I’m a parent now, I no longer have time to do anything with my husband. I’m too tired to do anything besides go to bed. We don’t have a babysitter. My spouse works a different shift than I do. He’s asleep before I can even get the kids to bed.
He only wants one thing when we are alone and I don’t want another baby right now. We have no extra money for that! And on and on and on. It’s easy to spend time with your children and even your partner and the children. However, it tends to be more difficult to focus on time with just your partner.
I’ve heard tons of excuses from my patients in my private practice about why they cannot spend time with their partners. I even hear excuses from patients who talk about how much they would like to spend time with their partners. They say they don’t have time. They’re tired of planning everything they do with their spouse and want their spouse to plan something for a change. The reasons that time together is simply not possible can go on forever. However, the reasons it’s important to continue to spend time with your spouse after you have children outweigh any number of reasons why it is not possible to do so.
We Need to Take Care of Ourselves
When we have families, it’s often difficult to remember to take care of ourselves and make sure we have time for other adults in our lives. The importance of spending time with your spouse or partner cannot be overstated. It’s good for you, your partner, and your children to spend time away from your children and only with your partner.
It may seem counterintuitive. However, time away from your children is actually good for your children. It gives you the opportunity to refuel and destress. It’s just like the concept of caring for your vehicle. You can go so far and so long without getting gas. However, at some point, you have to stop at a gas station and fuel up or the car simply quits working. The idea is the same for parenting. You have to take a break from your children and the normal stresses of daily life to refuel mentally. This allows you to be better able to handle whatever kid problem or life stress hits next.
Yes, You Should Still Date Your Partner
When I talk about the concept of dating your partner with my patients, they often do not believe this is such a major issue. They have all the excuses mentioned before and many more.
We all have twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. We get to choose how to spend that time. If that means you have to schedule time with your partner in your calendar or planner like you would a business meeting or other work event, then do it! Your partner is definitely worth as much thought and effort as that meeting or event, if not more!
Time spent with your partner does not have to be amazing vacations to the Caribbean or an all-inclusive resort in another tropical area. It can simply be time at home after the children have gone to bed. You can watch television or a movie on the couch. It can be taking a walk around the neighborhood. Sit in the backyard or on the front porch and just talk after the kids are in bed.
It can even be as simple as having a date night once a week or twice a month. Sit at the local ice creams shop and just eat ice cream in peace, not cleaning up after anyone or share your food. Go see a movie or watch a local play! Visit a park! Watch a professional sports game! Big exciting activities are great, and possible with planning. However, it’s the small activities that can be enjoyed more frequently that are the foundation for continuing to learn about your partner and enhance your relationship.
It is also important to stay connected with your partner because your partner should be your partner in life. Your spouse or partner should be someone you can rely on. You should be able to vent to him or her when you are stressed or scared or hurt. Your partner, your co-parent, should also be a person that you work with to help figure out what’s best for your family. What’s best for the children, how do you handle everyone’s needs, and how do you manage the children’s behavior problems?
Continuing to build a relationship with your partner is more than just doing fun activities together. It’s about good communication too. For your partner to truly be a partner you need to have open communication. You need to be able to talk about yourself, your relationship together, your separate and shared activities and enjoyment, and the children. Open communication can be difficult at times. Nevertheless, it’s worth the time and effort you put into it! You should continue to learn strategies to communicate better and to be open to your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions. For additional information and ideas see our post on communication skills
Additionally, it’s important to keep connected with your partner through the years while you are raising children together. This is beneficial for dealing with the current stressors in life and so you do not end up married to a stranger once your children are grown. Again, communication and time spent together are key to maintaining the relationship with your partner.
Being open to your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and your partner being open to yours has unlimited benefits with trust, respect, security, and a feeling of being fulfilled by your partner You and your partner do not have to agree on everything or even a majority of things in life, but when you utilized open communication strategies you can still have appropriate two-way communication with your partner that is beneficial to both of you and leads to maintaining a healthy relationship together.
Keep in Mind
You were able to choose your partner. You typically have no other family member in your life you were allowed to learn about and then decided if you wanted to keep them around. You put plenty of thought and energy into dating and learning about your partner’s likes and dislikes when you first met them. This interest should continue through the years as you both grow and change.
Open communication and time spent together in enjoyable activities are two of the best ways to continue to evolve in your relationship together.
- Remember, you were able to choose your partner. You are not likely to have any other family member that you were allowed to get to know before you were stuck with them!
- Family time is fun and good for everyone, but so is time with just your partner
- You need time with just your partner to refuel and destress to better handle whatever stressors tomorrow brings
- You need good communication skills to help to maintain open communication with your partner
- You want to make sure that your relationship with your partner stays strong and healthy and you still have activities you enjoy doing together…besides talking about the kids and grandkids…..once your nest is empty.