Nothing shakes up a marriage like having kids. On one hand, bonding over a child deepens and connects you as a couple in a way nothing else does. On the other hand, having young kids means there is a complete shift in the time you spend together — from both a quality and quantity perspective. Here are my three tips for staying connected during this season!
- Leverage at-home date nights. There are a lot of advantages to having an at-home date night. You don’t have to find a sitter or worry about being away from your baby, it saves you money and you get to set the tone. Dress up or wear pajamas — the point is that you can show up exactly how you are. It’s easy to forget this part of your relationship when you’re exhausted and in the thick of the early parenting years. But interactions with your spouse away from the kids will bring you closer and remind you both that you’re a team. It reminds you that you are more than just mom or dad. The key is to not put pressure on making it elaborate — keep it simple!
- Have a sense of humor. The early years of parenting can be so hard. They are also wonderful and precious, but the challenges are real, and we should normalize talking about them. It can be an isolating period for parents. Sometimes the best way to deal with exploding diapers, tantrums and lack of sleep are memes. If you’re not laughing, you’re crying. There is something about a shared joke that brings you closer. One funny line can erase a lot of tension and seriousness. Shared hardship really does bring you closer. So, start building your meme files, you won’t regret it!
- Evolve family time. When your family unit changes, so do the ways you spend time together. Activities that used to bring you closer together now might seem irrelevant or inconvenient. So, get creative together to create new ways to connect! These are the activities that your children will remember — they are the things that will set the foundation for how your child views marriage and love. Cooking dinner together, playing a game, taking family walks, listening to podcasts — are just a few examples. As individuals, we are always evolving, and when you learn to evolve together, everyone wins.
The early years of parenting are exhausting, but keeping the connection with your spouse amid all of the changes is vital. How do you and your spouse bond and support each other?