School is almost back in session, you’re running your kids around for activities, you’re trying to make time for yourself, and the list of to-dos goes on and on. Having children is great, but about 67% of new parents experience a drop in marital satisfaction after a new birth of a child (Shellenbarger, 2005). So, with so many things going on, what can you do to nourish your relationship with your spouse?
Seeking to connect is incredibly beneficial but it can be daunting to try and find time to do so. However, creating moments of connection does not have to be a huge part of your to-do list and can be done through very simple means.
Here are 6 simple ways to start strengthening your relationship:
1. Set aside time together.
Spending time together is important in building any connection. As your family grows, the time you can spend with your partner seems to decrease. You can make this priority by setting aside 20 minutes each day just for the two of you, no distractions. You may want to schedule a weekly date night so you can leave the house and spend one-on-one time together. Creating moments just for the two of you can make such a world of difference (Abreu-Afonso et al., 2022).
2. Make ordinary things feel more special.
You can make ordinary things special by using them as a vessel to help you spend time together. Maybe you can weed the garden together or you can help your partner work on the car (Harris et al., 2016).
3. Find a hobby or interest that you both can get on board with.
Planning time to invest in a hobby together can help you find another avenue through which you can spend time together alone (Tenginkai et al., 2017).
4. Remind yourself that no family or relationship is perfect.
Every person you know has gone through some sort of stressor in their personal and family lives. It’s important to remember you aren’t the only one who may struggle (Tenginkai et al., 2017).
5. Take time to remember and talk about special moments in your relationship.
Take time to reminisce on all the good memories you have. Share those memories with your partner (Abreu-Afonso et al., 2022).
6. Be kind to each other and express love for each other in front of your children.
Expressing love can be as simple as complimenting the breakfast your partner made. Doing so in front of your children helps them see how others should be treated. It also helps your partner feel appreciated (Harris et al., 2016).
Try taking a few minutes out of each day to work on a few of these simple methods. Be patient with yourself and your partner and look for results over time.
Abreu-Afonso, J., Ramos, M. M., Queiroz-Garcia, I., & Leal, I. (2022). How Couple’s Relationship Lasts Over Time? A Model for Marital Satisfaction. Psychological Reports, 125(3), 1601–1627. https://doi.org/10.1177/00332941211000651
Harris, V. W., Bedard, K., Moen, D., & Álvarez-Pérez, P. (2016). The Role of Friendship, Trust, and Love in Happy German Marriages. Marriage & Family Review, 52(3), 262–304. https://doi-org.dist.lib.usu.edu/10.1080/01494929.2015.1095268
Shellenbarger, Sue. “Not in Front of the Kids: Documenting The Emotional Toll of Parental Tension.” Wall Street Journal – Eastern Edition, vol. 245, no. 122, 23 June 2005, p. D1. EBSCOhost, https://search-ebscohost-com.dist.lib.usu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=17399009&site=ehost-live.
Tenginkai, G. S., Chadha, N. K., & Sharma, C. B. (2017). How to maintain a strong marital bond? Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, 8(9), 1093–1095.
By Hannah Butler, Extension Intern Cindy Jenkins, USU Extension Assistant Professor
Categories: Relationships & Marriage