The air is cooler. The leaves are changing. Fall is on its way. Suddenly instead of facing down endless days of juggling the schedule of each of your children and trying to keep them busy during the day, you have silence in the house after they leave for school. Now is the time to consider what kind of maintenance you and your partner can do on your relationship.
Many couples find that the beginning of the school year is a time of increased family stress and strife. Perhaps, however, the truth of the situation is more that after several months of focusing solely on the children, the idea that now the evenings will be consumed with school activities and practices reminds them how little time they took for one another during the summer. Back to School time is a great time to take time for yourself and work on rebuilding the fading portions of your relationship with your partner.
It is important for couples to remember that if they do not continue to work on their relationship, no matter if the reason is their children, work, or school, the relationship will suffer. While parents may feel guilty taking time for themselves, that time is a necessary bit of maintenance for every healthy relationship. Back to school time might focus on your children and their journey, but it’s also an excellent time to work on your relationship after a summer of spending time with your kids.
Take Time for You
Now that the children are in school during the day, take time for yourself. Take a long lunch and go to a spa or get a manicure. Go to the gym while they are in school so you can work out without worrying about a phone call requesting taxi service. Get your hair cut and styled. Read a book. Watch your favorite television show. Do all the things for yourself that you put off while the kids required your time and attention during their summer break.
Taking time for yourself will help you feel better and will let you open up to your partner and time with him or her. When we neglect ourselves, we can sometimes become selfish of our time and energy in an effort to reclaim some of both for ourselves. Caring for ourselves makes us more available to others and makes us much more comfortable giving time and energy to others.
Take a Stay-Cation
Once you’ve taken care of yourself, it’s time to make time for you and your partner. If you can, take a day or two off during a week and spend the time together. Relax together and enjoy each other’s company as a couple. Do the things together that you wouldn’t or couldn’t do when the children were home. Go to the movies. Cook together. Take a walk in the rain. Enjoy each other without the pressure of being “on” for your children.
As parents, you may find it difficult to make time for your partner. It’s important, however, to do so if you want to maintain and build a healthy relationship. Just because you are parents does not mean you do not have adult needs and desires. While those needs and desires may be suppressed much of the time, you will find that allowing them to be fulfilled from time to time will make them more manageable and will help you maintain a good relationship with your partner.
Carve Out Regular Time Together
Even when the activity schedule and school and work schedules overwhelm you, remember that you and your partner need time to be adults and to be a couple. Carve out that time. Set a date night and then get a babysitter or ask family to help so that you can enjoy your date night without interference or interruption.
While it is important to nurture and support your children, it is also important to nurture and support your partner and the relationship you have with him or her. Share your date night schedule with your family so that they understand when you will be unavailable and why those nights are important to you. Do not allow casual activities to supersede your date night. If your family has a once in a lifetime event, skip date night. If, however, the “conflict” is an event that will happen again the following week, don’t skip your date night. Maintaining this time for you and your partner should be as much a priority as any other activity in which your family participates.