8 ways to Upgrade your Relationship…even after Kids
Do you remember when you met the love of your life and the only thing you could think of was kissing him? And when he was gone in the morning you would tenderly hug the pillow where he slept and inhale his smell, hoping to imprint it in your brain for the rest of the day?
The first few months, even years, of a relationship are so much fun; arguments are considered an improvement, a spirited way to get to know each other. Lovemaking doesn’t happen because it’s written on the calendar, but simply because you can’t get enough of his hands all over you. There is no need to spend “quality time”, because every single time you meet, the only thing you want to do is staring in each other’s eyes.
It’s a tremendous time, filled with excitement, uncertainty, and hope.
Fast forward to marriage, years together, sharing the roof (and the bathroom), kids, the relationship somewhat changes. All of a sudden if you ask your partner to wake up at dawn and to go down to the beach to watch the sunrise together, he looks at you and romantically says “What??? You crazy?”.
We all know that after the first 6 months the pheromones fade away, and we settle in a comforting routine made of grocery lists, picking up and dropping off the kids and paying the bills; romance doesn’t brew spontaneously in this kind of environment, and you need to put some work to make it flourish.
This is my relationship today; made of nappies changes, meal prepping, house cleaning duties and long working hours, and without enough alone time.
Still, it is the best relationship I have ever been into, and I (we) work very hard to constantly upgrade it. I pride myself on spending the life with a man that I would choose every day, and not because I have to, but because I know I wouldn’t be able to find someone else that completes me so well.
When people feel stuck, when they get bored and lonely, they start looking outside the relationship, thinking that someone’s else grass can be greener, and that’s where cheating and addiction normally happen.
I have shocking news for you: the grass is greener where you water it!
These are the 8 ways we keep our relationship not only alive but comforting and exciting at the same time:
The Good, Old Fashioned Date Night
Every week you (we)need a date night. If you don’t have kids, it’s enough to lock it in the calendar and stick to it. If you do have kids, it takes an extra level of organisation, but it’s super doable. When I say date night, I’m not referring to expensive restaurants and fancy nights at the theatre (unless you want to, and that’s absolutely fine); it can be as simple as packing up your dinner and bring it to the park, or going for a walk through the city, maybe visiting a new suburb. Or, if you don’ know where to leave your child, put him to sleep and then prepare a nice table with candles, switch on the music and order a takeaway. Whatever disrupts the usual routine, and whatever makes you feel excited, and allows the couple to have a space to talk freely, without interruption.
Nights don’t work for you? Guess what! There are brunch dates, breakfast dates, and lunch dates! The world is your oyster. On Thursday I have a breakfast date planned with my husband, right after dropping our child off to kindi, and right before going to work.
And I can’t wait.
Let’s go on Holiday!!!
The holidays are a great way to reconnect. If your finances and overall situation allow you to, pack your bags and go for an adventure; that’s going to bring the spice back into your relationship is no time. People seriously underestimate how important it is to go away from the routine, to visit new places, to unplug, to stop worrying about bills and so forth.
But I hear you, you have a business, small kids, you can’t go away for months; what about a camping night, or a weekend to the countryside, phone free?
Take your time to reconnect with your loved one, far away from where your business and relatives are.
Connect Daily (and I’m not talking about the phone)
At this stage I connect with my husband by hugging him when we wake up, and by sharing a coffee; in the past, we would connect by having sex, or by going for a run at dawn. At the moment we are lucky if we get 5 minutes for ourselves before the love of our lives wakes up.
I deeply treasure those moments in the dark, when we are still half asleep and the day is full of promises.
When can you connect? Before going to sleep? At breakfast? After dinner?
Connect daily; water your garden every day.
Dance yourself silly
My husband and I met through coffees, books, and music; during the first loved up months together that’s the only thing we talked about, and we spent all our finances in concerts, theatre tickets, and dinners. We loved it. Then we got busy, and we stopped.
It took my little daughter dancing skills to remind us how important music is to our relationship; it is a way to connect, dream big, speak up about our desires. We went back to listening to music and to dance ourselves silly, and I plan to do it until the end of my days.
Do something new. Together.
Before we got married, my husband and I took ballroom dance classes together, in preparation for our wedding; it was an eye-opener for me, as one step after the other, I decoded our relationship. I was the perfectionist, the control freak, the achiever. He was the dreamer, the down to earth safe zone, the fun one. We bonded and blended during those classes, and we learnt so much about each other.
Do something new together, as it’s a great way to learn about the person you are spending your life with. And remember that lots of fun may happen outside your comfort zone.
The “Talk Bubble”
Do you communicate with your partner? Or do you just talk mindlessly about other people’s lives? I don’t communicate with my husband daily; sometimes I’m just tired and I want to sit in silence. But when I do (at least once or twice a week), I listen, I openly express my feelings, and I prepare to receive feedbacks.
We are humans, and we need to talk, share and express. Communicating is another way of watering our garden, make sure you don’t forget the importance of it.
Touch, Do, Praise
There are different ways to express love. Some people treasure being touched, other people love to be taken care of. If you don’t know what your love language is (highly recommend you to take the quiz now), make sure to touch your partner, do something nice for him, and tell him how much you are proud of him ON A DAILY BASIS. It sounds so simple, and yet it can be so tough, especially when going through a rough patch. Train yourself every day by speaking words of kindness, by touching with love and by meaning what you say.
Focus on Abundance
How easy is it to focus on what you don’t have?
As easy as it is to focus on what you have!
At the moment I’m not living in the house we would like to have, our finances need some tender loving care, and we are not holidaying as much as we used to. But we have a united family, a great group of friends, a loving extended family, a warm apartment with a beautiful view, the beach and the park two minutes walk away, and enough money to live without worries.
If I focus on that, instead of what I would like to have, life becomes instantly so much easier.
Ah! And make love if you can!