Work, household chores, child care, helping with homework, running kids to activities or friends’ homes, coordinating playdates, volunteering for the PTA, the to do list never ends. In the middle of it all, it seems intimacy gets pushed into the background, and maybe even forgotten entirely. If this describes your life recently, it’s time to move your partner up your priority list. But how, when there are so many demands on your time?
Commit to a healthy relationship
It starts with making a firm decision that your relationship is your top priority. There may be times when something else temporarily takes priority, such as when you have a new baby or you have a big project at work. Even then, don’t forget the little things, and don’t forget to reconnect when the baby starts sleeping through the night or the work project is complete. Make a commitment to let nothing come between you. Even small pseudo-dates can help. Have a “power date” every once in a while, after the kids go to sleep. See how much romance you can pack in 30 minutes (this doesn’t necessarily have to end up in sex).
Take care of yourself
Your partner may be the center of your world, but don’t make your partner your whole world. Find friends and activities outside of your relationship to keep you inspired. Time apart makes the time together better, and also gives you something new to talk about other than the kids.
Disrespect is poison to a relationship. If you’re feeling disrespected, address the issue, but do it respectfully. Eye rolling, hurtful criticism, and spiteful sarcasm will all drive a wedge between you and your partner.
Date night and vacations are great, but aren’t going to help your relationship a whole lot if you don’t stay connected in between. Let your face light up when you see your partner, don’t forget the hugs and kisses when one of you leaves the house, and make a point to touch one another when you pass in the hall. These things take literally seconds (or less), but are so important. Bonus points if your displays of affection make the kids roll their eyes.
Technology is awesome, but too much of anything can be harmful. Don’t let TV, the computer, the phone, or anything else take priority or take so much of your energy that you have none left for your relationship.
Be intentional, be creative, be spontaneous
Intimacy doesn’t just happen. It takes a little bit of effort. Plan to dedicate time to your partner, and be open to those moments that lend themselves to it. Try being creative. Exhausted at the end of the day? Try morning snuggles and see where they lead, or save water and hop in the shower together.
Look for the good
Your relationship won’t always be easy, there will be times of stress and strain. When you feel like quitting, make an effort to look for the good. The more you look for the good, the more of it you will find.
When all else fails, it may be time to talk with a professional to help you break away from old patterns and establish new, healthy ones.