The Ride Is Long for a Backseat Marriage (Episode 114)
Feel like you have a backseat marriage? Have kids taken over and you feel distant from the relationship that started it all?
In this episode, we talk about the backseat marriage and how to prioritize it when you have children at home
What Excuse are you using?
When you have children you have tiny little curveballs that can shift everything in an instant. It's not just at a certain stage, either. There are excuses for when you have an infant and you're exhausted. Then the crazy toddler years can be intense. The "golden years" may be so overloaded with extracurricular activities you're too busy being chauffeur and event coordinator. And then when teens come, it's harder to get that private time without another aware person knowing your every move.
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No matter what age your children are, they can become your center, leaving little room for the marriage.
Where are we this week?
Now HERE is what really needs to be in the backseat - all these kiddos! We had such a great time with cousins this summer both in Colorado and here in San Diego, CA. Both times we ended up with at least one bonus kiddo for the whole stretch of our visit.
Follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
The issue with cosleeping
Now, we aren't just out to dog co-sleeping. I can make a case for this being a very beautiful way to connect with your child and have a wonderful family bed. However, it can also be the beginning of the end of an intimate relationship.
If the evening is when you and your partner typically connect, and your bedroom has been your sacred space to do that before children...what happens when that room is also taken over by small ones? Where is your place for intimacy? When are you away from children?
I'm all for being open around your children, but I for one don't want them in the room while I'm making love to my husband. If you are a co-sleeping family, make sure you are still creating space for intimacy in your relationship on a regular basis - at least once a week if not more. And go back to your "why" for co-sleeping and make sure it's bringing all the family closer, and not driving a wedge between you and your partner.
Are you hiding behind your children as an excuse to not work on your relationship with your partner?
Actions of Great Marriages
As a reminder from last weeks' episode, John Gottman has laid these points out as key elements of a great marriage:
Redefine "Date Night"
If you think a date means fancy dinner, a movie and a sitter, you are limited in your thinking. Look beyond the traditional date model and get creative on what that means. Reconsider whether you have to spend any money. Look at where a date has to happen. Be open to having moments with your partner vs. it not counting as a "date" unless you've blocked off half the afternoon.
Have a special moment on a rooftop - in the yard - hiding out in a closet or bathroom in your house! Make space for - and get creative - with what dating your partner really means.
There is no excuse to stop dating your partner.
It's a mindset, not a dollar sign.
Some additional resources for you
- On Boundaries: Your Children Are Not The Center Of The Universe!
- If You Want Daddy To Be Involved, Get Out Of The Way
- Feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed out?
- Opposites Attract…And How To Live With Them (Episode 86)
- My Marriage Sucks (Episode 66)
- How Do You Navigate Gender Roles In Marriage? (Episode 56)
- It’s Not A Habit; It’s Intimacy (Episode 25)
- What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate! (Episode 8)
- Relationships: How Do You Play That Game? (Episode 11)
- On Getting Lost, Laughter, and the Wisdom of Dr. Dre (Episode 12)
- Who Has Time For Sex As A Parent, Anyway? (Episode 14)
- What Do You Want This Life To Be? (Episode 16)
- 3 Secrets for A Long-Lasting Marriage
- 37 Essential Tips To Save Your Marriage
- Romance May Be A Hue, But Desire Is The Sunshine
- Lighten Up With The One You Love – Get Out And Play!
- Pride Goeth Before A Fall – Can Your Marriage Hold Up?
- Love And Marriage – See The Good
- Curious what personality style your children are, and they aren't yet five? Check out the "Family DISCovery Playbook"
Dads, Step it up
Intimacy and dating don't have to go out the window when a baby is born. Acts of service are a huge element of showing your love during this time. If you want a place in the chaos of a new baby, get involved. Jump in and help!
Ask permission to touch. Your partner has been touched all day and night by infants and/or toddlers. Your touch is different. Ask permission, and then look for how to really support in a way that she welcomes the touch. Give a massage, hug and hold her.
Make food. Rub feet. Clean the house. Take over kid duty a bit and let her rest. This is your time to establish your role in the household, and own how you can contribute and be an active parent, not just taking orders from mama.
The best way to Get back the intimacy in your relationship after children is to Show your partner that they aren't in this alone - and you can be trusted to take care of baby and house as well.
Don't get so stuck in your way being the right way to handle things. In doing so, we rob our partner of the opportunity to try. Give them space to learn so they can better support you.
Mamas, show gratitude for this support by remembering your partner needs you. Even if you're touched out, prioritize your partner.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Swap roles in your household. Give your partner space to try on a different hat and step into your shoes. And don't micromanage them.
They weren't there to give you the play-by-play to motherhood, so let them figure some things out on their own. You aren't looking for a replacement; you are looking for someone on your team who knows how to play.
Prioritize your relationship. Reach out and touch each other every single day. It is hard to remain emotionally distant when you physically connect on a daily basis. Prioritize your relationship because there will always be a fire to react to.
A car will drive even if someone is not behind the wheel...but it won't go far. Same with a relationship without intention. Make sure your partner knows they are loved every. single. day.
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