Every romance has ups and downs. And when a romantic pair is also a parental pair, it can take extra work to keep the romance alive. There’s much you can endure and ride out — but you may occasionally find you need to engage in a bit of romantic relationships repair. Whether or not a specific relationship mistake has been made, you need to rebuild and restore that lovin’ feeling.
So when you find yourself in those hard “we need to fix this” moments, what do you do? First of all take a deep, long cleansing breath. Recognize that you are not the first parents to try to address such an issue and you won’t be the last. Recognize that repairing this relationship will make for a stronger family whole. Then set to work.
Look beyond yourself
Romantic relationships are two-way streets. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes! Look beyond just what you want and try to look at your relationship as a whole made stronger by the two parts. What does that whole need? How can the whole be made stronger by addressing individual parts? How can what your partner needs make your part stronger? In short, look beyond yourself and try to see what your relationship as a whole needs.
Let go of defensiveness and blame
It can be easy to fall into a cycle of defensiveness and blame when a romantic relationship comes to a bump in the road. Rather than allowing yourself to toss out some blame, or try to deflect blame that might be coming to you, let go of defensiveness and recognize that we are all imperfect and we all make mistakes. That goes for romantic relationships as well as any other. It takes two to tango, remember? Woulda, coulda, shoulda has its place — self-awareness is helpful! But dwelling on it? Not so much.
Reiterate your commitment
Declare your continued commitment to your relationship and your desire to make it stronger. Affirm, reiterate, renew…however you want to say it, just do it. Commit to the process of repair. Commit to building up the love and the positive wonderful feelings that led you to create your family in the first place.
Make time to spend with your partner, away from the children and the demands of your crazy life in big and small ways. Find small moments in the day to reconnect, whether by text message or phone or a kiss while the kids are brushing teeth for bedtime. Find bigger moments out for a walk on a Sunday afternoon while your neighbor listens for your napping children or out to dinner and a movie. If you have the resources, take a night away from the kids — sleep in your sweetie’s arms without a pint sized-intruder.
Give and receive
Allow yourself not only to give love and affection to your partner in this process, but allow yourself to receive it, too. Be open to the ways in which your honey expresses affection and accept it willingly. Sure, you might prefer your partner do things this way or that, but allowing each other to express oneself in the way each of you feels most comfortable and accepted — well, that mutual acceptance beats unrealistic expectation almost any day.
When a romantic relationship needs some repair, the hardest and perhaps the most important thing to give is trust. Trust in yourself and your sweetie and the strength of your love that the two of you will, indeed, work it out and build it up. Trust in the commitment of both of you to work through the stress and toward each other in the craziness of your family schedule. Trust that your relationship can and will be repaired.
No person and no relationship is perfect. Every relationship needs some repair now and again. Repair your romantic relationship for a stronger family whole.
Have any tips for us on how to keep the love alive? Please share in the comments!