A happy marriage doesn't happen without some work and commitment. Between school and activities and household chores, finding time to be together as a couple can be elusive. And let’s face it -- after a long day of taking care of your children and juggling the demands of work and home, trying to have a “romantic” night just may not be realistic.
But the less you feel connected as a couple and the more nights you spend vegging out in front of the TV instead of talking, the more likely you’ll perpetuate that cycle -- and that, say relationship experts, can be a potential problem.
To get out of a relationship rut -- or to add even more sizzle to an already hot-and-heavy happy marriage -- try these tips from real couples on how to create healthy relationship habits.
- Do mundane things together. That’s right: Time together doesn’t have to mean flowers and music and feeding each other truffles. Doing things together like grocery shopping or cleaning the kitchen reinforces the message for both of you that you are a team. The key is to get into the habit of spending time together, even if it’s just over folding laundry.
- Ask him to help more with the house and children. Speaking of chores, research has shown that men who do more housework get more sex. This is a no-brainer, gentlemen. There is nothing sexier than a man who rolls up his sleeves and scrubs the toilet and helps with the kids. (One of the hottest things I saw recently was a dad who had his daughter’s Hello Kitty backpack slung over his shoulder as he was walking her to school. Odds are, his wife wouldn’t trade that guy for Brad Pitt.)
- Tuck a note into his pocket. Tell your partner how much you appreciated something he did. Better yet, add something steamy that he can look forward to later when you’re alone.
- Text each other. The messages can be nice or naughty -- that’s up to you.
- Sneak in lunches. No time for a romantic dinner alone? Try to schedule lunches with your partner. If you can stagger your work schedule and go in a bit later some mornings, try to have breakfast together. Think of time with your spouse as being as important as a business appointment or a client -- schedule time with each other as you would a business meeting.
- Pay attention to each other’s needs. One wife told me that her husband bought her a new notebook because she’d mentioned that she’d like to start a journal. She, for her part, tries to make sure that she buys him a card or writes a note to tell him what he means to her, especially if he’s having a tough time with something at work.
- Try to have regular date nights. Even if it’s just once a month, having a regular date with your partner is an important part of a relationship. If you don’t want to pay for a sitter, trade off with another couple. Grade-schoolers are old enough to hang out and have dinner or sleepovers at each other’s houses, so take advantage of it.
The most important thing couples can do for each other and for their children is to keep their connection strong and healthy. By introducing some relationship-building habits into your marriage, you’ll create routines that your whole family will benefit from for years to come.