Parents agree that raising children in a loving home is important. Yet, what children witness at home is even more significant. Affection between parents such as cuddling, hand-holding, hugging, and kissing not only lets kids feel more safe and secure, but it also teaches children that family and marriage are about love- which can ultimately help prepare kids for their own future romantic relationships. So much about parenting is modeling, 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 sports, dance lessons, music classes, and so on. But, so does the energy, once you factor in careers, household chores, bills and even attending to the family dog:-). On their long list of to-do’s, it’s no wonder parenting couples frequently find themselves finishing last and gasping for air!
“Children need parents who have strong connections: both sexual and emotional. It gives them a confident space in which to grow”. 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 and take the time to play. We are all born with an innate sense of joy and play. It’s our life force. Play generates optimism, offers novelty and vitality, too. Because children take risks and prioritize play, they are creative, imaginative, and feel alive! In adulthood, as in marriage, it is purely a choice to experience pleasure and have fun. So go ahead, ask your partner if they can come out to play?
Seeing love and sex today are at the centre of marriage, couple preservation is even more important than ever before. Without it, family life won’t thrive, let alone survive. Children regularly need to see their parents having fun together, being affectionate and playful. The willingness to show affection in front of children and carve out some time together alone- lets kids know that the couple relationship- and consequently, their own environment- is both precious and secure. It can be a mutual growth process for both parents and children alike.
For more help about how to restore or keep passion alive while parenting, please book a private session or see Marriage Interrupted- www.letstalkaboutlove.ca
this article was originally written for YA Magazine-March 2017