Couples: Increase in Parental Romance = Happier Kids, Too | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Couples: Increase in Parental Romance = Happier Kids, Too

Uploaded: Jun 7, 2019
As parents, many of you spend a lot of time and energy thinking about what's best for your kids. In many families, kids are prioritized above one's partner. I believe you need to choose your partner overy our kids, by just a little bit. This provides a home where parents are showing love and care for each other -- and the kids know it. Modeling a healthy adult relationship for your kids is one of the best things you can do for their future development.

I encourage my clients to make time to spend with just each other, and the topic of kids is off the table. In your super-busy lives, many couples try to make as much family time as possible, but not couple's time.

I saw an article in "M Bay Area Magazine for Moms" on this topic. Bottom line, increasing romance between parents leads to happier kids -- even if you spend less time together as a family. Think about this: kids know when things are tense in the home, even if they don't know why. Conversely, kids know when their parents are happy, even if they don't know why.

So, what is romantic to you? To your partner? Make a list of both of your definitions. It's not just candlelit dinners and flowers, although those are really wonderful. For some couples, it's romantic to work out together, others find taking trips or going to cultural events is their cup of tea, for others it's going camping together. Some like sexy clothes and creating fantasy scenarios. Whatever your definitions are, schedule romance into your life.

Dr. John Gottman (a renowned researcher in couples relationships, and the founder of the "Love Lab" in Seattle) believes you have to be friends with your partner, and really know each other, to have romance. He recommends taking 20 minutes in the evening to ask and listen to each other about your day. Reminder: listening is a full-on experience, it is not waiting for your turn to talk.  I know of couples that barely talk with each other, aside from logistics, on a day-to-day basis. Please, change this, if it's true in your household.

Another great way to spend time talking with your partner (and these are all suggestions for building secure attachment) is to get "101 Things I wish I Knew When I Got Married." Each section is about 1.5 pages and you can read it and talk about your feelings, perspectives, and thoughts on a given topic.

Say "thank you" for specific things within hearing of your kids. Even say thanks for mundane things like doing dishes or bringing a glass of water. Let them see you hold hands, hug, and kiss.

You might even find that increasing your romance = happier grown-ups, too.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by BarbaraS, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 7, 2019 at 11:16 am

BarbaraS is a registered user.

Thanks very much for your blogs. I get a lot from every one. This one is especially encouraging.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 7, 2019 at 1:38 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thanks Barbara. It's always nice to hear that my blogs help others. Chandrama

Posted by A Quiet Home, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Jun 13, 2019 at 8:58 pm

A Quiet Home is a registered user.

I am a married father who's house is about to become an "empty nest." In talking with some other parents who are about to experience the same event, I was amazed that everyone is meeting it with nervousness and trepidation. After a combined 21 years with 2 kids in the house, it's been literal decades since my wife and I thought about ourselves first. Apparently we aren't alone.

I fell in love with her 24 years ago and know I can do it again. The love never left, but I assure you, it's been buried under theater costumes and dirty soccer uniforms for a long time. The trepidation is about looking at each other, our bodies much different than before, our memories of romancing and dating and flirting and realizing there will be no interruptions should we go there.

I wish we spent a little more time with each other during those years. This advice is useful.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 14, 2019 at 8:48 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thanks, A Quiet Home, for sharing your experience for others to learn from. You may want to go to a couples retreat as a jumpstart to this new phase of life, or come to counseling to learn tools and skills and face these changes, or you may want to just remember what you did way back then and do more of that. My best to you. Chandrama

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jun 14, 2019 at 10:45 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

I wholeheartedly agree with this article.

My wife and I display romance and affection for each other everyday in front of our kids. My wife is especially "touchy feely", which is why I love her so much because I'm kinda the opposite.

Anyway, I have noticed in my daughters that when they are with their boyfriends, they are uninhibited in displaying affection. Holding hands, arms embraced...etc just seem to come natural to them. I'd like to think that the affection (and romance) me and my wife have for each other (and for our daughters) may have rubbed off on them.

One can hope.

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