How is your relationship doing? Find out how to strengthen and improve it with this informative article by Family Therapist Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem.
10 Ways To Maintain And Strengthen Your Marriage Bond
By Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem, M.Ed
When baby makes three or even four or more, it’s important to maintain an adult connection with your spouse. Marriage is a relationship that usually starts before children are born and hopefully lasts long after they’ve moved on and started families of their own.
The demands of babies and children often exhaust parents. It can be difficult to remember that you had a life before children and will have many years after childrearing ends. Working to keep your marriage alive and the intimacy present is a vital part of creating a relationship that lasts.
Children feel secure when their parents are comfortable with each other and open conflict is minimized. Happy parents help create happy children.
1. Make eye contact and smile at your spouse in a way that says: “I love you.” Couples often do this when dating then let the simple act of connection stop once responsibilities invaded their space and time together.
2. Touch your partner in non sexual ways with a pat on the hand, a kiss on the cheek, holding hands at the mall and sitting close on a couch. Physical contact is a great way to say: “I’m glad you’re here with me.”
3. Praise your spouse to your children. Simple comments like; “Mommy made a delicious dinner for us.” and “You’re very lucky to have such a clever daddy who can fix your toys.” This helps teach children to appreciate their parents and let your spouse know you value their part in the family.
4. Call your spouse by an endearment or their first name when addressing them. The role of parent is just one aspect of the person with whom you share parental responsibilities. Well functioning families have a boundary between the adult relationship and the children. Do not accept children calling parents buy their first name even though they will try doing it.
5. When conflicts arise work to identify the problem and do not attack the person. Problems in parenting and household management can be solved much easier than repairing damage done by name calling and personal attack.
6. Plan time to converse with your spouse when issues of parenting are not the topic of conversation. Find something in each day from the news, your activities or interaction with others to maintain adult/adult conversations. Listen and then ask questions about topics not involving responsibilities.
7. Understand that you are two individuals with goals, hopes and dreams that may be different. Having individual interests and relationships can strengthen a marriage and maintain self confidence and self esteem.
8. Neither spouse is right all the time. Acknowledge times when you have erred and apologize with sincerity while making every effort not to repeat the words or deeds that caused a problem. Accept that it takes two to create a marriage but only one to end it.
9. Understand that there is no one right way to raise children and listen to your spouse before creating parenting rules you expect them to follow and enforce. A great deal of resentment and anger results when one parent insists that their way is the right way with no compromise or agreement.
10. Laugh and play together. Let your inner child come out. Remember there is life after diapers and dishes. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
A strong marriage includes playtime for adults that does not include children. A major source of adult pleasure is the sexual relationship that is one of the glues that holds a couple together. When each spouse is aware of their expectations and private time is shared the marriage bond deepens. The spontaneous passion of new love is very different than the shared satisfaction of mutual pleasuring. Verbal and physical communication are important components of keeping the emotional bond present.
When you feel you don’t have the skills, the energy or the money to spend on your relationship remember that your children will grow up and leave you. Accept personal responsibility to make the difficult choices to maintain your marriage on an adult level.
Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed. is a Marriage and Family Therapist who consults to businesses on issues related to workplace relationships. She is the author of books on personal growth through travel and as a speaker presents to audiences both large and small. You can find out more about her by visiting her website at http://www.questpublishing.ca