I hope you had a chance to check out the first 5 tips I shared with you in my last post, Having Kids & Staying in Love: 5 Tips for a Strong Relationship. If not, be sure to take a look and bring them to life in your relationship! Now I'd like to share 5 more tips with you, excerpted from my booklet, 52 Tips for a Magical Marriage After Your Child is Born.
1. Lighten up. The more you laugh the more loving you'll feel. Laugh at each other. Laugh at yourself. Share it with your partner when you can find the humor underneath the stress.
As simple as this sounds it speaks volumes for maintaining a loving relationship. Although lack of sleep, middle-of-the-night feedings, baby vomit on your clothes, arguing siblings, very little sex, and different parenting philosophies may not seem so funny, you must find a place forhumor.
When my son was 7 months old I was bouncing him around on my shoulders, doing anything I could to get him happy. In the meantime, my husband and I were not talking because of a huge disagreement we were having over something that seemed really important at the time. All of a sudden, during my pacing and bouncing, my beautiful baby boy chose to vomit all over my head, dripping down my face. I let out some sort of primal scream that had my husband come running in to the room. With one look at me, and a now giggling baby, he started laughing hysterically. I stood there quite angry for a moment and then all I could do was laugh, too. The ice was broken.
I got cleaned up and my husband and I were able to resolve our disagreement quite quickly. There's no doubt in my mind that it was the laughter that brought us back together.
Raising children can be overwhelming. So if you can find the punch line amidst the stress, share it out loud and have a good laugh together. If you can't see the humor, look harder. Believe me, it's there.
2. Express any new needs now that you're a parent. Your needs will change tremendously as a parent. It's critical that you share with each other what those needs are. These are some needs I've learned are quite common for new parents:
- Hearing from your partner that you're still attractive.
- Needing less physical connection after having a baby on you all day.
- Wanting to socialize less.
- Needing more alone time.
- Needing to have your partner fend more for his or herself.
- Needing more adult conversation.
- Needing to be acknowledged for your contribution to the family.
3. Call to say, I love you and surprise your partner. A quick phone call filled with expressions of love reconnects the two of you instantly. Leave love notes with special messages to find during the day. It will make a tough day more pleasant and keep you connected when you're apart.
4. Respond to the question lovingly. If asked during the call. How's your day going? and it's been a rough day at home or at work, simply say, It's been a challenging day. Your call just made it better. I can't wait to see you and spend some alone time. I love you for calling.
As human beings, when we're having a bad day, we're quick to complain
to our partner about everything that's gone wrong. This is not the time for
that. It's simply about staying lovingly connected in the moment. So put
your frustrations aside and be your partner's lover.
5. Give an unexpected hug. When asked, What's that for? simply say, Because you're the best partner and dad/mother in the world, and we're lucky to have you.
Nothing brings your partner more joy than those unsolicited, physical
affections of love and comments of appreciation. And I promise you, as
you do this for your partner, you'll end up on the receiving end when you
least expect it!
In a couple of weeks I'll post my final 5 relationship-nurturing tips. For now, I invite you to apply the tips I've shared with you in this post and see what a difference they make in your relationship!