Even when your children are under 5 years-old
7. Have couch time.
This should happen daily. If it’s difficult to talk about your day while at the dinner table because you’re too busy haranguing Penelope to eat her peas, or keeping Bobby from dunking his face in his soup, get your quality time on the couch when the children aren’t around. Sit next to each other. Snuggle. Have at least some part of you touching. Physical touch soothes you. And as an added bonus: If you are touching even in some small way when you’re upset with each other, the physical contact will ease tension and help you work out your troubles in a calmer, quicker manner. Try it.
8. Go to sleep at the same time.
This provides you with another opportunity for communication: verbal or physical. You decide. Be open. Enjoy each other’s company. If you’re normally too tired to do more than collapse into bed and fall directly to sleep, get yourselves in bed sooner. This is more needed couple time.
9. Maintain an attitude of gratitude.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are not Wonderwoman or Superman. You cannot do it all on your own. Sometimes you’ll need help from your spouse. Allow your spouse to help you. Ask for help, but don’t demand it. Ask kindly without whining or complaining. And accept graciously. When help comes unsolicited, be grateful and don’t shy away from showing your gratitude. The words “thank you” and “I love you” go a long way. Kisses can go even longer.
10. Focus on the positive things in your life.
Sure, you may be behind on laundry and the dishes are piled up in the sink, but how adorable was it when the baby blew raspberries at you? You may have been in your pajamas all day, but she rolled over for the first time! Can’t remember the last time you showered? But you can remember that first word or step. Don’t get down on the negative. Nobody ever promised that life was easy. You do the best you can. If you’re Debbie Downer, you won’t be fun for your spouse to be around. Everything else will get taken care of in due time. And remember, it won’t always be this way. No doubt every gray haired person you’ve encountered has reminded you that “they grow up so fast.” Take that to heart by enjoying all the good and filter out the bad.
Betsy Kerekes serves as editor for the Ruth Institute, is co-author with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage (Ave Maria Press 2013, Pauline Publications India 2014) and blogs at Parentingisfunny.wordpress.com.
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