Jacqui Kemmis-Riggs, Psychologist, Baulkham Hills NSW
13 February 2018
Given Valentine’s day is upon us again, I started thinking about love and romance and what that means to me… Funnily enough, I thought of how things have changed in the romance department since becoming a parent! Often parents I talk to remark that romance gets a back seat once a new baby comes along. If that’s something you can identify with, you’re not alone. Researchers have found that up to 67% of couples show a substantial decrease in couple satisfaction in the first three years of a baby’s life.
I am really passionate about parenting so I fully support spending time with our kids. They grow so fast and won’t be by our side forever but I also know that if we don’t make some time to focus on other important relationships, especially our partner, it’s almost impossible to have enough in our “love tank” to keep giving effectively to our kids. I know personally, unless I make a concerted effort to make time for myself and my relationships (with my partner, friends and family), my time can be swallowed up by the daily grind with nothing left over for the fun stuff that keeps me connected to people I care about.
Research shows that people with healthy, warm relationships tend to live longer and be healthier, both mentally and physically. (Here’s the link to a great TED talk if you’d like a summary of an incredible study, dubbed ‘The longest study on happiness’.)
So how do we balance spending time with our kids and meeting their needs, doing all of the essential tasks (like making some money so there’s food on the table and, if you’re lucky, washing some clothes so there’s something clean to wear) and including some romance, fun and joy into our daily life?
6 Tips for Connection for Time Poor Parents
Here are 6 of my favourite ideas to connect with your partner when time is pressured and you’ve found yourself missing some romance.
- Say ‘I love you’ every day and really mean it
- Surprise him/her with a romantic gift
- Have regular date nights (and be creative about things to do together)
- Give him/her a cuddle
- Laugh together
- This is a big one but incredibly important….Learn how your partner shows and expresses love and reciprocate in a way that he/she appreciates (Check out The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman for more on this.)
What’s one thing you’d like to do differently to add joy to your relationship this week?
Psychologist, Baulkham Hills NSW
Jacqui has worked with a diverse range of people from different backgrounds, experiencing or impacted by various mental health problems. She has experience in outpatient hospital, community and clinical research settings. She is passionate about early intervention and improving the quality of family relationships to create positive change in behaviour, mood and overall wellbeing.