What do couples, with children, really need?
by Susie E. Caron © 11/15/15
Today's couples struggle to pay off school loans, get good jobs and find housing that suits them well. Most couples seem to do okay by working things out together. They usually do well until the introduction of tiny people into their lives – their children. That’s when couples forget to nurture themselves and their - oh so important relationship. This neglect grows after children arrive, almost without notice.
How Tyranny of the urgent multiplies.
“Tyranny of the urgent” seems to take over, after children are born. In the early years, children take up an enormous amount of energy and time. Most couples can survive this, on the strength of their earlier relationship bond. This is strength they built engaging in activities together that they enjoyed. However, if they continue to neglect their relationship with each other, there can be a terrible price.
Bonding before kids isn't enough.
Remember how you were, prior to having kids? You talked about everything, held hands and gazed into each other’s eyes and hearts. This probably sustained you and your love relationship through the early years of infants, babies and toddler-hood. However, the time and activities you spent together as a couple before you had kids, is not enough for the long years of child raising. It’s not enough for handling the adult life difficulties and decisions you will face. It’s not enough to sustain a relationship that can survive beyond the empty nest. (Statistics on separations and divorce after children are born support this.)
What’s the solution?
Couples need to spend time together without the kids, to reconnect, enjoy each other, talk about your current lives, and plan for a future. Kid's needs are certainly important, and everyone knows that there are times, situations, and seasons when it just seems unlikely or impossible to take time out to spend it without the kids. Kids and parents get sick, relatives visit, holidays happen, schedules and activities become overwhelming. That’s to be expected,however:
"The most important need in every family is for partners to
take 'time out' with each other."
Besides ‘time out’ is not selfish and actually helps everyone in the family. Even short amounts of time can be useful.
Here are three big benefits.
Spending time without the kids, is not selfish.
It actually helps the children in many ways, like these:
Do you want some ideas for 'time out' as a couple?
You may not be able to get away for a two week vacation. However, with a little thought you can schedule time together. Here are some ideas to get you started building up your relationship to last.
No cost ways to get time out together.
Get up earlier than the kids and have coffee together and talk.
Write little notes to each other and tuck them in unexpected places to be discovered.
Turn up the TV after the kids are in bed and go to a room away from little ears to drink tea and talk.
Sit in the car when the kids are busy playing a video game. Hug each other, hold hands, and talk.
Pick up your spouse from work or an event, before you pick up your kids.
Low cost ways to get 'time out' together.
(Sitters costs less than a divorce.)
Schedule date night together without the kids. Put it on the calendar.
Go to the movies and grab an ice cream together.
Get the neighbor to watch the kids play and take a walk or bike ride.
Take the kids to grandma’s house and go out for breakfast.
Take action today to spend regular times alone with your spouse.
Hopefully, with this information and tips you and your spouse will take time out together, without the kids. Raising kids takes a ton of time, lots of attention. By working on it together and taking time out for yourselves, you will survive and especially enjoy each other long after they’ve left home.
What do you do to nurture your relationship?
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Twee’ means you and me
Helping spouses take time out for each other.
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!