Being a parent (not just a mother) in a relationship can be hard, between all the diaper changes, feedings, tidying up, and other “parent” things, your partner can be forgotten. However, if you and your partner share responsibilities and communicate effectively, this can really help with keeping the spark alive.
I’m still in the honeymoon phase of my marriage – we’re now three years in but I’ve known this man for half of my life. As we grow, our interests change, so does our love languages, this means that we always need to ensure that we’re communicating and paying attention to each other, in order to pick up on the little things.
Here are some ways that my husband and I strive to keep the spark in our marriage:
- Say I Love You
Say it and say it like you mean it. Mean it! These three words coming from the man of your dreams or your current crush, can take you off your feet daily. Religiously, (often randomly), my husband and I would hug each other, give kisses and say I Love You. If we get too caught up with our daily activities, and realise that we haven’t yet said / heard it, one or the other of us would reach out and ask with the funniest face “When was the last time you told me that you love me?” or “When last you hugged me?” This is our way of reminding each other that we’re putting our relationship second and it should never be no matter how busy we get.
- Be The Yin to their Yang
Being in a relationship is constant teamwork. My partner is the BEST team player on our team. We’ve been excelling as partners because we’ve squashed gender roles – he doesn’t expect me to cook, work, clean AND care for the babies. He knows that I have to deal with homeschooling our toddler, and taking care of our newborn baby; so to support me and make sure I’m not exhausted, he prepares 95% (the 5% I do is whenever he’s out of the country) of our meals, tackles the laundry, does grocery shopping ( has a written list and one on his phone to make sure he gets it right), among other key things around the house. I mean, which woman doesn’t love a man taking full care of her?
- Be Spontaneous
You don’t always have to buy lavish gifts or plan expensive trips to be spontaneous. My husband would randomly return home with a cup of cappuccino for me from my favourite coffee shop, or order in my favourite meal, or would send a message or call and say get dressed we’re going for a drive or walk. It’s really the simple things that keep the spark or your spouse feeling loved.
No, not the Coffee Shop but daily rituals you can create at home. Parenting is exhausting, from getting the children ready, to preparing meals, and blah blah. Having rituals really make things easier. You can have simple rituals, such as, waking at the same time so you can brush your teeth together, whilst having a morning laugh; saying morning and evening prayers together; having family breakfast or dinner once a week; going for Sunday afternoon walks with the family; couples games night, etc. We enjoy family rituals because it’s also important for the babies to grow up in a loving and nurturing environment. For example, my toddler randomly gives us hugs and kisses, and says I Love You because she sees us doing these things, with each other and with her. She also says “you need to apologize” , as apologising is something we do as partners when someone has done something that deserves an apology.
- Set Goals Together
This makes the team even stronger. We set fitness goals, financial goals, personal goals and relationship goals together. This means we hold each other accountable. It also fosters room for meaningful conversations between us.
- Give Each Other Space
Giving space doesn’t mean that you neglect your partner or stop checking in. It means that you are affording your spouse the space they need to pursue and enjoy their own interests and hobbies. Remember, you’re still two different individuals. Giving my husband his space means that he’s comfortable and free to visit the cricket club and hang, or to enjoy Sunday morning football with his dad and uncle. Conversely, it means him allowing me to meet-up with my girlfriends, participate in volunteer activities (as he watches the children) or even enjoy some me-time at the spa.
These are just some of the cool ways we keep the spark in our relationship whilst taking care of our children. How do you keep the spark in your relationship?
Photos by: Lu Barnwell