Having kids and starting a family can be a very exciting and rewarding time for a couple, but it can also be a very hard transition. All of sudden, you find your focus is on figuring out how to keep another human alive and putting your child’s needs in front of your own. It’s not a bad thing that this happens, but if this continues to happen month after month, couples can start to feel more distant from each other, unsupported, and not like a priority. Yes, it is important to keep your baby needs in mind, but it is also just as important to keep your relationship needs in mind.
Why is it so hard to continue to date your spouse while having a family? Sometimes finances can get in the way. Now when you plan a date, you have to plan on finding and paying for a babysitter, and not just paying for a meal or movie. Some people don’t have family close by that they can lean on for help, so they have to do it on their own. I have worked with many clients who have struggled through this exact situation. This is when it’s important to get creative with how we prioritize our spouse when having a young family. It is okay to shift your focus from your child to your marriage and relationship every now and then.
At Home Dating
One creative way to still have dates with your spouse when having an infant or toddler is to have a date night in. Once your child has gone to bed, cook a meal with each other. Sit down with your phones off to the side, TV off, and really prioritize each other. Have a conversation about how each of you are doing; are you struggling with anything right now?
Share your concerns with each other so you can have validation and support. Also, share the good things, not just the struggles. What was good about your day? Did your Child do something cute that your spouse does not know about? Make sure to have the same type of conversations you used to have on dates before you had children.
Spoiling Each Other
It’s also important to still spoil each other, and not just your child. What are the small romantic gestures that you did for your spouse before you had a child? If you have stopped doing them, make sure to start it back up again. Those little things are important and make the other person still feel loved and like a priority. This would be a great time to be able to incorporate your spouse’s love language into your romantic gestures. If your spouse loves words of affirmation, then try writing them a little note everyday reminding them why you love them.
Go out of your way to tell them why you appreciate them. If your spouse loves quality time, then be sure to turn off the tv at night, put your phones down, and just hang out and talk before you go to bed. Maybe your spouse loves acts of service and could use some help around the house with their chores. Do a load of dishes or laundry, or cook dinner for a night, whatever they would normally do, take it over once in a while. There are plenty of things that you can do to spoil your spouse, it might just mean you have to get creative with what you do!
If you and your partner are new parents or have been parents for a while, and feel like you are in a rut, then try planning a date night in with each other. Try getting creative with ways to spoil your spouse and show your love and appreciation. If you feel like you could use some help with this process, then please reach out. Trust me, you are not alone in feeling this way and lots of couples are in your shoes. I would love to work with you and talk about ways to re-prioritize your marriage.
Written by therapist Alex Parlette
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