Your children mean the world to you and you can’t imagine life without them. You jump at the opportunity to show your friends or even strangers the latest photo. Neither you nor your spouse can even remember life before having children and it seems as though your world revolves around them.
Although, your children are your responsibility, you should not neglect the one person that was instrumental in helping them get here—your spouse.
“When one or both partners make their children’s happiness a higher priority than the health of their marriage, they run the risk of neglecting the needs of the marriage and in doing so, fostering feelings of resentment, neglect, resignation, and alienation in themselves and/or each other,” said Linda Bloom, L.C.S.W. and Charlie Bloom, M.S.W., authors of Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truths from Real Couples About Lasting Love.
Make your marriage a priority by implementing the following tips.
Address Your Spouse First
As soon as you come home from work and see your adorable little humans, you want to make a beeline to kiss, hug and pinch those cute, chubby cheeks. All the while, your spouse is standing there, virtually invisible.
Relationship expert Charles J. Orlando, author of The Problem with Women… is Men says that when you come home, go straight to your spouse first, giving him or her a big kiss and hug before your kids— this will make your partner feel special.
“It’s not that the kids matter ‘less’,” Orlando says. “It’s that the marriage is the backbone of the house and everyone needs to see it and feel it.”
Have Date Nights
The two of you once dated before getting married, so keep that romance alive by going back to the basics. If you feel that you’re both too busy for spontaneous date nights, try scheduling them once a week or way in advance to allow for a babysitter or family member to watch your kids.
“The happiest parents are those who are disciplined about integrating their old life with their new life,” says relationship expert and psychologist Seth Meyers.
Date nights are for reconnecting with each other so make sure that the conversations during those dates are child-free— you have plenty of time to discuss children matters.
Don’t Hide Affection
Many couples are hesitant to show affection in front of their kids, however, experts say it’s a great thing to do.
“Parents should show non-sexual affection in front of their children because parents teach their children how to behave both in what they say and, more importantly, what they do,” says K. Michelle Tapia, MA, LMFT. “All children could benefit from seeing their parents treat one another in safe and loving ways.”
This will also show your children the characteristics of a healthy marriage.
Alyssa Rachelle has been married for two years. She lives in the Atlanta area with her husband, five-month-old daughter and nine-year-old Cocker Spaniel.