As children return back to school, parents are forced to get back into a routine and structure with added responsibilities, potentially finding themselves stretched thin with not much time for themselves or each other. This problem is twofold: first, the relationship often gets pushed to the back burner which tends to couples losing sight of each other. Parents become consumed by the needs of the children and family, leaving them depleted with no energy to invest back into the relationship. Then, there's routine and responsibility that often kills the erotic. This is the opposite of what our sexual self needs to thrive.
With a more structured routine, and added responsibilities, many couples experience an imbalance of support. In many cases, parents often feel as though they are managing more responsibility than the other person. This often leads to anger, frustration and resentments. This is especially present in relationships where one partner carries more responsibility over the needs of the children and family.
Two things are necessary to work through this: open, honest communication and a shift in perspective on the roles within the team/partnership. Be clear about both of your needs and expectations, while being open to negotiating what is realistically possible for each partner. Families often fall apart when there are very rigid rules and expectations of how things are “supposed” to be. We are human, we are not perfect, we make mistakes, we have blind spots, and our best is always changing.
Some days and even seasons of our lives we may be able to support and withstand more than others. Partnership is allowing for BOTH experiences to be seen, heard, honored, respected and taken into consideration. Flexibility is key! We have to be able to highlight and capitalize on each other's strengths. This means that the specifics of the responsibilities may not necessarily be split 50/50, but more so on a “you take care of this and I’ll take care of that” basis.
What happens when couples become disconnected?
Disconnect often happens when too much time and focus is spent on work and the children, rather than the relationship/marriage. It’s easy to become so consumed by your daily lives that your relationship is pushed to the back burner, and sex is seldom a part of the routine.
After prolonged feelings of disconnection, couples may fall into a sense of dissatisfaction within the relationship. Partners may often feel alone and unsupported, and no longer consider their relationship a “partnership”. Sometimes, depending on the level of discontent within the relationship, children can sense strains and pressure within marriage and may respond by acting out in a negative or anxious way.
The investment of time and energy in the corporate or entrepreneurial hustle creates financial security for the family, and quality time with children yields healthy and happy parent-child relationships. It is essential to find a balance to ensure longevity and satisfaction within the marriage.
Why is it important to make your relationship/marriage a priority?
When you are on the same page as your significant other, and you are working together as a team, you can better navigate through various problems that often arise as your children grow and enter inevitable life cycle changes.
Studies show that the most resilient children and families stem from couples who have a solid foundation of unconditional love and support, mutual respect for themselves and each other, and an ability to be flexible through different stages of family life. When you are on the same page as your significant other, and you are working together as a team, you can better navigate through challenges as they arise. If the level frustration and tension within the relationship rise in response to consistent arguments and disagreements, children can often sense these strains and pressures within marriage and they sometimes respond by acting out in a disruptive or anxious way - which you may see now or later on into their adult lives.
Your family’s quality of life starts with the quality of the parental unit.
With the development of confidence and security, as well as passion and peace within your relationship, you and your significant other can become positive role-models for your children and their future relationships.
Helping to support each other’s needs - mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically - are essential to maintaining a happy and healthy marital relationship. These types of relationships have been proven to strengthen children’s school performance and peer relationships.
Not only does a healthy and happy marriage improve a child’s emotional intelligence, it is also important to consider that you and your partner are the role-models for your children and their future relationships. Ask yourself - Would you want your son or daughter to be involved in a relationship like the one you find yourself in now?
“If all you do is preserve the family and let the couple go, ultimately there may not be a family.” - Esther Perel
3 Tips for Reconnecting with Your Partner
Take 5-10 minutes to check in with your partner. Ask each other questions like: “Anything fun or exciting happen today?” “Did you have any challenges?” “Is there anything you need help or support with?” The emphasis here is on making time as a couple as well as communication a priority. If you can scroll on social media for hours a day, you can carve out 5-10 minutes to have a conversation with your partner that doesn’t just involve the logistics of what needs to be done in the family. Even if at first it feels unnatural at first, creating moments of connection and vulnerability day to day helps facilitate communication and diminish feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Weekly Rituals of Connection
Create a space to just be with your partner and enjoy each other’s company. This may involve some logistics and coordination with the kids. If that’s the case, try splitting the load where one person coordinates the plans for the couple- such as what the activity will be or where to go-, and the other coordinates the plan for the children- such as putting them to bed earlier or finding a sitter. Remember connection = intimacy (it does not necessarily have to be or end in sex.) Being intentional with creating space for the relationship opens the door for deeper intimacy later on. It is vital to make an effort to stay connected or reconnect as a couple unit without the children present. It’s also a good idea to try to change it up - not just dinner and a movie every week. Novelty often plays a role in cultivating desire.
Express Appreciation and Gratitude
We can easily take the relationship and current support our partner is giving us for granted. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and feel appreciated for the hard work they do everyday to keep the family afloat. And that support may look different for each partner. As previously mentioned, sometimes splitting responsibilities does not look like 50/50. Therefore, taking the time to acknowledge the work each partner does, helps to heal resentment and wounds from not feeling seen, heard, or supported. Being intentional in looking for things that you appreciate can help shift the perspective of the relationship, and the support you give and receive, from negative to positive, because it helps you to acknowledge the things that may be happening already.
If you don’t show appreciation to those that deserve it, they’ll learn to stop doing the things you appreciate.” - Unknown
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Board Certified Sex Therapist
You deserve to feel safe within your intimacy, and I'm specially trained to do that.
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Sex Therapist, my main mission is to help you foster true intimacy within yourself by guiding you through the therapeutic healing journey.
I offer complimentary consultations at 954-488-2234 to answer any questions you may have.