Being a parent means devoting a lot of time and energy to your kids. In general, both you and your spouse do this gladly—after all, you love your kids. But are you paying so much attention to the parenting side of the equation that your marriage is suffering?
A healthy and happy marriage provides a strong foundation for kids to become successful, well-rounded adults. But with the daily rush of getting through everything, you might miss some early warning signs that your marriage is on shaky ground. Here’s what to watch for, so you and your partner can address marital neglect before it erodes your relationship.
You can’t talk to each other any more
Remember when you used to stay up way too late and talk about everything, or nothing, with your spouse? Chances are your idea of “late” has been backed up a few hours since you’ve become parents, but you still talk to each other—or do you?
If the extent of your daily conversation is “Dinner’s in the oven,” “Don’t forget about the school play tomorrow night,” and a mutual grunt before you both pass out for the night, you may need to find a way to reconnect with your partner.
You fight more, over less
There are some things nearly every couple fights over. It’s practically unavoidable. Money, extended family, and parenting techniques are usually big issues (which you’ve hopefully learned to discuss reasonably instead of suggesting a round of Russian Roulette to settle the problem)—but if you’re starting World War III every time someone forgets to pick up milk on the way home from work, the real issue might be systemic neglect.
You’re really, really bored
Maybe it used to be that every time your spouse walked into the same room, you instantly felt a little better. But now, you’re groaning under your breath because you know exactly what they’re going to do or say: the same thing as yesterday, and the day before, and last week.
In fact, you can’t remember the last time your spouse surprised you in any way. And not necessarily the flowers-for-no-reason kind of surprise—but simply doing or saying something different from what you expected. This may be a sign that neither of you have put much effort into keeping the relationship fresh lately.
Your bedroom is for sleeping. Period.
There’s no question that sex after kids will not be the same as sex before kids. However, it shouldn’t be nonexistent—nor should it feel like a chore. If you and your spouse are having problems connecting intimately, or if one or both of you is completely uninterested, it’s time to address this neglected area of your life as soon as possible.