A strong marriage is one of the best things you can give your kids

By Liz Paul, Psychotherapist & Counsellor

We love our kids and want the best for them. And we know it is our job as parents is to love, nurture and protect them.

But what happens when a parent allows that responsibility to become all-consuming to the point they no longer have time to nurture their marriage?

It means there’s a risk their partner will feel rejected and un-needed, and if it gets bad enough could consider leaving the marriage.

I see it all the time in my rooms.

The partner who spends all their time looking after the kids argues that the kids are the priority. The other person agrees, but says there needs to be a balance.

And they are right, because in my experience a strong marriage is one of the best things you can give your kids.

Kids feel loved and secure when they see their parents happy and working as a team. They learn about relationships when they see their parents taking genuine interest in each other and when they are affectionate and respectful in their daily interactions.

 

There is a good chance your marriage will last a lifetime if you put your partner first

If you want your marriage to last a lifetime it takes more than the words “I do”. You need to give your marriage the attention and effort it deserves.

Shelving your marriage for 20 years while raising your children will increase the likelihood of your marriage dissolving by the time your kids leave school.

Sure, it’s important that your kids are properly cared for and have a good childhood. And, yes, someone has to be the taxi-driver, the lunch packer and homework checker etc etc.

But don’t let this busyness with the children become so acceptable that you and your partner become just room-mates.

Allowing this to happen by not finding the time for each other will invariably see you drift apart.

Maintaining a strong marriage doesn’t mean expensive kid-free holidays and regular meals at restaurants without the kids.

There are other ways to make your partner feel cherished. For example, spend time catching up with each other’s gossip at the end of each day, take a genuine interest when they struggle with a problem or are excited about something new. Be supportive of each other’s endeavours.

Eating together, going for walks together, giving each other lots of physical affection each day and trying to let go of old grudges all help to retain the love in a marriage.

Couples that ‘get it’ hug and hold hands often, text each other throughout the day (simple stuff like “I love you” or “missing you”). They tell each other ‘I love you’ often.

They plan their week together so they are both on the same page. Kids need you to operate as a team, it makes them feel happy and secure.

Remember little things count, they are the building block of our daily lives. Be courteous, show and declare you love, and be appreciative of what your partner adds to your life.

Remember important dates – let your partner know they are special to you.

Think of your ‘dream marriage’ and model it to your children. This way they will know what ingredients are necessary to make ‘the dream’ come true for themselves when they are old enough to have meaningful relationships.

Liz Paul

Psychotherapist & Counsellor
Sydney Individuals and Couples Counselling
Think Ahead Centre

Suite 5D, 5 Dee Why Parade
Dee Why NSW 2099

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Ph: 0422 306 679

liz@sydneyindividualsandcouplescounselling.com