Today, I’m going to talk about the four traps that couples get into after having kids. If you want to know what they are and how to avoid them, or what to do instead, keep on reading!
[thrive_headline_focus title=”1. Thinking that it’s all their fault if their marriage is falling apart” orientation=”left”]
Statistics show that when you have kids under five, it can be the most stressful time on a relationship. You are not alone. You are not unique. There is not something wrong with you. You are exhausted. You are learning a new skill. You’re trying to parent. You have more housework to negotiate. There might be a change like staying at home while your husband’s at work. Maybe the roles have reversed. A lot of changes and a lot of things to negotiate and navigate. So if you are struggling, it’s not just you!
In fact, research done by the Gottman Institute shows that 63% of couples after three years of their first child being born report being more unhappy in their relationship. So, honey, it’s not just you guys. Just breathe a sigh of relief. Your marriage is not headed for divorce if this is happening, okay? Let me help you with the other three tips to get you out of some of the other common traps and hopefully give you some really practical ways to make sure that you don’t completely lose contact with one another. So again, trap number one: thinking that it’s all about you, and that it’s your fault, and that nobody else struggles with this. Just ain’t true.
[thrive_headline_focus title=”2. Just ‘cohabitating'” orientation=”left”]
The second trap is that we get into this rhythm of sort of cohabitating and dealing with a lot of issues all the time. So like I mentioned, the issue of housework, the issue of parenting, the issue of who’s going to go out tonight, the issue of money, I mean the list goes on and on. The solution here is, you need some friend time. So even if it’s just a few moments in the kitchen or a few moments after the kids go to bed where you don’t talk about issues, and you have a friendly conversation just like you would with a friend. You ask them about their work, you ask them about their hopes, and their dreams, about their future. One of my favourite questions is, “What is your win for the day? What was your victory?” That can be kind of fun to know what your partner’s highlight of the day was.
Also, let’s be honest… life with kids doesn’t have to be so serious! You can still have fun and be goofy in the kitchen (I don’t know why I always think goofy things happen in the kitchen, I guess because that’s what happens in our relationship). You can pull out a board game. It doesn’t have to be some big date night or anything like that, because sometimes that can lead to a lot more pressure, but just a little bit more friend time.
Don’t fall into that trap, and stay connected with your spouse. Make sure that when you come out of that “survival mode” when your kids start to sleep a little bit and you’re not so engrossed in parenting, and not so exhausted, and you’re having a bit more sleep, that you aren’t complete strangers and end up having to work your way back to being friends. Unfortunately, a lot of couples at that point just feel like they drifted too far apart, so don’t get into that trap and make sure you get some friend time together. Remember, the only rule of friend time is no issues allowed, so no talking about budget, no anything, just zip it and put it away for later.
[thrive_headline_focus title=”3. Pouring all of their energy and resources into their kids” orientation=”left”]
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you’ve heard it before because it’s so true. The best thing you can give your children is a great marriage. I know it’s hard in this day in age, especially for moms, because we have a lot of pressure. We’re supposed to feed our kids properly, we’re supposed to make sure that they’re doing well developmentally, and they’re intellectually stimulated. We’re supposed to make sure that they’re well socialized. We’re supposed to have a beautiful home, cook delicious meals, keep on top of laundry (I’m never on top of laundry), make sure the kitchen’s clean all the time…. I mean, the list goes on.
It’s so easy to feel so inadequate, so it makes sense that we want to put all of our resources, energy, money, time, into our kids, when what they really need are parents who show love to each other. Sometimes, you just have to prioritize your marriage. Stick your kids in front of the TV if you can, and spend a few moments together, whether that’s having friendship time, or having sex, or whatever.
[thrive_headline_focus title=”4. Losing ‘touch’ with one another” orientation=”left”]
The last trap is about sex, of course. It’s kind of “losing touch” with one another (you see how I did that? “Losing touch?” So good). When you have little kids, women typically get a lot of cuddles in, right? You’ve got all that oxytocin flowing, maybe you’re still breastfeeding, you get a lot of touch. Your touch needs are met when you have little kids. Often, your husband’s touch needs aren’t met very much with their children, so they’re getting less snuggles and hugs, and because they’re generally at work (I’m being very stereotypical here, but it was just my experience). They’re kind of feeling a little bit like, “Whoa. What’s going here?”
Plus, sex is not just for your husband! Let me be clear: I do not agree with guilt sex at all or thinking that it’s just to appease your husband. That makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit. What I mean is, your relationship and you need sexual touch. That sexual touch is really the glue that holds your marriage together. That’s what gives you that bonding hormone, oxytocin, and also fills you up with endorphins, and dopamine, and all sorts of juicy, yummy, wonderful stuff. If that’s not happening in your relationship, then you yourself – I’m not just talking about your marriage – but you yourself are missing out on so many great emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental benefits.
What I find really great and what I teach in my program, 30 Days to Wanting it More, is a form of scheduled sex. You only have sex on the scheduled time, and within that structure, you have a lot more freedom to kind of be flirty and play around because you aren’t feeling like if you “start” something, you have to “finish it”. It really frees you up to enjoy each other a little bit more without that pressure to go the distance. Then, when you do meet up for the sexual experience, I also provide a new structure where women are the leaders of the sexual experience. If you’re interested in learning more about that, you can join my program any time you want. Right now we’re in a live round, but it’s fully set up to be self-guided.
I hope you are having a wonderful day, and I hope that these practical tips have helped you understand how not get in those traps or if you are in them, how to get out. Also, I really hope that you know that you are normal, and that it’s not your fault, and that if you’re struggling in your marriage, it’s because you have little kids, and it’s really hard! When they get older (my kids are eight and nine), it gets easier. I promise. Don’t believe anyone else who says, “It just gets harder. The challenges change.” No, it gets easier, okay? Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you guys later.