Once upon a time it was all romantic dinners and hand holding, but now you’re wiping food off the floor at dinnertime and herding kids on your family walk! What’s the secret to keeping the spark alive in your relationship when you’re juggling jobs, small kids and, well, life? With six kids, two jobs and very little ‘couple time’, Krechelle and Dave Carter have some idea. We hit them up for their top tips.
My husband, Dave, and I have been loving each other for over a decade. All those wonderfully wild years, and we still spend almost every night together hanging out. So, quite often we get asked, “How do you guys still make it work?”
Tip #1 – Make time
Every night when the kids were little, they went to bed at 7pm. No exceptions, no changes, no one could get up after this time. It’s just how we made it. At this point, hubby and I made sure the household chores were all done and everything was ready for the next day. And then we spent some time together before bed. Almost every night. Sometimes one of us would exercise or have a night out with a friend. But mostly it was just him and me. If you can’t make it happen most nights, try to keep weekends for each other – even prioritising each other just one night during the week will make all the difference.
Tip #2 – Show affection
Kiss publicly, hold hands, pinch bums. This is so important in our world. Our children laugh when we kiss. I make Dave push his pillows closer to mine when we watch TV in bed so we can hold hands. Moments like this make our relationship stronger – they make our household stronger. And I’ll never stop putting in that extra effort because, I know, without the two of us together maintaining a wonderfully healthy relationship, it wouldn’t be as happy a place over here. And, yes, it does take a little effort!
Tip #3 – Find you a babysitter!
We’re lucky that most of the time the in-laws and my parents will watch the kids so we can have a sneaky date night! But on the rare occasion when they aren’t available, we have a couple of back up babysitters. Don’t feel guilty about it – you’re investing in your relationship!
Sneaky tip: If you only call in the babysitter for social events, book an extra half hour at the beginning of the evening – that way you and your significant other can share a little couple time too.
Tip #4 – Be present
Be present on your date night! Your children will be fine, even if they are pepped up on candy watching Godzilla. They will survive it.
Be present when you’re together chatting in bed, planning your week or watching a movie. Look at your partner, take his hand in yours and be present – that means put down the phone!
Sneaky tip: Technology-free works best.
Tip #5 – Remember, you’re a team
I’ve always got my husband’s back and he’s always got mine. I think it’s important. We also discuss what’s bothering us, whether it’s schedule clashes, things we really want to do, space we need, or help we need. It’s really important to connect and check in. Gotta keep that team in fine form!
Keepin’ it real
When all is said and done, my husband and I aren’t perfect. We argue over silly things – daily! But we work hard at our marriage because we want it to last. We are best friends; but it’s the effort we put into our relationship that ensures we’re a happy couple too.
At the end of the day, Uber Eats in bed, a candle and a great movie never go astray!
I hope some of this helps you keep the spark alive in your relationship after kids, because I feel it’s what keeps my husband and I in touch and in tune!
Written by Krechelle Carter. Mum of six children, six and under; freelance writer for publications such as Kidspot and Woman’s Day; blogger; and creator of the Eight at Home community. Strong believer in following your dreams and balancing it all… most of the time! Find her at eightathome.com.au, on Instagram and Facebook.