One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a long-married couple was that happy marriages make happy kids. Obviously, this isn’t true across the board and things happen in the happiest of marriages. The point though, is true: It’s hard to be an engaged, involved and enthusiastic parent if your marriage is struggling.
How Strong Marriages Influence Our Parenting
There are so many ways that a strong, healthy and vibrant marriage impacts our parenting. Aside from freeing us of excess marital stress, a happy marriage helps us to enjoy our lives and our time with our kids more freely. It also makes it easier for parents to be united as a team in parenting goals, direction and decisions.
One of the main complaints we hear from couples with children is that their marriage lacks romance and passion. In young couples especially, this is often because they fell into the trap of thinking that the kids always come first and that their needs as a couple should be sacrificed for the demands of childrearing. This is admirable in theory, but we’ve seen it crash and burn far too often.
Rekindling that Romantic Feeling
In a recent article in Parents magazine called “Rekindling the Romance after the Baby”, author and marriage expert Rabbi Schmuley Boteach gives some very practical ideas for rekindling the romance when you’ve got a baby or little child in the home. We encourage
you to read the whole article, but here are what we felt were the three biggest take-aways:
1. Make kid-related conversation off-limits for at least 15 minutes a day.
This was a huge game-changer in our own marriage. Too often, the only conversation you’ll have all day is about the kids. Make it forbidden to talk parenting for just fifteen minutes minimum. It gives you time each day to connect as romantic adults rather than caregivers.
2. Start dating again.
You may think this sounds cliched and simple, but you’d be amazed at how easy it is to do it wrong. As Rabbi Boteach puts it:
Don’t blow the evening on a movie. Get emotionally naked. Discuss your fears, and comfort each other in a way that allows you to really connect. Do everything you can to bring new surprises into your relationship.”
3. Never talk about the kids in bed.
This is one the most of us are guilty of often enough. Few things kill the mood like hearing “Did you fill out Johnny’s permission
slip?” in the middle of lovemaking. Make a deal with each other not to talk about the kids or family needs/appointments/obligations while in bed.
These are just a few ways to rekindle the romance a bit when you’re rearing little ones. If you both make an effort to take small steps, you’ll find your romantic life much healthier and much more fun.