Marriage. It may be the ultimate romantic goal for most of us, but it’s certainly not the end of your relationship efforts. Too often, we see this as the be all and end all. Once we’ve got a ring on our fingers, we don’t have to worry anymore, right?
In truth, though, divorce rates should be enough to tell you that isn’t the case. Besides, even if your marriage continues, it isn’t going to stay strong if you stop trying. Love is one of those ever-evolving things which need care and attention. Think of your marriage as a plant. It needs light, water, and attention to flourish. And, if you don’t give it those, you and your partner will soon become unhappy.
Sadly, the reality is that many of us don’t even notice the issues. Life is busy, there are kids in the house, and frankly, you have more to worry about than your relationship. That’s normal, and no one said this was ever going to be easy. But, before you throw away the love you’ve worked so hard for, consider the true cost of your failure to nurture it.
You forget about intimacy
One cardinal mistake for many married couples is to forget intimacy. When you were in the early days of your relationship, the chances are that you couldn’t keep your hands off each other. You remember the days? Weekends spent in bed and make out sessions on the sofa. It was like the two of you were glued together at one point.
Now, the most you exchange is the occasional pat on the hand. You just don’t have time for all that stuff anymore. And, you’re so exhausted when you get into bed that you fall straight asleep. Besides, most nights, you don’t even have the same sleep pattern anymore. Nothing in your lives seems targeted towards intimacy. And that’s fine by you. Right now, it’s the last thing you want anyway. There’s too much going on!
The trouble is, intimacy is ESSENTIAL in any relationship. And, no, that doesn’t have to be mad love in the bedroom. Kissing, hugging, and general affection is the foundation of love. These are what keep you connected with your partner. And, bedroom antics sometimes don’t hurt, either.
The trouble with neglecting these areas is that you’ll soon start to feel distant from each other. Your marriage may well become like living with a best friend, rather than a partner. You may love them, but you’ll struggle to feel in love right now. And, in extreme cases, that can lead to miscommunication and hurt feelings. In some instances, you may even start to spot signs he is cheating. And, you don’t need us to tell you how crippling that could be to your family. But, no matter how much you love each other, a lack of intimacy can lead to desperate measures.
Which is why you need to make an effort in this area. It’s all too easy to adopt a ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude, but you’re sure to regret that down the line. You don’t have to go all out with this all the time. Merely kiss each other when you walk into the same room or cuddle up on the sofa in the evenings. These are small things which can help to keep you connected.
You never get time alone
When babies come along, it isn’t unusual for a married couple to have a lot less time together. In fact, there’s no getting around it. Your kids are going to take up the majority of your time. As such, endless days of enjoying each other’s company become a thing of the past. That’s the sacrifice we make for parenthood, and boy, is it worth it.
But, there’s no reason why time alone has to be off the cards altogether. If you never spend that quality time, you’ll forget what it was you enjoyed about each other’s company. And, that’s not ideal for obvious reasons.
So, though your little ones should be your primary priority, it’s essential you don’t forget to leave them to the side sometimes. Don’t be afraid to book a babysitter and go on regular date nights, for example. Admittedly, you may feel some guilt if you aren’t used to leaving your baby. But, if they had the choice, they would rather go without you for one night and have parents who were in love.
No matter how difficult it is to get into this habit to begin with, you’ll soon find that you look forward to this time. If it helps, build things slowly. Head out for an hour one month, then two, then three. Before long, you’ll find that you can even stop watching the clock. Instead, this will be like going back to the dating days of your relationship and remember why you fell in love.
You only ever talk about the kids
Even when you do get out together, you may find that you don’t have anything to say, other than stuff about the kids. You’ve been going out for weeks now, and you’ve spoken about nothing more than your children’s antics. This can play heavily on anyone’s mind. Why can’t you find common ground with each other anymore?
In truth, it’s important to remember how many years you’ve already spent together. Conversation is sure to run dry. Besides, neither of you care about anything more than your children. In fact, it’s likely this is all you talk about with most people. Only, that doesn’t matter as much.
But, addressing this problem is half of the battle. Next time you go out, make a rule that you can’t talk about the kids. Any time conversation drifts back, stop and start again. It’ll be difficult, and awkward, and bring this problem to the fore. But it’ll also push both of you to talk about other things again. Even if you start with the weather, this is a sure step back on the right track.