Spending time alone with your partner will make it easier to find solutions to the problems and conflicts that arise
Finding the right balance also means setting aside time to spend as a couple. Why is that so important?
First, because spending time alone with your partner will make it easier to find solutions to the problems and conflicts that arise. When a couple spends time alone, they can talk, reconnect and better understand each other’s point of view.
Second, because this time alone nurtures your closeness, which is what defines a couple—as opposed to any other group—and makes it last. “A family’s survival depends, in particular, on the connection between the two adults, and this is a fortress that must be protected,” explains clinical psychologist John Wright.
It’s true that some women are completely fulfilled by motherhood and don’t feel the need to rekindle their couple as quickly as their partner does after the birth of their child. “Nevertheless, they have just as much need to reconnect,” he says, and reminds us that intimacy is not just about sex.
Genevieve and Pascal’s “tips”
We often set aside one-on-one time when the children are asleep to watch a movie, prepare a nice supper or play a game.
When we have family available to babysit or our budget allows us, we go out, ideally once a month.
When it’s just the two of us, we can take the time to talk, to listen to each other, to cuddle and think only of ourselves, even if, inevitably, we end up talking about the children at one point or another!
It’s also important for us to have common projects, like a home decoration project, for example. In the end, the secret to our “success” is communication, mainly about the children. Since becoming parents, we’re not just a couple, but a team, too.
Solutions to keeping love alive vary from one couple to the next, but they can all find something that works for them, even those with large families.
“The first thing is to be sensitive to what makes your couple tick and to express your love for each other in words and acts that support each other,” says Wright.
Talk to each other… about each other!
When you have a few moments alone, try to talk about the children as little as possible. Talk about yourselves and your projects. It’s important to be a “couple” and not just “parents.”
Mireille Dion repeats this message in her conferences: taking care of your couple doesn’t take money or extra time. We all possess the tools; it’s simply a matter of wanting to. “We often try to come up with extraordinary ideas or to set dream goals that require more time, money and organization. It’s far better to stick to the basics: the simple things you do everyday,” she advises.
“Calling your partner at lunch just to say hello, leaving a little note on the table or bathroom mirror, going to pick each other up after work, eating supper together when the children are asleep: all this doesn’t cost a thing!” she cites as examples.
She also encourages simple loving gestures that are far too often forgotten. “When your significant other comes back from work, what would happen if the first thing you did was give each other a real kiss? How many couples actually do that? There are at least three choice moments to reconnect in a day, even if you’re running short on time: when you head out in the morning, when you get back home after work, and when you go to bed at night,” she suggests. These little, simple things are so important when you do them!
United… even through stormy weather!
My partner and I are still together and in love after 24 years! But our relationship has certainly been put to the test more than once. After several miscarriages, we had two children, Daphnée and Yannick. Both undergo regular medical follow-ups. We have little outside help: our parents have passed away, and I’m an only child. And since I work four nights a week and my partner has gone back to school, our budget doesn’t allow us to hire a babysitter.
In spite of all that, we still manage to find some time for us: a walk together, taking care of our flowers or the birds. The important thing for us is to enjoy each moment together, to share our love for each other and to appreciate these special moments.
It’s important to set aside time for yourself and your couple, in addition to the time you spend as a family.
Making sure you have moments alone with your partner helps keep communication alive between you.
The little things don’t cost a dime and make the biggest difference: a telephone call, supper alone together when the children are asleep, etc.
Children are reassured knowing their parents love each other and show it.
If you can’t seem to find a good balance, seeking outside help may be a solution (friend, therapist, etc.)