How Parents Can Re-Find The Spark in Their Relationship: Expert Advice

How Parents Can Re-Find The Spark in Their Relationship: Expert Advice
Getty Images

How Parents Can Re-Find The Spark in Their Relationship: Expert Advice

It’s no secret that having children can change the dynamic of a relationship between spouses. Even the most in-love couples and couples with the healthiest of dynamics are likely to hit bumps in the road when children are added to the equation.

Parents, and especially new parents, can find the loss of a spark between them and their spouse. In the hustle and bustle of raising kids, it can be harder to find time for your spouse. But there are ways to get that spark back.

We sat down with Matt Lundquist, LCSW, psychotherapist with Tribeca Therapy, about how parents can tend do and rekindle the spark in their relationship while caring for their kids.

Psst… Here’s your guide to a Remote School Snow Day, and all the fun things you can do in the snow!

It’s not uncommon for “the spark” to go out between a couple, especially after they welcome a child and become parents. What causes this to happen?

A lot can cause this. It’s important to remember that love relationships in the way we tend to organize them are really several relationships.

In a partnership with children, they’re relationships of love, friendship and sex but also cohabitation, financial partnership and parenting.

As relationships add facets–dating leads to cohabitation and financial partnership, and children–there are more roles to navigate in and around.

What are some signs that the spark has gone out between spouses?

It’s one of those things that is obvious once it’s pointed out. In the busyness of kids and work there is a lot to distract us from noticing something that doesn’t feel good to admit.

Often the “metric” is sexual connection, but some couples still have sex regularly but with less enjoyment or accompanied by less of other kinds of romance and connection. Or couples may find it harder to connect sexually and yet have a spark in other areas.

The question of spark is subjective and, in practice, each person in the relationship ought to reflect on whether they feel satisfied and excited.

How can parents reignite the spark in their relationship after they have children?

I often talk to parents–or those in a relationship that’s evolved after time and life changes–about needing to rethink the fuel source.

One common source of excitement early in a relationship is its newness, and even the drama of pursuit (Ester Perel wrote about this in Mating in Captivity). When that inevitably fades couples need to find new sources of excitement for one another.

The possibilities for what these sources can be are endless but one area is longevity and parenting itself–finding joy and connection in the partnership of raising children, seeing if a spark can be generated from the excitement of succeeding and parenting’s challenges, in the shared wins and even in the shared experience of struggle.

Children require a lot of time and attention, especially when they’re young. How can spouses find time for each other when there are children in the mix?

This is the endless creative question of parents, especially parents of young children (and made all the more challenging in the confined spaces we often occupy when raising children in New York City).

My first comment is to encourage parents to relate to this as ordinary: while logistics aren’t sexy, they are necessary. Laundry rooms during naptime may be a good option; working from home and timing a lunch break (while kids are at daycare or school).

How does self-care play into keeping up the spark with a spouse?

We might think of the spark as a kind of self care in and of itself. Time for oneself and investing in breaks and alone time, in doing things that feel good is great; but it’s also important to remember that in healthy, equitable relationships, investing in the relationship is part of self care.

Relevant Directory Listings

See More

Advantage Care Health Centers

<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-db4b2459-7fff-adc1-4601-75b3690fc174"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #434343; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Advantage Care now offers in-person and Tele-Health services to all new and current patients through their secure online platform visit: </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://advantagecare.doxy.me/"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #434343; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">https://advantagecare.doxy.me</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #434343; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> to see how it works.  Tele-Health Services for Children and Adults include the Following: Primary Care, Psychotherapy, Psychiatry.  Advantage Care continues to take proper measures to keep their patients, community, and staff safe during the pandemic. Advantage Care Health Centers are Long Island’s premier Federally Qualified Health Centers. They accept Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Care Plans, Medicare. The mission of their centers is to provide the highest quality comprehensive primary, dental, mental, and behavioral health care services.  They offer these services to all members of the community with a commitment to those who might otherwise be excluded from the health care system, while remaining cost-effective and efficient. Advantage Care specializes in providing services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.</span></span></p>

The Gillen Brewer School

<p dir="ltr"><strong>The Gillen Brewer School is a private special education school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, NYC, serving children ages 2.8 to 11 years old</strong>. Our mission is to educate and support students to become confident, independent, and engaged learners. </p> <p dir="ltr">Our individualized, academic-therapeutic approach to education incorporates speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and social groups throughout each child’s daily schedule. Students are immersed in learning which is developmentally appropriate and socially engaging. </p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> <p dir="ltr">Our teachers and therapists are cross-trained in each academic and therapeutic speciality in order to provide a holistic and integrated program. Students benefit from small class sizes, and enjoy specials such as art, music, physical education, science, and technology. </p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> <p dir="ltr">Central to our program is the home-school partnership, in which Gillen Brewer staff work closely with families to support the whole child in achieving their goals. </p> <p><br />Our Admissions Team is here to discuss how The Gillen Brewer School can partner with your family. Contact us at <a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]</a> to schedule an in-person tour today!</p>

Windward School

<p><span style="color: #06111a; font-family: raleway, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;">A coed, independent day school exclusively for students with dyslexia and language-based learning disabilities, The Windward School enrolls students in grades one through nine. 98% of Windward students move on to mainstream schools after completing The Windward School's academic program. The Windward School is nationally recognized for its development of instructional programs designed specifically to help students achieve language proficiency. The School’s academic curriculum is research-based and multisensory in nature and is designed to give students the skills they need to succeed in school and return with confidence to mainstream educational settings.</span></p>