Don’t Forget the Couple! by Sharon Scott, LPC LMFT
Don’t Forget the Couple!
By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT
One of the common problems that I see in my private counseling practice is a couple who has one or more very young children who receive most (all?) of the couples’ time, attention and energy. Both parents think the child needs all of them and often does get all of them.
As a result, the couple has little left over for each other’and the marriage can start to weaken. Often they don’t even notice this as they are so busy and so tired. Three or four years later they may be sitting in the office of a marriage counselor.
If one has, and wants to maintain, a two parent home it’s critical to find time, get help, schedule time together, swap babysitting nights with close couple friends or whatever is needed in order to spend some quality time together as husband and wife. And note that I didn’t say as mommy and daddy.
A few guidelines I suggest are:
1. Take turns planning this couple time’aim for two to four times per month.
2. Be creative! Think of things you used to have fun doing prior to the children. Avoid the same activity over and over as many people never venture beyond going to a restaurant or seeing a movie. I’ve had couples once again fly kites, play tennis, go sit by the pond at the park, go dancing, take the dogs walking, cook a meal together, daydream’you get the idea.
3. During this special couple time, avoid talking about the children, finances or problems. No whining or complaining’think of interesting topics to discuss ahead of time. This is a time to reconnect as a couple’not as parents.
One of my couple clients had an assignment to go on a ‘date.’ He wanted to plan the first one and had something special arranged. The afternoon of their date, his wife called him saying that the baby was sick and there was no way they could leave the baby with a sitter. He completely understood. However, later driving home, he had a brainstorm. He stopped off at the grocery store and bought a few snack items. Upon arriving home, he checked on the baby who was sleeping quietly. He then took the baby monitor, a blanket and the refreshments outside and invited his wife to spend a little time gazing at the stars together.
Fun couple activities are critical to the success of the marriage especially in early child-rearing years. They help the couple to strengthen their bond, relax, enjoy each other and look forward to a lifetime together’long after the children have grown up and moved away.
Copyright 2008, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.
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