Quite often, young married couples with children come in for therapy, relaying to me their busy schedules. The husband and/or wife leave for work, drop off the kids at school, one or the other picks up the kids, takes them to their extracurricular activities, fix dinner, do homework, etc. When I ask, “When do you find time for each other?” they stop and look at each other and say in unison “Never!”
Marriages and families go through a series of developmental stages, one of which is the stage where one or both spouses are focusing on providing for the family income, while at the same time trying to raise healthy children. This stage of development can be particularly overwhelming! Too often, the marriage intimacy gets pushed aside. More than one husband has told me that his wife is too tired to make love, so he doesn’t even try anymore. “My wife is so busy with the kids, I don’t even know if she loves me anymore.” She says “If only he would help me with the chores, or at least let me know he appreciates me!”
Certainly couples should look at their lifestyle and see what can be eliminated in order to make room for more intimacy, however, when there still isn’t a lot of time left, here are a few things couples can do to connect and affirm one another:
1. Writing Love Notes — Regardless of whether it is a special holiday or not, writing a love note to your spouse can be very special and can reaffirm the love that you have for each other.
2. Leave a Fresh Flower at Breakfast — Especially if you are the male in the relationship leaving flowers can prove to be a wonderful way to show your love to your woman. Women adore being reminded of the fact that they are thought of and so giving a single rose for your wife during breakfast “just because” will warm her heart.
3. Toast Each Other at Dinner — Complementing the accomplishments that either of you have made throughout the day, week, or month will provide positive thoughts to both in the relationship. Boosting your spouse’s self-esteem will not only pay off in the long run but it will also provide a feeling of appreciation for both the giver and the receiver!
4. Have Coffee in Bed — The majority of couples enjoy their morning cup of coffee in the kitchen before leaving for work. Making your daily coffee a morning ritual will help you to enjoy the flavorful aroma of the coffee more and to also provide extra time in the morning to enjoy each other. If one is a coffee drinker and the other is not, get up and make the coffee and bring it your spouse while she/he is in bed.
5. Keep on verbalizing “I love you” — Stop for a moment and try to remember why you married this person. Say the words “I love you” out loud, whether you are in the car, on your way out to work, or in bed. Both men and women need to hear that they are loved.
Marriage is an exciting adventure that two individuals embark on together. Having the ability to show one another that you love each other every day will not only help to strengthen your relationship but it will also help to encourage one another to do better in your lives. If you find that connecting to your spouse is a difficult venture then seeking professional couples counseling or therapy will benefit your relationship.