There is no greater joy than knowing you’re taking good care of your family. However, sometimes marriage and parenting can feel like a circus act. Maintaining a romantic relationship with your spouse is important if you want a strong, healthy romantic relationship together, but your children need your attention too. There is a perfect balance that must be struck.
Many parents make the mistake of putting their children before their mate always, but this can lead to difficulties in marriage down the line. Of course, you are parents, but that doesn’t mean you don’t owe one another time, attention, and affection in the same way you did while you were dating.
How can you attend to one without making the other feel left out? Here’s how to balance your children’s needs VS your spouse’s needs to maintain a healthy family life.
Start with a Positive Attitude
Balancing family life with the needs of your mate can be stressful at times, but don’t let it get you down. Remind yourself that all your relationships are important and each needs its own attention.
You’ve probably heard the phrase date night floating around a lot these days with respect to married couples. Take one night a week where you have a babysitter on call and spend your time together doing something you both enjoy.
Date night does not have to mean hundreds of dollars at an expensive restaurant or show. The purpose of date night is for you and your partner to spend quality time together doing something fun or romantic. This night should remind you both of who you are as a married couple, not just as parents. Don’t rush your time together and avoid talking about subjects that will stress you out.
Make Time for your Spouse
Couples who don’t spend enough time together can start to snap at one another. Maintain a healthy relationship with your marriage mate by giving them the time they deserve for you both to reconnect and enjoy each other.
When you’re not having a date night, it’s still important to stay connected to your spouse. Make sure you’re taking at least a half an hour every single day to be together. This could be your lunch break, right after dinner, or during the time you’re lying in bed before going to sleep. You could also use your 30 minutes to go on a walk together or snuggle up and talk. Use this time to unwind and talk as if you were still boyfriend and girlfriend during dating days.
Make Time for Family Activities
One way to balance children’s needs vs your spouse’s needs is by scheduling time for family. Have daily activities that you do as a family, such as a board game night or eating meals together. Taking your kids for a walk, swimming, or spending a movie night are also great ways to spend time together so that your children form a bond with you and do not feel neglected. Make a list of things you can start doing as a family to deepen your bond.
Look for ways to Bond with your Children
While this fondness may fizzle out with teenaged kids, but, younger children absolutely love helping you out around the house. Look for ways to include your children in daily activities so that they feel they are an important part of your life. Have them help out in the kitchen, perhaps stirring a pot of food or licking the batter off your favorite cookie recipe.
Don’t leave your children in the dark
When your children can understand, tell them why parents need to spend time together. Use age-appropriate terms to explain that alone time is important for parents to stay connected. Just like your relationship with your child, your spouse needs your attention too. Use positive phrases like ‘This will make us better parents!’ or ‘Spending time together makes us very happy’. This will let your child know that taking time away from them is not a ‘ditch’, but rather a happy occasion for their parents to connect.
Schedule a Routine Bedtime
Children respond well to routines. Stick firmly to the bedtime that you have set for your little ones and use this as a time to your advantage. For example, sending your kids to bed early allows you time to tuck them in and give them individual attention; perhaps reading to them or talking about the day. You can also use this early bedtime to your advantage with your spouse, taking these final hours of the night to settle in with a glass of wine and connect over conversation.
Healthy for the Children
Focusing on your marriage may seem selfish when you’re choosing it over your children, but the truth is they need you both to be in good standing with one another. It is healthy for children to see their parents interact in a loving and united way. This gives them a sense of security. Plus, they’ll know that you work together as a unit. So there will be no asking mom for something and then going to dad when she says no. You parent together.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Balancing children’s needs vs spouse’s needs might make you feel guilty at times, but don’t feel so. Your children need your time and attention just as your spouse does and it is perfectly natural to want to nurture both the relationships. Always view choosing one over the other as a necessary bond that you are strengthening. The more connected you are to your spouse, the more recharged you will feel as a parent.
Spending time with your children and spouse are equally important, just as taking some time for yourself is. All of these things combined lead to a happy, balanced family life where all parties feel fulfilled and loved.
Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.