Couples who have recently had children can sometimes feel like they are juggling too many balls. A study by Brian Doss and colleagues, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that although between one third and one half of couples enjoy greater satisfaction and love post-parenthood, others can experience more relationship stress. Factors such as timing, communication and commitment all come into play, but often, even the strongest couples can feel like they no longer have enough time alone together. Even when work, family or other commitments are pulling you apart, however, scheduling in some ‘us’ time is key, as is finding some quiet ‘me time’ just for yourself.
Couples That Play Together Stay Together
Research by PR Amato and colleagues shows that a couple’s joint participation in daily activities is positively linked to marital happiness. Longer working hours, on the other hand, are linked to less marital interaction. Dual-earner couples essentially spend less time together than those in single-earner relationships, and parents generally spend less time with one another than non-parents. The good news if you have young children, is that things definitely do improve. Research by M Bittman, for instance, shows that parents of older children tend to spend more time on leisure pursuits (and more time alone, sans kids) than parents of younger children. Spending more time together, meanwhile, is linked to greater marital stability, satisfaction and happiness.
Scheduling In Together Time
Couples with busy schedules can make it a point to embrace meaningful experiences together by scheduling a little alone time into their busy schedules. Those with a solid support system can rotate babysitting schedules with friends and family, while those who are far from family and friends can consider babysitting or day care at regular intervals. Just a few of the most popular pastimes for couples wishing to unwind include taking up holistic de-stressing activities such as yoga, taking part in a sporting activity such as golf or tennis together, and enjoying a meal out. Getting a massage together is another way to combine relaxation with couples times. Indeed, many top spas offer dedicated couples packages. These include relaxation and rejuvenation treatments, often using methods such as aromatherapy, salt scrubs, and foot reflexology. Some spas also have features such as double Jacuzzis, so couples can enjoy a nice soak after a relaxing treatment side by side.
Don’t Forget The Power Of Me Time
In addition to enjoying activities with your partner, ensure you find a little alone time for yourself as well. A survey of 2,000 Americans revealed that 85% of people feel that alone time is key is to a healthy relationship. In fact, some 41% said they would end a relationship if their partner didn’t give them the ‘me time’ they needed. Me time should be centered around peace, connecting with your inner world, and doing something you truly love. Whether you decide to embark on a new hobby, take up knitting or sewing, or learn an instrument or language, pampering yourself and spending time alone on things that give your life greater meaning and purpose will spill over into personal relationships, and undoubtedly affect your partner in positive ways.
Whether you are new parents or busy entrepreneurs or employees, it is important to schedule in time together, to ensure your best laid plans aren’t consistently left until ‘later’. Couples can enjoy each other while trying out a host of new activities – anything from an adventurous day out to sport, cultural pursuits, or a relaxing massage. Each partner should also make a little time for themselves, since research indicates that self-care and pampering are strongly linked to increased happiness and wellbeing.
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