Keeping romance and passion alive in any relationship is a challenge. Once you move in together, this becomes exponentially harder. Sharing responsibilities can take effort, energy and arguments that may change the mood. Feeling like one person is doing more than the other can lead to resentment. Even just lying around in comfy clothes in your own home changes the vibe after you’ve spent a year getting “done up” for dates.
Adding children to this mix makes it about 100 times harder. I promise, that isn’t an exaggeration. In addition to everything above, now you have late night feedings, play dates, and extra little people needing you every moment of every day. It’s easy to let your relationship take a backseat, even natural to take some of that stress out on your partner. A relationship takes real work, all the time, no matter how perfect you think it is.
How To Rekindle Your Relationship (as a Parent)
1. Don’t be afraid to show your kids you love each other.
I can remember being young and thinking it was gross when my parents touched or kissed, jokingly yelling, “Ewwwwwwwwww!” when they did. But I can also tell you how important it is that they see that. I’m not talking about being raunchy or so full of PDA that most adults would be uncomfortable. I’m talking about cuddles on the couch during family movie night. I’m talking about tickle fights that the kids can join in on. I’m talking about holding hands at the mall. I’m talking about kisses hello and goodbye, and just because.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but after a day of my two and seven-year-old hanging off of me all day, I want to sit in the corner of my big comfy couch with a pillow barrier to keep my space safe. It's easy to blame being tired, or having a particularly bad day with the kids on why you aren’t being intimate with your partner.
But I promise, if you take these small steps to keep reminding you and your partner that you love each other throughout the day, in front of the kids, not only will they get to see a healthy relationship, but you’ll both feel thought of and appreciated at the end of the day.
2. Sneak smooches and butt grabs in the kitchen—seriously.
These are the kind of cuddles that are probably best left when the kids aren’t looking. These are the ones that keep the passion alive. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent the day not showering, doing pick-ups and drop-offs, making meals, cleaning meals up off the floor, and taking care of everyone but myself. I’ll be standing in the kitchen cooking dinner, feeling my absolute worst, and my partner—likely on the way to clean up the next huge mess—will walk by and grab my butt.
I know, it doesn’t sound romantic, but it reminds me that, even when I’m not perfect, he is still attracted to me. Likewise, if your partner is doing a day's worth of dishes, you can wrap your arms around their waist and kiss their neck, just to let them know you love and appreciate them. Little things like these are a bit more frisky than a cuddle on the couch, and they can light a little spark inside your partner that may have been burnt out at that moment. Give it a try.
3. Do little things that show you are thinking of each other, and no, not the housework.
Often I’ll come home from work to a clean house, laundry done, kids fed and baths done. Sounds like a dream, but this is normal at my house. I’m spoiled, I know. But too many times do parents think this is something they’ve done for their partners. I hate to spoil the mood, but housework and raising children is everyone’s responsibility in the household. It's not a favour to any one partner, and it certainly doesn’t spark romance.
I’m talking about coming home with their favourite fast food after a long day stuck at home. I’m talking about picking up their favourite treat when you’re out doing the grocery shopping. Ordering takeout to the house when you’re away on business, so they don’t have to cook that night (okay, I love food). And yes, the ol’ coming home with flowers, just because, still works.
It doesn’t have to be gifts either; Running them a long hot bath with their favourite scents and candles; A shoulder rub when they seem particularly tense; Suggesting you watch that movie they’ve been excited about. Anything that shows your partner that they are on your mind, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Little things go a long way.
There are so many ways to keep romance and passion alive in your relationship, even if you have children at home. A relationship should never have to sit on the back burner just because you had kids.
What are your favourite ways to show your partner you care?