they see their parents behave. This idea of social learning means children are
constantly observing communication skills, family values and beliefs,
problem solving, conflict resolution, and what a healthy romantic
relationship looks like. Therefore, it is critical that parents are mindful of the
ways in which they interact with one another. Strong marriages make strong
families. This means partners should make a conscious effort to
demonstrate cohesion and closeness to model a healthy relationship. This
idea doesn’t just benefit the children though- it encourages spouses to
reconnect and act like newlyweds again.
1. Show affection.
Yes- this means bring back the PDA. Spouses should show appropriate
displays of affection in front of their children. Be intentional with physical
touch- holding hands while watching TV, giving each other a quick hug, and greeting each other with a kiss when arriving home
from work. When children view these behaviors as they grow up, they won’t feel as “grossed out” as one would assume. As
children develop, they will begin to incorporate these behaviors into their image of a healthy romantic relationship and
intimacy. This often eliminates the need for children to question if their parents love each other, making them feel more secure
and increasing family cohesion. Also, kids will be more likely to repeat these displays of affection on a regular basis in their own
2. Think outside the box for date night.
Research shows that engaging in a new activity or experience with one another allows you to feel more connected. Going to
dinner and a movie is a great option, but consider something such as going for a bike ride, signing up for a cooking class, taking
a new workout class, or going to a comedy show. Make sure this time is “kid-free” time, in that, you make an effort to
disconnect from the stress at home or what is going on with the children that week. It is crucial to see your spouse outside of
the parent role and have fun with one another.
3. Openly talk about your emotions.
Being direct and honest with your spouse is a great way to effectively communicate with one another and also display healthy
emotional expression skills for your children to observe. Expressing sadness, frustration, happiness, anger, etc. and saying ‘I
love you” often will encourage your kids to do the same.
4. Compliment each other.
Providing your spouse with positive affirmations and compliments is a simple way to make him/her feel valued and loved. Not
only will giving compliments make your spouse feel good, it will make you feel connected and create an encouraging
family atmosphere. This may include complimenting parenting abilities, thanking him/her for solving a difficult situation, or
merely complimenting something you inherently love about your better half. It is common to assume that your significant other
can “read your mind,” that you think positive thoughts, but this is not the case. These compliments should be vocalized often.
There is a lot to be said for the power of receiving positive affirmations and the impact on self-esteem and relationship
5. Avoid monotony.
Some routine is necessary for a family to function, but with regards to the spousal relationship, there should be an aspect of
spontaneity. Surprising your partner with a small, thoughtful gift “just because” or even trying a new restaurant can be great
examples of easy ways to get out of your comfort zone. These gestures show your children that change is healthy and
instrumental to our personal and interpersonal growth.
By following a few of these tips listed above, not only will you be providing a great example for your children, you and your spouse will also reap the benefits. It’s never too late to reconnect with your partner!