Child’s play: An important lesson for marriage

By Lydia Waruszynski  M.Ed.

Raising children in a loving home is important. Affection between parents such as cuddling, hand-holding, hugging, and kissing not only lets kids feel more safe and secure, but it also teaches that family and marriage are about love- ultimately helping prepare kids for their own future romantic relationships. So much about parenting is modelling, after all.

So why is it that most parents report showing less affection-and intimate time- with each other than they did before they had children?

Today we marry for love and expect marriage to satisfy both our personal and social needs.

We want to be best friends, equal partners and lovers, to boot! However, we also live in a child-centric society, where “the more you do for your children, the ‘better’ you are as a parent.” Parents today are so busy shaping the next generation that everything else takes a back seat, including time for themselves and their partners. Planning activities and prioritizing fun often gets lost on the adults -with after-school activities and so on. And so does the energy. On their long list of to-dos, it’s no wonder parenting couples frequently nd themselves nishing last and gasping for air!

“Children need parents who have strong connections: It gives them a confident space in which to grow,” says Esther Perel.

The magic formula for keeping passion alive in a partnership may be broad and complex but perhaps a good place to begin is to think like a child: Have fun! Play generates optimism, novelty and vitality. One of the most important things couples can do is to maintain a sense of a liveliness in their relationship. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1- The old cliché of date night actually works but it doesn’t need to be at night. Don’t talk about the kids. Break your routine. Do something else you both enjoy.

2- Rejuvenate your bodies: move together through dance or sport or yoga: get creative. Don’t just sit and talk. Have new experiences together.

3- You are two adults in a relationship; not just parents, not just family. Kiss like you mean it. Gaze into each other’s eyes. Wake up your senses!

Seeing love is the centre of marriage, couple preservation is even more important than ever before. Without it, family life won’t thrive, let alone survive. Children need to see their parents be affectionate and playful. The willingness to show affection in front of children and carve out private couple space from time to time, lets kids know that the couple relationship- and consequently, their own environment- is both precious and secure.

For more help about how to restore or keep passion alive while parenting please see Marriage Interrupted


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