Couples can feel like ships that pass in the night. Life with kids is busy! You and your partner are always on the go balancing work, home, and family obligations. There are times when you feel like you haven't had a quiet moment together in months.
Conversations happen while multitasking, and with multiple interruptions from the kids. Between work, kids, laundry, and errands it can be a challenge to grab a minute together unless it is late at night, but by then you’re exhausted! I always talk about the importance of couples working as a team, but how the heck can that happen with such a hectic life? Well, I’ve got 3 quick and easy ideas for you to implement right now that will help you stay connected and strengthen your parenting partnership. 1. Weekly check-ins Instead of trying to piecemeal important conversations together, get intentional about setting up a time aside each week to talk about the more important things.
For some of my clients, a weekend morning works best because no one is rushing out the door for work or trying to get the kids ready for school. Others use weekday evenings after the kids are settled in. You and your partner can choose whatever works best for you. A few tips that help: * Set a consistent time so you don’t forget * Shut off phones so you’ll stay engaged * Keep it casual and relaxed, just touching base and reconnecting * If you need to discuss a more serious issue, focus on just one topic Weekly check-ins can be as quick as 15-minutes or as long as the two of you need to chat. Giving your partner a “heads-up” about a more serious topic you want to discuss will help him or her be prepared. 2. Gratitude It is amazing how something as simple as expressing gratitude for little things can help a relationship! Expressing your appreciation lets your partner know you have noticed his or her actions and it has made a difference. Even simple comments can make an impact. For example, * “I really appreciate that you loaded the dishwasher.” * “It’s so helpful when you make lunch for the kids.” * “Hey, thanks for getting those things from the store.” Your partner will feel loved and appreciated. Gratitude creates a positive dynamic in your relationship and builds a bond between you. BONUS: When kids see their parents living in and expressing gratitude, they are more likely to do it as well. Model what you want to see! 3. Strengths Part of good leadership is looking for and acknowledging someone else’s strengths. Think about how wonderful it feels when someone says to you, “I really admire how well you do ….” Now, think about how good it feels when you say that to someone else. One of the exercises I lead client couples through is a “strengths” exercise. I ask each person to list their partner’s strengths. It is amazing to watch the shift in each person as they hear their partner describe their strengths. This exercise also gives the couple the opportunity to see what they are working with as a team! If one partner is great at organizing and the other is great at wrangling the kids, together they are awesome at getting the kids out the door on time and with the needed supplies or equipment. Lean into each other’s strengths, it will make a difference! My husband and I discovered that we balance each other out in many ways. When the kids were in school, homework help was divided. I handled spelling, writing, etc., while he did math and science (he’s brilliant in both!). Mike is super handy and can fix anything, I handle the social/emotional/relational issues with the kids. Of course, we had to learn and grow into this, but after all these years we know where our lane is and what we can lean on the other for. Don't forget that partners are there to raise each other up and work together. What a beautiful example of a healthy relationship you'll set for the kids! I hope you find these 3 strategies helpful! If you did, click here so you don't miss my weekly tips and strategies!