Ashley Howe shares how to get the romance back when going through major life events together!
PLANNING A WEDDING
One of the biggest issues that couples have during their wedding prep time is feeling a lack of romance and connection. It is no wonder that this starts to happen as couples forget about why they are getting married because they leave NO time for one another with the busyness of planning!
TIP: Do not save all romance for the honeymoon! A month or two before the wedding, DATE each other (just the two of you) each weekend. Bring it back to YOU and YOUR partner, all the things your love and all the reasons why you said yes or proposed in the first place!
HAVING A BABY
Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of togetherness, excitement, and anticipation for a couple, right? Often it is! But, sometimes the stress of pregnancy can create strain on and detachment for a couple.
To help keep the connection as a couple, be sure to create JOINT experiences as much as possible to remind you that although one person is pregnant and will be delivering, this is something that is happening and will happen to the both of you…together!
TIP: Go on a baby moon! Even if it is a mini vacay in your own city, or something a little bit grander, be sure to take a trip with your partner prior to your baby arriving!
TIP: After the new baby- BINGE WATCH anything you both can get excited about TOGETHER!!! Sometimes you only have an hour together a day when dealing with a new baby and because getting out of the house is tough, it is key to make an activity out of your mindless TV watching through your very tired eyes.
TIP: One of the most difficult things about having a new baby in the house is sheer sleep deprivation and as we know, sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a reason. Remind both yourself and your partner that you are in an altered state, and that this will get better and will pass.
MOVING / RENOVATING
When our safe, familiar haven changes or gets ripped out from under us, it is common for us to feel stress and a general "fish out of water," overwhelmed feeling! When this happens, it's easy to take that stress and accompanying fatigue out on those we feel the most comfortable with- our partners!
: Couples often move when one person has gotten a new job and the other has yet to find one or will start looking once the move has occurred. The difficulty in this situation, is that you run the risk of being in different worlds in your new home. Sign up for a new activity together or use Sundays to explore your new neighbourhood together.
TIP: Have a Reno free zone! Be sure to finish one room right away or keep one room at a time, set up and perfectly untouched by the chaos of the rest of house so you have a place to escape together. If you need further distance once in a while and your safe room isn't offering the needed relief, book a hotel for a night or two just to have the fun novelty of a new space and having full service pampering you!
When you or your partner lose a job, the resulting effects, such as strain on finance, on a sense of self or identity, and possible surrounding feelings of failure can most certainly rock your relationship.
For the person who has lost their job:
-Allow yourself the chance to grieve the loss.
-Be sure to express your feelings to your partner in each stage.
-Spend an allotted period of time each day to job search, network, etc.
For the supporting partner:
-Allow your partner time to grieve his or her loss without judgement.
-Encourage your partner to make small steps & strides each day and remind them of why you love them and the qualities they possess.
-Respect a period of time in the day where your partner is working to find another job. In the off time, don’t be afraid to ask for help with other duties (ex. picking up the kids from school, preparing dinner, etc) A sense of purpose can come in many forms which are not financial and can keep the family connection strong during a trying time.
The interesting thing about “preparing for retirement” is that most think of this as a purely financial endeavour. The problem is…MOST NEVER plan or talk about what they want their retirement to look like, and most don’t prepare by having conversations around their real hopes, dreams, intentions and fears regarding retirement until AFTER they retire and problems arise.
Discuss and come to some sort of arrangement or agreement on the following topics:
When and how each will retire
How will roles in the relationship change (i.e. changes in household duties)
Expectation and agreed upon ideas for time spent together and time spent apart
Family obligations or involvement to children, grandchildren, parents, etc.
Dream place to live
The type of relationship as a married, retired couple you might like to have
What your social community and activities will look like
TIP: A great couple activity is to spend some time reviewing your family pictures and home movies of your life together (whether you've been together for 30 years or 5!). Once people feel positive and are reminded of all the meaning in their lives and experiences, they can more easily use that momentum to get creative, and excited about, planning their retirement years with their partners.