How to Have a Happy Marriage When You’re Busy Being Parents - Page 2

The 60 second cuddle

You can often identify a newly married couple just by how much they touch each other — holding hands, sitting close, touching arms, kissing — just as you can spot an “oldly-married” couple by how little they touch. Mothers, in particular, often have less need for physical contact with their partners because their babies and young children provide so much opportunity for touch and cuddling that day’s end finds them “touched fulfilled”.
So here’s a simple reminder: make the effort to touch your spouse more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage – the good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.

Here’s the deal: Whenever you’ve been apart make it a rule that you will take just 60 seconds to cuddle, touch and connect. This can be addictive! If you follow this advice soon you’ll find yourselves touching each other more often, and increasing the romantic aspect of your relationship.

Spend more time talking to and listening to your partner.

I don’t mean, “Remember to pick up Jimmy’s soccer uniform.” Or “I have a PTA meeting tonight.” Rather, get into the habit of sharing your thoughts about what you read in the paper, what you watch on TV, your hopes, your dreams, your concerns. Take a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.

Spend time with your spouse

It can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all your time being “Mommy” and “Daddy”. You need to spend regular time as “Husband” and “Wife”. This doesn’t mean you have to take a two-week vacation in Hawaii. (Although that might be nice, too!) Just take small daily snippets of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even just quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys. A daily morning walk around the block or a shared cup of tea after all the children are in bed might work wonders to re-connect you to each other. And yes, it’s quite fine to talk about your children when you’re spending your time together, because, after all, your children are one of the most important connections you have in your relationship.

When you and your spouse regularly connect in a way that nurtures your relationship, you may find a renewed love between you, as well as a refreshed vigor that will allow you to be a better, more loving parent. You owe it to yourself — and to your kids — to nurture your relationship.

So take my challenge and use these ideas for the next 30 days. And watch your marriage take on a whole new glow.

Parts of this article are excerpted with permission from books by Elizabeth Pantley: Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading
Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions are Really Telling Our Children
by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary

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