It can be like living in a madhouse! It’s get the kids ready for swimming, then soccer, then Jiu Jitsu, then music lessons, plan the meals, clean the house, do the shopping, the ironing, and pay the bills. Then it’s dinner, read the children a story, maybe doze a few seconds in front of the TV, then bed, wake up, and do it all over again – it’s a new day! And amid the recurring chaos our relationship can take a major hit. Before we know it the person we once knew, grew close to, and came to love, has grown distant; we have become frustrated with each other, quick to get upset, and no longer see eye to eye. Our once promising relationship is falling apart! So what do you do? How do you stop the life of a busy modern-day parent destroying our relationship, and threatening to tear our family asunder? Here are five ways to reconnect and revitalise the relationship; rebuild the solid rock both you, and your family, need it to be.
1. Prioritise the friendship
The main reason our relationship’s drift apart is because our friendships do; stable relationships and close friendships go hand in hand. We revitalise our relationship by making closer friendship our priority, our new mission. We can start by spending more time together, sharing what we like and dislike more often, and coming together as a team – working problems out together; never say this is ‘your’ problem but rather this is ‘our’ problem. Start having fun together again, as a couple. Have a date night once week, away from the kids, to just talk, like you used to.
2. Call in the tribe
It’s hard to be close friends without alone time together. Making this time requires calling in help, all the assistance we can; the relatives, close friends, and if you can afford it a babysitter if necessary. For millions of years we had the many supports of our tribe to help raise our children. Deep down we still crave this level of assistance. Help other families out so their couples get alone time too – share the load. Be part of each other’s supportive tribe.
3. Bond more, commit less
We don’t need to neglect the children to revitalise a relationship. Have one activity instead of two or three per child. Better still, create one-on-one time with each of them; play with them – on their level – at least twice a week for an hour a time, rostered in so they know it is coming. This makes them feel valued and important in your life – wow, mum or dad has taken this time off – no matter what – just for me!
4. Connect with mates or girlfriends
If all we do is spend time with our partner we become like them. Soon we can be so alike we really annoy each other – how annoying would it be to live with another you? Guys need mates time. Women need girlfriends time. It keeps us slightly different, and can make us more attractive in our partner’s eyes.
5. Reenergise you
We all need self-time. This invigorates and rejuvenates the person we were when we first met; it helps us keep a sense of self. Lose us in the hustle and bustle of a busy life and our partner won’t recognise us anymore, and may no longer like us. We may not even recognise, or like, ourselves. So take the time for the gym, the massage, the facial, the cooking, the art, the writing, the fishing, or the bush walks. Make sure you know what you think and feel, away from everyone else – know you. When you are invigorated you have more to give the relationship and family.
In our endlessly busy lives it can be a huge struggle to find the balance between self, family, and community. Our needs often come last, and then we often sacrifice the needs of our partner, at the expense of our relationship.
Time to be the example for our children, take back our lives and relationships, and give them the balance and vitality they deserve and need.