When children put stress on a relationship
The second step is to try to increase the communication between the two of you. It is best to start with ordinary daily chats, rather than necessarily deep conversations about your relationship. Intimacy is built in everyday contact and time spent together.
Happily married couples usually have daily rituals spending time together such as reviewing the day when the children are in bed or taking time to talk over dinner or during a shared chore. During the day or the week when do you have shared time with your wife that you could build upon?
It is also important to find a way to raise the subject of improving your relationship with your wife. It can be easy to avoid this if it has led to rows or conflict in the past. The key is to try to do this in a positive way and to avoid using it as an opportunity to list a series of dissatisfactions and complaints about the other person.
Rather than saying “you never want sex anymore”, it is can be better to say “I miss the close times we had in the past, and I would love more of these back.”
Pick a good time to talk to your wife about your hope to improve the relationship and try to invite her to consider this goal. Be prepared to listen to her dreams and requests and try to make shared plans. It can help to make a simple commitment to do at least one nice thing for each other a week or to work towards ring-fencing a special evening together or to take up a project or new interest together.
If it is hard to talk through issues, it might be useful to consider relationship counselling ( accord.ieor relationshipsireland.com) which could be used preventively to make positive plans for improving your relationship. After becoming parents, the big challenge is to keep your marriage and relationship vital and alive.
Whereas this might have felt effortless when you were childless and first in love, with the humdrum and stress of being parents this requires much more careful attention and effort. Your personal needs and your relationship with your partner needs to be prioritised as well as the needs of your children. Ironically, one of the biggest gifts we can give our children is the model of a real loving relationship between their parents – this gives them a deep sense of security and a guide for their own future relationships.
Dr JOHN SHARRYwill give a one-day parenting teenagers course on February 2nd, 2013 in Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin. see solutiontalk.ie.
Dr JOHN SHARRYis a social worker and social psychotherapist and director of Parents-Plus charity.
Send your parenting queries to email@example.com