By: Amanda Winstead
As a working parent, your time is a precious commodity. Between working 40+ hours a week, keeping things running at home, and making sure your kids get to their activities, it can be hard to find time for yourself, let alone keep your relationships alive.
It’s no wonder there are so many stereotypes about flames dying out or “losing the spark” in relationships over time. That doesn’t necessarily mean things are bad. It’s just how life works, right?
It doesn’t have to be.
No matter where you are in your marriage, it’s often very possible to rekindle your romance and keep your love thriving. If you’re reading this article, to begin with, you might be struggling in your relationship at the moment. Maybe you’ve even considered separating because the romance is gone.
But, by making a few changes and shifting your priorities, you can reignite that spark at any stage of parenthood. Let’s cover a few strategies and tips that can help.
Organize Your Time Commitments
If you have a busy schedule, one of the best ways you can keep relationships alive is to actively find a place for it. That means “turning off” parenting mode from time to time and slipping into a romantic mode with your partner or spouse. For some, that might include physically scheduling things like date nights, or even a night in with your partner. It can help to make a “standing reservation” with your spouse each week, no matter what you end up doing together.
While penciling in time with your partner might seem unromantic, it’s actually quite the opposite. It can show them that you are making them and your relationship a priority, no matter what else you have going on.
Think of your time as a budget. You might have other things going on or even things you want to do, but there are undoubted “time wasters” you can get rid of throughout your day that will allow you to spend more of your minutes with your partner. Some common time-wasting habits that you can get rid of include:
- Watching television
- Checking social media constantly
- Saying “yes” to everything
- Trying to make everything perfect
When your relationship is important to you, cutting other things out of your life can make a big difference in the amount of free time you have to spend with your spouse.
Date Your Spouse
It’s not just the amount of time you spend with your partner that counts. Rather, it’s what you do with that time.
Maybe you spend every evening together already, but that time is spent distracted by your phones or television, and you don’t find ways to talk or reconnect. If you want to keep the spark alive, date your spouse. Have fun together and don’t be afraid to get creative. Think about the things you used to enjoy doing as a couple before you had kids. Or, try something new together like:
- Joining a gym
- Taking a cooking class
- Taking dance lessons
- Exploring new places in your town/city
- Trying a new sport
If you’re going to date your spouse, consider adding more PDA back into your relationship, too. While it’s important to be tasteful and respectful of those around you, think back to when you first started dating. You probably couldn’t keep your hands off each other! Whether you reach for their hand as you’re strolling down the street or offer a quick kiss in a movie theater, little moments of physical affection can go a long way in keeping your romance alive while letting your partner know you still adore them.
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup. As a full-time parent, employee, friend, and spouse, it’s easy to feel drained and stretched too thin every day. So, taking care of yourself is incredibly important for the well-being of your relationship.
Women, especially, struggle to keep relationships alive as they get older thanks to changes in hormones. After their 40s, the testosterone levels in women tend to decline, which can cause things like lower libido and more frequent mood swings. Those changes can also impact your energy levels. On top of working all day and taking care of your family, it’s not hard to feel zapped by the end of each day – no matter your age.
By practicing self-care, you may not be able to stop the changes occurring in your body, but you can boost your energy. Try things like:
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Exercising daily
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing your stress levels
- Maintaining a healthy work-life balance
These are simple, everyday habits. But, they can go a long way in how good you feel. The more energy you have, the more eager you’ll be to spend quality time with your spouse. Plus, self-care can improve your focus, reduce your stress, and increase your self-confidence, so you’re more likely to be present around your partner, and feel good about your relationship.
Is it hard to keep relationships alive and thriving while you’re working and taking care of kids? Not necessarily. Does it require a bit of extra time and effort? Absolutely. But, if you’re willing to put in that work and let your partner know that the spark is still there, these ideas can bring you closer than ever.