3 Ways to Stay in Love as Parents
Joey Mowery is a marriage counselor and relationship blogger. He writes about mental health, love, and video games at The Couch Co-Op Relationship Blog at www.joeymowery.com. I’m super excited that he agreed to share some of his knowledge and expertise. As parents, you know it is sometimes a challenge to get through a day, let alone find time to focus on love for your partner. I am certain you will benefit from Joey’s tips. Three Ways to Stay in Love During Parenthood will help you find that focus and return to the level of love you experienced at the start of your relationship.
3 Ways to Stay in Love
Children are great. If they weren’t, the human race would have died out a long time ago. As amazing as they are, however, they can bring about a lot of disruption in the lives of their parents. It makes sense in a way; children rely on you for everything from eating, to comfort, to hygiene. That’s a lot of pressure, and with pressure comes stress. Stress that can damage a relationship.
There must be a way to protect ourselves from our marriages collapsing under their own weight, right? Yes, actually; it’s pretty simple (like how climbing Mt. Everest is simple: Just go up and you’ll reach the top eventually!) Make sure that your connection is primary, secure, and vulnerable!
The Primary Relationship
We all know where babies come from, right? If it weren’t for you and your partner, your child would not be here. Your relationship with your partner came first; and it needs to come first.
What does this look like?
When I am talking to couples, one of the first assignments I give them is to go out on a date. Easy enough, right?
While you’re on this date you aren’t allowed to talk about work or the kids.
One of the easiest traps we fall into as parents is making our children the central point of our lives. Our hobbies? Kids. Our passions? Kids. Our friends? Other parents. What do we talk about? Our kids. We start to lose sight of the people we were before we reproduced, and after a while we look up and realize that not only do we not know our partners anymore, but we don’t know ourselves.
So make time to spend with your partner. As partners, not parents. And if you have trouble, here’s another free tip: let it be weird. Lean into the discomfort, and let that inspire you to start learning about your partner and falling in love with them all over again!
A Secure Relationship
I’m going to give you some advice that may seem both super-obvious and counterintuitive at the same time: if you want to be a great parent, love your partner first. Your relationship with your partner creates the context that your child will grow up seeing. Make sure that what they see is a couple in love!
Security in your relationship can take many forms, but at its most basic it simply means that nothing can tear you apart. You’re going to fight; but you fight like you love each other. You’re going to hurt each other, but you repair the damage as soon as you see it. You’re going to drift apart, but you find your way back.
Stay tuned in to your own needs, as well as your partners, and your relationship will grow its roots deep. Deep roots make for a stable home. A stable home makes for an awesome family life!
A Vulnerable Relationship
In my work with couples, I always stress the importance of vulnerability; that in order to be truly loved, you have to be truly honest. Not only with your partner, but with yourself. Brené Brown, the world’s pre-eminent expert on shame and vulnerability gave a great TED Talk on vulnerability; frankly, she can explain it far better than I can!
Genuineness is essential in a relationship. It is impossible to know what your partner is thinking at any given moment, and they don’t know what you’re thinking either. The only way to be truly known in your relationship is to allow yourself to be vulnerable to your partner. Vulnerability is all about giving your partner the opportunity to hurt you because you have faith that they will do their best not to!
So there you have it: three tips for making sure your relationship is set up to survive parenthood!
How do you make sure that your relationship is primary, secure, and vulnerable? Leave a comment!