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Without doubt, maintaining a marriage is not a breeze. Add a child into the equation and how dynamics change can only be anyone’s guess.

Imaginably, the child becomes the centre of universe. There is more work involved. Work division becomes even more critical. Expectations change. There are new norms. There is less time for mom and dad.

The last should sound the alarm, if it doesn’t. Parents spend so much time and energy on parenting, that we may neglect their relationship as a couple. We may not feel as close to each as before. The mundanity of daily life may wear us out so much that we can hardly garner enough energy for anything or anybody else.



It’s not too late to shift some attention and effort back to where it’s due. Here are some ways we can maintain the spark in our marriage.

1. Allow a mindset shift – make marriage our priority

Undeniably, the relationship between mom and dad is the foundation of the whole family. Parents who de-prioritise their own relationship risk impacting their whole family and children negatively. Going back to the essence of why we even got together to create our family, why should we not make our marriage and married life a priority? Have we stopped making time for the basics, like spending quality time together sans kids, be it a short after-dinner walk in the neighbourhood, regular date night or weekend getaway?

Try: making a list of things you enjoyed the most when you were dating and after you got married, before the kids came.  


2. Be upfront and open about responsibilities and challenges

Be pragmatic - the chores need to be done, parenting duties need to be shared, everyone needs time-out. Instead of arguing over who is doing more or less, focus on what need to be done and work out the most feasible arrangement – many chores can be done together as a couple or involving the whole family. At the same time, instil in our children values of helping out, or for the smaller kids, take it as an opportunity to train their Fundamental Movement Skills through simpler tasks. Don’t forget to include time-out for individual and couple.  

Try: drawing up a list of tasks and duties for assignment, making chores such as cleaning up after dinner or washing the car into a couple or family activity, and fixing “off days” for each other!


3. Show each other attention and appreciation

Chat about funny and happy things of your day. Call or message each other at lunch (but make it short and sweet). Ask about their day and how each other is feeling – this is often a simple gesture that becomes deemed as unnecessary as the years go by, assuming that we are too familiar with our spouse. Listen to each other without interrupting. Show affection - hold hands during after-dinner walks. Be appreciative of each other – find ways to display little sweet, thoughtful gestures – such as surprising each other with a homemade breakfast or preparing a picnic before heading out for an activity. Our kids will notice these, and in turn embrace show of appreciation as something they can express towards parents and even grandparents.

Try: remembering to say a simple “thank you” makes a difference.

Related read:

The 5 Love Languages

4. Involve each other

Alongside time with the kids and me-time, couple-time is just as essential. Involve each other above and other than the chores and grouses, which should not be the only topic we have. When the kids are at school, away at their grandparents’ or a playdate, try a new activity or start a hobby together. Find new common topics that get both of you excited and laughing together. Share an interesting read or something you found inspiring.

Try: activities like rock climbing, yoga or dance workouts, or sports in pairs like tennis or badminton.              


5. Empathise and trust

Everyone has not so good days. When possible or occasionally, offer to cover each other’s chores or get into them together. Leave each other to handle assigned responsibilities, even if handled differently from self. Make important family decisions together, after discussing with and listening to each other’s opinions – this is a demonstration of mutual trust and faith in our spouse and relationship.  

Try: offering to send the kids to school when your spouse had a long night at work.


Remember, we are in it together with our spouse. On days that feel really challenging, remind ourselves why we chose our partners in the first place. Many of the ways we appreciate our spouse can be applied to our children too – don’t stinge on the affections!