They say that marriage gets more difficult once you have children. It can be tougher to find the time and energy for connection and romance. It can also be a challenge when you and your spouse have a disagreement and you don't make time to be alone and resolve it .
You might have uncomfortable or even traumatic memories of your own childhood listening to the adults in your house argue and fight. The yelling and anger may have sent you racing to your room where you hid underneath a blanket or turned up the volume on your stereo to drown out the raised voices.
The last thing that you want to do to your own children is to subject them to a similar experience.
Even if you didn't grow up around adults who argued and fought, you are probably mindful of the kind of conversations you and your partner have in front of your children.
It is kind and sensitive to want to shield your children, but this can become a method for avoiding conflict in your relationship.
“Not in front of the children,” unfortunately, can be a way that you and your partner sweep aside tension, misunderstandings and hurt feelings. The conflict is left to fester and grow until one or both of you can no longer pretend that it's not there.
This is when it's impossible to shield your children from conflict in your relationship-- this is also sometimes when marriages fall apart and end in divorce.
It's inevitable that, at one point or another, you and your partner will have to sort out and resolve a difficult issue. When that issue arises, don't try to minimize or avoid it because you're protecting your children from tension.
Instead, remember these communication guidelines...
Set aside regular time alone with your spouse.
Regardless of how many hours you and your partner work in a day and despite how busy your kids keep you, this HAS to happen. You and your spouse have got to set aside regular time where you can be alone and uninterrupted.
Even if it's a focused 5 or 10 minutes each day, this is a helpful start. Schedule it and get creative. Hire a babysitter for even 1 hour a week, trade child care with friends or family or put the kids to bed early one evening a week. Do whatever it takes to have a consistent chunk of time in which you and your partner can be alone with one another.
The time you spend with your spouse does not have to always be “serious” or involve hashing out disagreements. In fact, the more you can mix it up and include some fun, some romance and passion as well as some time for talking out tense topics, the better.
If you only have a short window of time and you are trying to discuss a difficult issue, you might agree to certain time intervals so that you each are ensured a chance to talk. Use a kitchen timer if you need to. If you're assured that you'll have your turn, you are more likely to focus in on what your partner is saying.
Learn how to calm down and stay calm.