by Katie Rössler
First comes love: we connect. We get excited. Endorphins are surging through us, and we can’t wait till we see each other again. Then comes marriage, for some. We decide to be bonded and committed to each other, whether through legal means, spiritual commitments, or post-it notes. Now begins the hard work: learning how to be a “we.” But, before we learn how to be a “we,” sometimes something else comes along…
Well, the saying goes, “Then comes the baby in the baby carriage,” but let’s be real, ladies, that doesn’t even start to scratch the surface of what it is like. As I was saying, before we learn how to be a “we,” we become three, or maybe four or five. We are shocked when this new bundle of joy wreaks havoc on our relationship and it doesn’t always happen right away. It creeps up on us until we look at the person lying next to us and don’t even recognize them anymore.
So, what do we do? How do we kid proof our relationship so that we don’t look at ending what once was a great and amazing connection? Don’t worry; I have some easy tips for you!
First, make it a habit to have some form of physical touch with your partner first thing in the morning, before leaving, once you have returned home, and before going to bed. Ideally this is a hug and a kiss, but it might be a moment of holding hands. Physical touch is essential in re-connecting with our partner, even if it isn’t your love language.
Second, take time to actually know what is going on in your partner’s life. You know how you listen and pay attention to what your friends are saying about things going on in their lives? I mean that level of caring about what’s going on with your partner. Become friends again and see the connection grow deeper. Sometimes the romance is completely gone, but the bond of friendship that is our foundation doesn’t have to disappear too.
Lastly, go on date nights, people. Seriously! I can’t tell you how many couples I say this to and I hear them hem and haw about it, but you can’t complain about the relationship having issues if you are not getting kid-free time together to connect. Here is the thing, though: don’t go to a restaurant where you just sit and talk. That will get boring fast! What are you going to talk about the whole time, and ultimately, what are you going to argue about? I have a feeling that you already know. Go on date nights that involve trying new things, doing things you used to love doing together, but maybe now in more creative ways. Do activities where there isn’t much chance to talk until after. We think date nights need to be so romantic or focused on verbally connecting. Get out of the house and do something fun together. Then talk after!
If you want to kid proof your marriage, then make your marriage a priority. Kids are amazing, but they move out of the house… eventually. I have worked with plenty of couples who waited till the kids were gone before working on their relationship and those were some of the most challenging sessions to be a part of. Crickets, people! Learn from other’s mistakes and take these three steps towards having a stronger relationship. You will be positively rewarded for it, too!
Learn more ways to kid proof your marriage with Katie through her web course here. Katie Rössler is a licensed professional counselor from the United States. She started Positive Connections in Munich providing workshops and private sessions on relationship building skills. She is the creator of the From Stay at Home Mom to Chief Household Officer program. Katie enjoys running, hiking, and doing yoga. Her go to comfort food is sushi and when she needs to escape from her kids she jumps in the shower! Follow her CHO journey on Instagram: @FromSAHMtoCHO