6 Tips for Keeping the Spark Alive In Your Marriage (After Children)

By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.

If you want to put a strain on your marriage, have children. As most parents know, having kids is hard. It disrupts any flexibility and freedom you once had, and it completely rearranges where most of your energy goes. From the sleepless nights of newborns, to the seemingly endless activities of older children, it's a wonder how any parent makes time for their spouse.

As impossible as it might seem, it's crucial for parents to maintain intimacy in their relationship. Not only is it essential for the marriage, it's also important for the children. Here's six tips to help parents keep the spark alive in their marriage.

  1. Put your children to bed early

    Many parents don't realize that children need a lot of sleep. Often times, they'll allow their children to stay up until 10:00PM. However, many sleep experts suggest that children -- especially very young children -- need at least 15 hours of sleep each day. Putting your child to bed around 7:00-8:00PM will allow you and your spouse to have time together without the constant interruption of your children, and will help give your children the rest they so desperately need. Although this may sound like an impossible task to some, there are several excellent resources available. The book my wife and I have successfully used is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth.

  2. Use babysitters

    Even if you can only afford it once a month, get a babysitter. Then go out and spend some time together. There's no need to make it an extravagant night. Simply going to a local coffee shop and catching up can make for a meaningful experience. Don't try to do things that will keep you from talking and being together. For example, don't go to a movie, instead opt for going for a walk or eating dinner together.

  3. Keep in touch

    Check in on each other during the day. Sometimes it's nice to know that your wife or husband is thinking about you. A quick phone call or an email message can go a long way, especially if your spouse is having a long or bad day. Checking in helps your wife or husband know that you care about them, and that they're on your mind.

  4. Do the unexpected

    Surprise your spouse with flowers, a gift, or a night out on the town. Planning something special is an excellent way to infuse romance into your relationship. Sometimes even the smallest surprises can feel like the biggest.

  5. Write a letter

    Write a letter to your spouse to let them know how much you appreciate them. Being a stay-at-home mom can often feel like a thankless job, so writing a thoughtful note to your wife about how much you appreciate her can be an extremely meaningful message of love. The same goes for a wife or husband that works full time and has a stressful job. Letting them know how much you appreciate all they do for your family can help re-ignite feelings of closeness and self-worth.

  6. Parent with a united front

    Staying on the same page, and being consistent in your parenting styles, is actually a way to maintain intimacy. Through taking the time to discuss how you want to parent your children, you learn more about each other and often times feel closer. Consistent parenting styles result in less stress and conflict at home, resulting in more quality time for each other and the family as a whole. Also, consistent parenting styles can result in better behavior, which can be relishes by the two of you together.

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