Keeping Romance Alive—Even After Kids

Marriages can easily get overshadowed by the constant demands of parenthood. Keeping romance alive after kids can be difficult, but these are a few suggestions from psychology experts for how you can keep your romance alive!

Break from your norm.
Have you ever wondered why everything seems so bright and exciting when you travel? Our brains are wired to sort information into non-essential and essential elements for survival. When something is new, like when you travel, your brain has to process everything in full color before it can do this sorting. Once things become normalized or habitual, your brain no longer needs to notice everything. Color dulls and details slip into oblivion.

This neurological process happens with locations as well as people. A relationship with your spouse naturally becomes more and more entrenched in your daily routine and habits. Those habits become even more pronounced after having kids. To shake your brain from its rut and bring back the full-color effect of a new place or new relationship, keep trying new things. Studies show that novelty actually increases dopamine. So, switch up the routine by going to a different restaurant for a date night or playing a board game together instead of watching a movie.

Remember what united you B.C. (Before Children)
The everyday demands of having kids can easily make a couple forget the special things that united them before carpool coordination and meal prep required them to become comrades in arms. It is exciting and incredibly beautiful to be united in parenting, but a marriage also requires space to exist beyond parenting demands. Make it a habit to remember life B.C. What gave your relationship meaning? The relationship experts at the Gottman Institute call this “shared meaning.” Once you can identify your shared meaning (beyond children), talk about it often! Remind yourself. Remind your spouse. Shared meaning from before children can be easily forgotten, and it’s much harder to rediscover when spouses wait until becoming empty-nesters to remember.

Learn to speak your spouse’s love language.
When you’re with someone long enough, it’s no surprise that you start rubbing off on each other. Spouses can start thinking and acting so alike that it’s easy to forget you’re in a partnership with two completely different human beings. No matter how similar you and your spouse are, make sure you take the time to notice the specific way your spouse hears and feels love. Learning your spouse’s love language is as central to a relationship as making sure you speak the same language! How can two people communicate effectively if they are speaking different languages? Even if you think you are communicating love, it may not be in a way your spouse hears or understands. Take the time to learn your partner’s language, and even if it doesn’t come naturally, make the intentional choice to express love in that way.

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