Sometimes we need to reflect, direct and adjust our course. This is a good time to do that, to take a look at how things have been going, make a few changes and reap the rewards of an improved relationship. Sometimes all we need is some fine tuning.
Be a good partner
Parents who become immersed in raising a child can drift apart and become strangers. They lose the spark, the harmony, the adventure and the reward of a relationship. When their child grows up and moves on, they find themselves married to someone they don’t know. They may still be together but lonelier than they’ve ever been. That’s a lonelier feeling than being alone.
Clear your calendar…and clutter
To prevent estrangement, rev your engines. Keep in touch with each other’s feelings. Don’t let tasks interfere with your relationship. Maintain a sense of your “coupleness” within the larger role of parents. You can do this by spending some time with each other, away from the children – having a regular night out, taking turns making a special dinner or simply talking together in the evening. The paradox is that “simply talking together” isn’t simple. It requires clearing the clutter, focusing and listening.
Small changes can produce important improvements. Listen well. It’s usually more important than talking. Avoid judgment or defensiveness. Share household chores. Try to make daily life easier for each other. Understand your partner’s concerns, fears, and, yes, frustrations. Be empathetic. Make your relationship matter. Be grateful for that other person you love.
Gosh, good partnering sounds a lot like good parenting.
View it from your
The work of being an effective parent really doesn’t get enough credit. If you’re married, be grateful for that other person you love. If you’re separated or divorced, try to view your partner from your child’s perspective. It is important to maintain a calm, supportive environment. It’s not about you – it’s about raising a healthy, successful child.
You can be better parents by combining your skills, balancing your abilities, strengthening areas that need improving and showing each other respect. Children learn from parents. Be the kind of parent you want your child to see. You already have the desire and the will to raise successful, loving children. Recognizing the importance of your partnership is a key ingredient in this process.
Those precious fleeting years
As Steve Martin says in the movie, Father of the Bride, “You have a little girl, an adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never imagine… And before you know it, you’re sitting all alone in a big, empty house, wearing rice on your tux, wondering what happened to your life.”
So if your lucky enough to have a partner who loves you and puts up with you, be thankful and take the opportunity now to prioritize that relationship.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dads2dadsllc. They are available for workshops. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.