Your romantic relationship with your partner may be the most important one in your life. But what about your children? Having kids can definitely complicate things between you and your romantic partner but you can keep your relationship alive even when you have kids. All you need to do is use these 5 habits every couple needs to nurture their romance after they have children.

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1. Focus on Your Partner

It can slip into the back of your mind to prioritize your partner when you have children. Let’s be honest, anyone subjected to loud screaming, lack of sleep, spitting up and all of the other perks that come along with babies and toddlers can be less-than-sexy. So, in order to develop a habit that nurtures your intimacy – put your partner first! Even when your children seem to take all of your attention and energy, focus on your partner. The effects of applying your thoughtfulness on them will trickle down to your children and support the entire family unit.   

"If you can do responsive care-giving, it seems that you can do it across different relationships," study researcher Abigail Millings of the University of Bristol said in a statement.

Let this study serve as a reminder to simply make your romantic relationship the most important part of your parenting.

2. Eat Healthy

You probably already know that eating a balanced diet that includes healthy foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains is the best way to stay happy and lean. However, it’s not always easy to maintain your ideal weight when you have a full-time job and children. You may live a fast-paced lifestyle like most Americans do and simply reach for what is available when you’re on-the-go. But the fact is the Standard American Diet (SAD) includes foods that are linked to a variety of health problems that can even have a negative effect on your life.

This can include your sex life because it affects a range of body systems. A recent study published in JAMA, revealed that a poor diet is responsible for a whopping 45 percent of all deaths in the U.S. This includes those from heart disease, stroke and diabetes. And they all could have been prevented with simple dietary changes.

Making healthy dietary choices is an ideal activity for you to share at home, not only with your romantic partner but also with your children. Because after all, supporting the good health of someone in your family is the best way to show them how much you care.

3. Take on a Project

It is important for everyone in your family to know that they are valued and important. In order to instill this type of understanding in your children, you can include them in projects around the house. This can involve any type of “chore,” but remember: it’s not work if it builds up your family relationships. Use any type of task around your home to nourish your relationship between your partner and boost the bond with your children. Ask them to help and just say, “Hey, can you give me a hand with … [the dishes, the car or the yard?].” Then use the time to form a stronger bond with anyone in your family. It’s a great habit to have a strong work ethic within your intimate relationships at home.

4. Get Social

Go ahead and become a butterfly! Allow your intimate relationship to flourish between you and your partner by developing a strong social circle. It’s there that you can develop a deeper emotional intelligence for your partner that can also nourish the most important relationships in your life with your children. If you aren’t sure which type of new habit to try, grab a paint burst and head to an art studio, learn a new sport or even attend a group fitness class. Any place that you can make friends you can also include your partner and develop a new habit that nourishes your intimacy.

"This study shows that helping children develop social and emotional skills is one of the most important things we can do to prepare them for a healthy future," said Kristin Schubert, program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded new research on the benefits of being social.  

5. De-Stress

There is nothing about raising a family that’s easy. There are long nights, crying children and snotty noses along with many other not-so-pretty parts of parenting. But that doesn’t have to put a damper on your intimate relationship. You can reduce your stress levels in just minutes any place you want to by practicing this simple breathing exercise:

Take a long deep inhalation through your nose and count in your mind to five, (1-2-3-4-5). Then, release the breath out of your mouth for a count of five, exhaling out of your mouth (1-2-3-4-5). You can continue this for 15 cycles, which is about one minute or as long as you desire in order to reduce your stress levels.

Studies have shown that this type of mindful breathing meditation is able to reduce the type of prolonged stress (also known as chronic stress) linked to many health problems that can damage your intimacy.

“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.” - Thich Nhat Hahn

Talking to a Counselor About Adapting Your Relationship

You and your partner may have had a strong bond and a steamy intimacy before your children were born but after kids it can be hard to remember what that feels like. Rekindling the spark that you had in your relationship can be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to start. So, talk to a trained couples counselor or your healthcare provider to develop the best way to adapt your relationship for growing children. It is easier than you may think once you develop a “growth mindset,” that thrives on challenges instead of seeing failure as a reason for stress. Because after all, raising a family is going to include all types of challenges and you have to be able to see through it all, together as a couple.

Talking to a professional couples counselor is the best way to develop a strong foundation within the family that centers on a core of intimacy. Start nurturing your romantic relationship with these 5 habits every couple with children should use. And then, discuss the results with your counselor. Together, you can find a way to avoid losing the spark in your romance just because you have children.

Visit our couples counseling page at https://www.wakecounseling.com/couples-counseling/

Call us at 919-647-4600

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