new topics to the table. Finding new conversation starters takes the smallest amount of effort and gives you the biggest reward: exciting new things to talk about with your spouse.
I want you to know that, having those lovely children should in no way stop you from having a fun-filled marriage. Try all you can to revive the intimacy between you both. New mothers should by all means create a balance between their husband and the child… it is of utmost importance!

Wish you luck with your marriage…

Bukola Oyetunji


Kelechi said...

Kids can really be troublesome... lol!
Very insightful write-up.

Beatrice said...

I actually love this. would make sure my hubby reads it.