Rejuvenate Your Marriage – Refuel the Spark in Your Marriage
Justin and Siew Ling have been married for 8 years and have 2 young children.
Most of their conversations revolve around the kids’ education, household chores and work. Both hold full-time jobs and find it hard to make time for anything else other than their kids and work.
Siew Ling puts it this way, “I love Justin, but more of like a team member. The passion just isn’t there now…”. Justin was shocked at the revelation and wondered what happened to cause his marriage to end up this way.
Things were not always like this. Justin and Siew Ling were passionate during the early years of their marriage, before the kids came along. Soon, the first kid came along, then the second, and they found themselves struggling to cope with the intensity of childcare and work demands. They rarely had time for date nights anymore. Most nights, they hit the bed feeling exhausted and worn out. Their sex life, for that matter, has dwindled drastically.
Their situation is not unique. In a Straits Times article published on May 26, 2021, 290 married women in Singapore with at least one child each were polled, and results showed that mother’s marital and life satisfaction fell significantly during and after the circuit breaker last year.
“Sexual intimacy has been linked to marital satisfaction, although the link runs both ways as those who have more sex may also tend to report greater marital happiness.” Dr Tan Poh Lin
Here are 3 tips to refuel the spark in your marriage.
One: Have a weekly date night
It is important to carve out couple time just for the both of you when you can focus on enjoying each other’s company without kids, just for a few hours each week. This may mean planning in advance for babysitting.
Take turns planning date nights to make it less predictable and routine. You do not need to wait till Valentine’s Day or wedding anniversaries to leave love notes, send cards or take each other out to dinner.
Two: Make sex a priority
In “10 Ways to Rekindle the Passion in Your Marriage”, Terry Gaspard writes that increasing physical affection through sex can help sustain a meaningful bond. The mood for intimacy can be set by romantic acts of surprising your spouse with some flowers or a shoulder massage.
Holding hands, hugs, and tender touch are great ways to affirm your love for your partner. Sex therapist and educator, Dr. Michael Stysma recommends that you set a goal of doubling the length of time you kiss, hug, and use sensual touch if you want to improve your marriage.
Three: Foster emotional intimacy
A good sexual relationship is built on emotional intimacy and closeness. This goes hand in hand with the previous point. If you are hoping to improve your physical relationship, you first need to work on your emotional connection.
Focus on turning towards each other, especially during conflicts. In his book, “The Science of Trust”, Dr Gottman explained that practising turning towards each other through showing empathy instead of being defensive can help couples rekindle their passion and love. Showing empathy could look like helping each other to keep the house clean and tidy, supporting each other in parenting, expressing care and concern when one is tired from work.
A good marriage takes effort to maintain. Perhaps you have been taking each other for granted and allowing the demands of life and childcare to take priority. It’s not too late to stop and focus on nurturing your marriage. After all, ‘the greatest gifts a father can do for his children is to love their mother’ (Howard W. Hunter).
Written by: Tabitha Lee, Counsellor, Fei Yue Community Services
Tan, Theresa (2021, May 26). Women in Singapore Less Satisfied with their marriages during and after circuit breaker: Study. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/women-in-singapore-less-satisfied-with-their-marriages-during-covid-19-pandemic-study