8 Ways to Keep A Healthy Relationship When You Have Kids
Updated: Jul 5
Children can really change your life and throw off the balance of your relationship.
As new parents, the sleep deprivation, ear piercing cries, and endless poopy diapers can really make a person feel like they’re going insane.
After giving birth, you can put your whole entire heart and soul into raising your new baby and you can totally forget you had a significant other before you had your baby.
You must remember that even though your life is changing, you must keep those strong bonds with the important relationships in your life.
Many husbands will admit that they feel neglected and left on the back burner after the baby arrives because mom is spending time with the baby most of the time.
This can lead to marital and relationship issues and cause your romantic relationship to decline.
To maintain healthy relationships with your spouse, you must remember to spend quality time together to maintain your happy marriage.
I’ve compiled a list of 8 ways to keep a healthy relationship when you have kids.
1. Go on Date Nights
An important thing to do as a couple is to have a date night, whether it’s weekly, biweekly, or monthly. My husband and I try to find a sitter at least once a month so we can go on a date. We are so lucky to live near family members who can watch our children, but we would hire a sitter if we were not. Finding fun things to do during a pandemic is difficult, but depending on the season, you can find different indoor and outdoor activities to do. You could check out a local drive-in movie theatre, take a walk around your neighborhood, or spend an evening cooking dinner together.
Check out my post 30 Fun Summer Date Night Ideas to get some regular date night ideas for those nice summer nights.
You can also take a look at my post Date Night Ideas Under $20 During Pandemic if you are still looking for some safe ideas.
2. Stay up Late or Get up Early to Spend Time Together
Sometimes staying up late can be difficult when you must be up early for work in the morning but spending an hour together on the weekend after the kids have gone to bed is a great way to spend time with your significant other. You can spend this time watching a tv show together or chatting about your day. If you are not night owls, you could get up first thing in the morning before the kids instead. Put on a pot of coffee and sit outside relaxing before the children wake up for the day. An hour in the morning or at the end of the day together can make a big difference in your relationship.
3. Find Time for Intimacy
This is a given with every healthy relationship, especially after children. It can be difficult to set aside intimate time if you have a baby who still sleeps in your bedroom, or you have a toddler who wanders in your room every night. Making time for each other is especially important to keep your relationship strong, so remember to set aside time even if you need to put it on the calendar. A sexual relationship and is just as important and is one of the simple things you should make time for. The last thing you want to do is neglect your sex life and create a difficult situation for your spouse.
4. Make Time for Yourself
It is important to spend time with your significant other to have a healthy relationship, but it’s also important to spend time alone. Draw up a bath, go for a run, or just get in the car and drive around by yourself. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing alone, make sure to find time to do it. Everyone needs time to themselves without their children and it will make both of you better parents and partners if you can have some time to relax and destress. It may seem like you don't have much time to devote to yourself, but you will not have much energy if you spend every waking hour devoted to your children.
5. Open Communication
I may sound like a marriage counselor here (which I am not), but you really should be open and honest with your significant other. The best way to do this is to spend a little time talking about issues you are having or how you can both improve in certain aspects. If you need assistance in this area, I do suggest speaking to a marriage counselor or family therapist for professional help who could help you discuss your relationship in a safe space. If you put in the hard work and discuss any important topics together, you can have a better relationship and become much more responsive parents.
6. Have Conversations About Topics Other Than Work and the Kids
Your children are important and sometimes you may feel like your life revolves around them, which can leave limited topics for conversation. You do not have to discuss your children and your work every time you are away from them. Come up with some interesting topics to discuss for fun and write them down so the next time you are chatting with your significant other, you have something new to talk about. Having a fun adult conversation can create some positive changes in your relationship and you can find different ways to bond with each other. It's the little things that can create a strong relationship.
7. Find a Hobby or Activity to Share
Do you want to take a ballroom dance class or a cooking class together? Maybe you wanted to start watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order or go to the gym together. The sky is the limit with activities to do together that you both will enjoy. You could even find activities to do together in your house after the kids are in bed if you have trouble finding a babysitter. Doing extra-curricular activities together can remind you that you are a human being and not a super parent who must spend all your time devoted to your children. The primary focus is to find fun activities to do together so you can find the right balance between being parents of young children or older kids and being in a marital relationship.
8. Be Silly!
This one may be strange, but you need to be silly with your significant other if you want to make it through these parenting years. Kids can really put a strain on your relationship and can lead to stress and tension. Our children know how silly and weird we can be, and they love to join in. We have a stronger relationship because we are not afraid to show our children what positive relationships and unconditional love look like. Sometimes you need to just roll with the craziness and laugh it off. You may have pen all over your wall or chocolate milk all over your couch right now, but in 10 years, it won’t matter. So be silly in front of your kids, have inside jokes, and make your kids question your sanity because you're in it for the long haul.
If you're looking for more than 8 ways to keep a healthy relationship when you have kids, here are some honorable mentions.
- Keep the romance alive!
Do small gestures for each other! The good news is there is a reason your spouse is with you, so show them you still care. Try to show them how much they mean to you on a regular basis with sweet gestures. Put a love note in their lunch, do a chore they usually do, make their favorite dinner, give them a massage, or pick up their favorite snack. Showing your spouse you care with a small gesture can go a long way to help maintain a healthy relationship and should not take a significant amount of time to do.
- Social Interaction with Other Adults
Many parents can feel cut off from the world once they bring a new baby into the mix. Naturally with less sleep and constant feedings, you will find yourself feeling stuck in the house more than you did before. Remember to reach out to friends and family after you have your baby. They could bring you a meal, come over for a cup of coffee, or you could put the baby in the stroller and head out for a walk. It's a good idea to have an adult conversation with someone other than your spouse about things besides the baby. Staying in touch with friends and family can help you and your significant other keep a healthy relationship because you will have some time to spend with people other than your baby and each other.
- Decide Who Will Take Care of Certain Chores
This may seem odd and not very important, but arguments over household chores can really hurt relationships. Before you become expectant parents, you may have had certain chores you each did, or maybe you only cleaned up after yourselves and did your own laundry. After baby arrives, this is no longer possible because you will both need to take care of and clean up after baby. Many times, one parent feels that they take on more responsibility for the baby after they are born and start to resent the other parent. Make sure to address these issues and make small changes right away to avoid resentment in your long-term relationship.
In our family, my husband tends to handle the majority of the outside chores and I handle the chores related to the children and the laundry. Since my husband works outside the home, I tend to take on as many inside chores as possible. This has worked for us for many years, and we try to discuss chores immediately when changes occur.
If you're a stay-at-home mom and you're looking for a schedule to use, check out my post Daily Routine for Stay at Home Mom’s. Here you can find a printable daily routine to follow.
- Avoid Heated Arguments
I know what you're thinking... how could I avoid an argument? It is human nature to get into an argument and they can't be completely avoided. What I do suggest is to avoid heated arguments, so you don't say anything you'll regret. If you are screaming at each other, take a step back and walk away for a few minutes. Allow yourselves to cool down and come back when you feel like you can have a civil conversation. You will get the least amount accomplished if you are angry and yelling. Even if you are on hard times or are just not in a good place at that moment, the best thing to do is step back and come back to the discussion at a different time. You also don't want to yell at each other in front of your children, so giving yourselves extra time to breathe can stop you from having a heated argument with your children around.
- Sleep in Separate Rooms Occasionally
You should never be ashamed if you need to sleep away from each other for a night. It can be helpful to sleep in a different environment if one of you is snoring or has a weird work schedule. It can also be helpful to get a good night sleep if your significant other has an illness, like a cold or virus, that keeps them up all night long. You cannot be your best self for your family if your spouse kept you up all night coughing or snoring. You do not have to sleep apart for a long time, or at all if you do not want to, but it can sometimes help your relationship get stronger.
- Use Separate Sheets When Necessary
I also know many couples who use separate sheets to sleep to avoid fighting over them in their sleep. You can still make your bed with one comforter on top but have 2 sets of top sheets or blankets underneath the comforter. Maybe you are cold at night and your significant other gets really hot. Using separate sheets can allow you to use what keeps you the most comfortable while you sleep.
- Remember the Kids are Not Little Forever
Enjoy the time together when the kids are little and cherish every moment. Take pictures when you can of each other and know that this will not last long. Eventually your little children will become older children and move on to live their own lives. Try to go on adventures and family outings as a family because one day, it will be the last time. Once your kids are grown, you will take on a different role in their lives, but you and your spouse can still be in the same role in each other's lives. Maintain that healthy relationship from the moment you become new parents to the day they move out because you will be experiencing it together. Someday you could even be grandparents together.
Get out and spend some time as a family.
Check out my post 30 Outdoor Summer Activities for the Whole Family for those beautiful summer days.
Head on over to my post Outdoor Snow Day Activities for those cold days in Winter.
The only way to have a good relationship with your significant other is to stop having unrealistic expectations about the perfect family and the perfect life.
Social media and television will show the perfect life with the big house, brand new vehicles, perfect children, and the picture-perfect life. I learned early on that your life is yours to live and you should not try to create a family life based on anyone else.
Spend more time in a loving relationship devoted to self-care and nurturing family relationships and less time trying to have the perfect family.
Just remember, your children might be the most important part of your life now, but after they have grown up and moved out to start their own families, your significant other will still be there with you.
Do you have any tips to maintain a healthy relationship when you have children?
Do you schedule time together or spend enough time with your significant other?
Comment and share below!