After having my first son Jack, I never thought our marriage would get better with my husband, Eric. That disconnect in our relationship after Jack was born was one of my biggest shocks after having a baby.
But over time, our union withstood the trials of new parenthood and got better and is now stronger than ever! And, after baby number two, we were able to utilize the tools in Meredith’s article below to stay strong after baby.
With that, I want to introduce to you Dr. Meredith Hansen, who many of you have already met during our groups. Dr. Hansen has always had a strong passion for marriage success and early childhood development. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in California and maintains a private practice in Newport Beach, CA. For additional information about her practice, please visit her website www.DrMeredithHansen.com.
Balancing Marriage with Motherhood
By Dr. Meredith Hansen
Balancing motherhood with marriage can be difficult at times. When faced with the decision of meeting the needs of a child vs a husband, many women put their child’s needs first. While this can be a good decision at times, it can also begin to take a toll on your marriage.
According to John Gottman, an important researcher in the field of marriage, the greatest gift you can give your children is a strong relationship between [you and your spouse]. As much as your children need you to take care of them, they also need you to take care of your marriage. Your relationship with your spouse is their foundation. When your marriage is solid, your children feel secure and are thus more open to exploring the world around them. When you marriage is on the rocks, they pick up on it – even young children, which can cause them to feel less secure.
The good news is that there are simple ways to nurture your marriage even when you’re busy tending to your children, so you don’t have to make that choice. Try implementing these three tips below on a daily basis and you’ll soon notice a positive shift in your relationship.
- Praise Daily – Make an effort to identify one positive thing your partner did each day. Whether they took out the trash, helped get the kids to bed, or made it home in time for dinner, let them know that you appreciate their efforts. Too often we focus on what our partner isn’t doing and we must get in the habit of acknowledging what they are doing.
- Get Physical – Make sex a priority in your marriage. Connecting physically is an important part of maintaining relationship satisfaction. However, if you’re not making love regularly, make an effort to have a meaningful kiss each day (7 seconds). This will help keep your physical connection going.
- Continue to Get to Know – You probably spent a great deal of time getting to know your spouse when you were dating, but things change. Continue to get curious about your spouse and who they are evolving into. Ask questions and listen: What are their current stressors? What are they most proud of? What’s missing from their life? What are they looking forward to? The more you continue to get to know your spouse, the more you’ll continue to grow together as a couple.
I know it’s hard to keep the spark going after a long day of parenting, but these small little gestures will be worth it. Connecting with your partner on a regular basis can actually make parenthood more enjoyable. Not only that, but your children – from a very young age – are exposed to parents who are happy to be together and very much in love, which is essential to how they will build their own relationships in the future.