Maintenance is something we schedule for what we value in life. Kids have their scheduled checkups with the doctor, you have your yearly physical, pets have their annual veterinarian checks, and the car and HVAC system get yearly upkeep. Relationships also need regularly scheduled maintenance to stay healthy. Here’s a five-point checklist to share with your partner on a regular basis to keep your relationship in peak health.
- Division of labor. Although it’s ideal to evenly split the house, yard and parenting work, military families don’t always have that luxury. Do your best to work as a team to get things done and remember to regularly let your partner know that you appreciate what they do.
- Time together. Keep the reason you fell in love at the forefront by finding fun in the everyday. Make date nights a priority and try the Love Every Day app to help you develop and practice good communication in your relationship.
- Time alone. Like plants, kids and critters, you too need to be fed. Take time for yourself to nurture your soul with something that brings you joy. Support each other in this and you’ll find you have even more to talk about.
- Parenting principles. To be the best parents you can be, you need teamwork (with a partner or your village of friends and family). Kids will divide and conquer if you aren’t a united force. Talk in private about your parenting goals, strategies and disagreements. And above all, always back each other in front of the kids.
- Financial goals. When you agree on a financial goal and commit to making it happen, you are more likely to achieve it. Talk about what you want for your future, make a common goal that will get you closer to the dream and work like a team to get there.
Early on in our marriage, I didn’t think we needed relationship advice from others, but that was before deployments and kids. We’ve all experienced, or will soon, the stress that builds before and after TDYs and deployments (not to mention during). Those kinds of separations and reunions can challenge even the strongest couples. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Military OneSource has some great relationship resources and free, confidential non-medical counseling that can give your relationship a healthy boost.