to Have a Happy Marriage When Youre Busy Being Parents
your marriage everything you ever hoped it could be? Or has it been
pushed down your list of priorities since having children? Lets
face it, parenthood is a full-time job, and it dramatically changes
your marriage relationship. But marriage is the foundation upon
which your entire family is structured. If your marriage is strong,
your whole family will be strong; your life will be more peaceful,
youll be a better parent, and youll, quite simply, have
more fun in your life.
create or maintain a strong marriage you will have to take the first
critical step: You must be willing to put time, effort and thought
into nurturing your marriage. The ideas that follow will help you
follow through on this commitment and will put new life and meaning
into your marriage. A wonderful thing may happen. You may fall in
love with your spouse all over again. In addition, your children
will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel
secure when they know that Mom and Dad love each otherparticularly
in todays world, where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce;
half of your childrens friends have gone, or are going through
a divorce; or maybe its your kids who have survived a divorce
and are now living in a new family arrangement. Your children need
daily proof that their family life is stable and predictable. When
you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel
the difference. No, they wont suffer from neglect! Theyll
blossom when your marriageand their homelifeis thriving.
surprising secret is that this doesnt have to take any extra
time in your already busy schedule. Just a change in attitude plus
a committed focus can yield a stronger, happier marriage.
heres my challenge to you. Read the following suggestions
and apply them in your marriage for the next 30 days. Then evaluate
your marriage. I guarantee youll both be happier.
for the good, overlook the bad
married this person for many good reasons. Your partner has many
wonderful qualities. Your first step in adding sizzle to your marriage
is to look for the good and overlook the bad.
it a habit to ignore the little annoying things dirty socks
on the floor, a day-old coffee cup on the counter, worn out flannel
pajamas, an inelegant burp at the dinner table and choose
instead to search for those things that make you smile: the way
he rolls on the floor with the baby; the fact that she made your
favorite cookies, the peace in knowing someone so well that you
can wear your worn out flannels or burp at the table.
two compliments every day
that youve committed to seeing the good in your partner, its
time to say it! This is a golden key to your mates heart.
Our world is so full of negative input, and we so rarely get compliments
from other people. When we do get a compliment, it not only makes
us feel great about ourselves, it actually makes us feel great about
the person giving the compliment! Think about it! When your honey
says, Youre the best. Im so glad I married you.
It not only makes you feel loved, it makes you feel more loving.
are easy to give, take such a little bit of time, and theyre
free. Compliments are powerful; you just have to make the effort
to say them. Anything works: Dinner was great, you make my
favorite sauce. Thanks for picking up the cleaning.
It was very thoughtful, you saved me a trip. That sweater
looks great on you.
may sound funny to you, but think about it. How many times do you
see -- or experience -- partners treating each other in impolite,
harsh ways that theyd never even treat a friend? Sometimes
we take our partners for granted and unintentionally display rudeness.
As the saying goes, if you have a choice between being right and
being nice, just choose to be nice. Or to put this in the wise words
of Bambis friend Thumper, the bunny rabbit If
you cant say somethin nice dont say nothin
often have you heard this advice about parenting? This is great
advice for child-rearingand its great advice to follow
in your marriage as well. In any human relationship there will be
disagreement and conflict. The key here is to decide which issues
are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored. By doing this,
youll find much less negative energy between you.
now on, anytime you feel annoyed, take a minute to examine the issue
at hand, and ask yourself a few questions. How important is
this? Is this worth picking a fight over? What
would be the benefit of choosing this battle versus letting it go?
60 second cuddle
can often identify a newly married couple just by how much they
touch each other holding hands, sitting close, touching arms,
kissing just as you can spot an oldly-married
couple by how little they touch. Mothers, in particular, often have
less need for physical contact with their partners because their
babies and young children provide so much opportunity for touch
and cuddling that days end finds them touched fulfilled.
heres a simple reminder: make the effort to touch your spouse
more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage the
good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.
the deal: Whenever youve been apart make it a rule that you
will take just 60 seconds to cuddle, touch and connect. This can
be addictive! If you follow this advice soon youll find yourselves
touching each other more often, and increasing the romantic aspect
of your relationship.
more time talking to and listening to your partner.
dont mean, Remember to pick up Jimmys soccer uniform.
Or I have a PTA meeting tonight. Rather, get into the
habit of sharing your thoughts about what you read in the paper,
what you watch on TV, your hopes, your dreams, your concerns. Take
a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested
in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.
time with your spouse
can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all
your time being Mommy and Daddy. You need
to spend regular time as Husband and Wife.
This doesnt mean you have to take a two-week vacation in Hawaii.
(Although that might be nice, too!) Just take small daily snippets
of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even just
quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging
your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys. A daily
morning walk around the block or a shared cup of tea after all the
children are in bed might work wonders to re-connect you to each
other. And yes, its quite fine to talk about your children
when youre spending your time together, because, after all,
your children are one of the most important connections you have
in your relationship.
you and your spouse regularly connect in a way that nurtures your
relationship, you may find a renewed love between you, as well as
a refreshed vigor that will allow you to be a better, more loving
parent. You owe it to yourself and to your kids to
nurture your relationship.
take my challenge and use these ideas for the next 30 days. And
watch your marriage take on a whole new glow.
Pantley is author of Kid Cooperation, Perfect Parenting and Hidden
Messages. For more information, visit: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth
of this article are excerpted with permission from books by Elizabeth
Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading
Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions are Really Telling Our
by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary