How do you make your relationship a deeper priority?
Well we began recently by taking a week away together – just the two of us.
Our son is now six, and it’s the first time in seven years that we have taken time together over seven days, uninterrupted and without responsibilities as parents, away from him. So you can probably imagine that it was VERY challenging for me, to make the decision to go away for a week with only my husband, because I was concerned about how our child would be.
I got busy putting plans in place for him to be well cared for in our absence, so life would be regular and in line with his normal school week routine. But despite all my planning to put these things in place, deep down I suspected that he would be fine without us; he is now old enough and confident enough, secure enough, and loved enough that he would be ok.
And he totally was.
But it scared the crap out of me to think that he wouldn’t be, and that I or his dad wasn’t there to look after him if he needed us. Yet we made the decision to go, regardless – to take a week, where we prioritised our relationship above anything else, knowing that by loving each other better, by being better communicators, more open and honest with each other, that we could be better parents by modelling that behaviour for our son.
So I bit the bullet, swallowed any lingering mother guilt and focused instead on being a good wife, in order to be a better mother.
Full disclosure here – this was very challenging thing for me to do as a mum – I was crying as we drove away – and honestly I could have talked myself out of going in that moment, because of so many reasons that were based on FEAR. But instead I didn’t; I followed through on my commitment to my husband being important to, and our relationship has been rewarded so much by following through on that commitment.
We went and we truly had an amazing time – this time away took our relationship to a place it hasn’t been in sooo long. Maybe I will share more about that another day, but for now let’s suffice to say we both came home in a wonderfully connected, loving place.
And even more amazingly – once I was reconnected with my husband I didn’t miss my son like I thought I would.
Fast forward a week, and we have returned home. What awaited us there was a little boy who was happy to see us and was in a wonderful grounded contented place having time with his pop. I remain convinced that he was in such a happy emotional state – in part – because we (his parents) had taken that time to get more loving with each other. Its like he seemed to have picked up on that loving happy energy his dad and I had been basking in for a whole week. He seemed to know that we were happy, and that was the greatest gift of all for me.
Suddenly we’re not just Mum and Dad anymore, we are two people who really love each other, and I’ve noticed that he now sees that in a way he hadn’t before.
Now well fully acknowledge that as a couple we have to continue to follow through on our commitment to each other -not just in that week but on a regular basis – and I honestly do take heart that our child got an experience that he hadn’t had before – precious uninterrupted time with his pop – and he also got to see his parents in a different way.
Since getting back home the dynamics have shifted somewhat, so when we are better at making time for each other, to lay in bed and snuggle just the two of us for a time. Or even when we tell him that he needs to give us some alone time, allowing us to make time to be together, because our love as his parents has a priority and importance too.
And what more of a gift can a parent give than one of certainty?? The certainty of loving happy parents, who give freely, compassionately and generously to each other and to their children because they know there is plenty of love to go around.
So enough about me – lets relate this back to you.
During therapy and women’s retreats, I hear so many women complain about their husbands. They complain about their relationship and throw endless blame in one direction. And while there are many other angles to this discussion (like the concepts around imbalances in our society with masculine and feminine roles) if that’s you – the whinging wife or cranky partner – then I want you to ask yourself right now, how are you prioritising your marriage / relationship?
Are you the one that comes home and goes straight to your child and doesn’t acknowledge your partner?
Or are you the one who doesn’t want to come home and spend time with your partner?
Do you find yourself dreading / not looking forward to their company?
If that is your current reality, it helps to be honest with yourself about it. It’s ok, but also acknowledge that maybe something is out of balance and there could be very fixable problems in the relationship that need to be addressed. If you would rather spend time with your children / friends than your partner, then there is something not great about that relationship. Find hope that things can be improved, and maybe now is time for that.
Maybe it’s time for you, like me, to learn how to prioritise other things just as much as your partner.
Because I know that we all deserve to have a marriage that is full of passion, love and connection. To feel satisfied not just through being a mother, a friend or through our profession. But to give and receive joy, love and gratitude freely and easily through your marriage/partnership as well.
I feel as though I’m one step closer to that, although maintaining it will take some focus and dedication for a while until it becomes more habitual. Yet for you, in reflecting on these various thoughts of mine maybe you’ve learnt or understood some useful things about yourself? Regardless, if your relationship is not as great as it could be, I encourage you to think about what needs to change – starting with yourself.
What small things can you do to prioritise your partner more?
You know those nice things you used to do early in the relationship, to let them know they are loved? Maybe you could speak their love languages more, make time for quality time regularly, or have a heart to heart about what you are missing about they way your relationship is currently operating, and what you think you can do TOGETHER to improve things.
For its hard to expect another to prioritise us, when we haven’t given love or shown them as a priority in life for many years. You can start today by thinking about things your partner loves and doing more of that!
You can get resources and support like reading about the Five Love Languages (take the free quiz together!), investing in a Relationship Program you can do from home together, or come for some individual therapy with me.
Regardless of what you do, the ability to change things begins with you, here and now.
Are you brave enough to take a leap towards the relationship you deserve so you can set a better happier example for your children?
Should you need help with making any of these changes please get in touch as I’d love to be of assistance to you and your family.
About the author
Bree Taylor Molyneaux is a Brisbane based women’s self-care + happiness coach specialising in fertility, pregnancy + birth, motherhood + beyond. She is trained a HypnoBirthing® practitioner + personal renewal facilitator with is passion for helping women bring more self-care into daily life. Bree coaches women across a wide range of areas, runs restorative + self-care retreats, and has a range of and hypnosis downloads available on iTunes. Read more about Bree here.