Love Will Keep Us Together

By: Lisa Donovan

I have often noticed that couples who work hard on their relationship more than their relationship with their kids seem to hold up better in stressful times. Hear me out — I know that your relationship with your kids is what you live for and the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to you. I agree and understand that. But, I find it as (if not more) important to keep the strength of my relationship with my husband on the other front burner. A solid marriage can slip away pretty quickly if you aren't tending to it as diligently as you would your role as a parent. Here are some things that work for us and for friends of ours who agree that one day our kids will be grown people with lives of their own and loves of their own:

  1. Have a daily ritual that consists only of you and your husband.

    We have two — coffee in the morning (even if it means one of us having to get up much earlier than we would have to to see the other off to work) and a pot of hot tea or wine at night. I know I have mentioned this in other articles I have written and my apologies for sounding like a broken record about this. But, I notice that when we don't incorporate these daily rituals into our week, things just don't go as smoothly as they should. It works. It keeps us connected and informed about what the other is doing and how we, as a couple, are doing. Several of my other friends believe in this simple gesture as well — it makes their days happier.

  2. Be considerate of the other's workload.

    Everyone can get bogged down at times. Even if you are not the stay at home parent or even if you and your spouse share most of the household duties and both work, it seems imperative to realize when your better half seems overwhelmed. I must admit, I have never been good at feeling sympathy for someone. I can be pretty demanding of people and expect them to suck it up when times get rough. But, since marrying my husband I have been the recipient of wonderful understanding and sympathy. It has made me change my attitude about letting people off the hook and sharing some of their load. Just having someone say "Look, you seem like you have had enough today, let me cook dinner tonight" or "Why don't you get a book and go to the coffee house and take some time for yourself. Come back when you feel a little less stressed" can make all the difference in the world. Being able to help your spouse unwind (even without you) can be one of the best gifts of all.

  3. Nap.

    This has nothing at all to do with sleeping — at least, not for the grown ups. It is our code word for sex. When the baby is napping (lowercase N) we take a Nap (with a capital N). Basically, it is agreed upon by every happy couple we know that, with kids, you have to take it when you can get it. At night we are too exhausted. So, be creative and get it when and while you can. You'll be so glad you did.

  4. Have fun and remember why you fell in love in the first place.

    Believe it or not, I am the one in the relationship that can start taking myself to seriously. If you are this way, it is always a good idea to step back and think about the fact that this is your life and you'd better have a good time with it. It seems to be the most important trick of the trade. Couples who still laugh together seem to love more strongly than anyone else I know. I'd say, out of all four of this hints, this one is the most important.

Though I thoroughly understand and agree that family life can be stressful at times and one of the most challenging lifestyles to choose, I also feel like these little notions can make one sit back and realize that married couples have the best of both worlds. No, we won't ever be carefree young'ns again with money to blow and martinis to sip leisurely. But, if we do it right, we can have the love of our life to build a life together with and, in the end, it will be the most meaningful and strongest thing we have ever known.

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