Relationships need time. Having young children makes it WAY harder to give and receive attention from your partner. Add in sleep deprivation, general exhaustion and less privacy! All these things mean that finding space for intimacy becomes a secondary luxury.
So how do you maintain a solid relationship that still has it’s lightness, sexiness and loving respect amidst the intense challenges of parenting?
What is a relationship?
Relationships are all about connection – how we respond to one another, how willing we are to listen and how we create trust through honesty and integrity. All of these things will be important to an attachment parent in creating a deep bond with their child.
While the adult relationship doesn’t have the dependence-for-survival factor of the parent-child, the essence of relationship remains the same.
Here are 3 unique books that support great communication, mutual understanding and enjoyment in a relationship.
The Relationship Handbook by Dr George S. Pransky
A genuine breathe of fresh air when it comes to how we consider relationships that are struggling, damaged or in need of restructuring. Pransky describes the book as a ‘change-of-heart facilitator’. He encourages the reader to transcend problems rather than deal with them as is typical with many counselling approaches.
Pranks’ focusses on how we can maintain our own bearings and wellbeing so we can navigate a relationship more smoothly. In doing this we become more available for connection. In connecting we perceive our partner differently and the ‘challenges’ or ‘problems‘ no longer have the same power to disrupt.
Often rated as ‘life-changing’, it is full of heart-lifting transcripts and stories from Pransky’s practice as a couples therapist. Chapters include ‘Compatability Is Only A Thought Away’, ‘Emotions: Master or Servant?’ and ‘Exit Excitement, Enter Love – Levels of Relationship’.
Read this and understand what ‘warm affinity’ means and how it could improve your relationship for good.
The Relationship Handbook: A Simple Guide To Satisfying Relationships by Dr George S. Pransky is available here.
Nonviolent Communication by Dr Marshall B. Rosenberg
Although the title is off-putting for some, Rosenberg points us towards the way much of our language is actually aggressive or harmful. This is most evident when it is judging, shaming, coercive, critical or discriminating.
Rosenberg is passionate about people valuing language in it’s powerful ability to create or break a sense of connection. Equally, he reveals to the reader how to extend more self-empathy in generating choice, meaning and connection in relationships.
This book explains how we can ask for what we need without wielding ‘power over others’. Rosenberg also looks at listening as an essential element in communication that is compassionate. This also applies when there is disagreement.
There are clear reasons and examples of how this approach has proven effective in both war time negotiations and domestic niggles.
If you’d like a roadmap for how to compassionately communicate using nonviolent language that benefits everyone, you can get Nonviolent Communication: A Language Of Life by Dr Marshal B. Rosenberg here
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Having sold over 11 million copies this book has proven it’s both easily digestible and helpfully practical. The basic premise is that we each offer and receive love in different ways or ‘love languages’.
When we recognise our own ‘love languages’ and those of our romantic partners we experience more kindness and understanding. This equally applies to our relationships with our children and family!
The love languages include:
Words of Affirmation: showing love and appreciation through words of recognition or validation such as ‘I love your company so much!’
Acts of Service: offering to ‘do’ something such as prepare a meal or put up a bookshelf or anything else your partner would be grateful for.
Physical Touch: this might be hand-holding, kissing, hair-stroking, thigh rubs, sex or anything that involves nurturing loving touch.
Time: when we deliberately make time for our significant other just to hang out with them and offer them our undivided attention.
Gifts: some people love to receive a gift as an affirmation that they were in their partner’s thoughts or that the gift shows their partner knows them well.
If you’d like to discover your own ‘love language’ you can get The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman here
Good luck and here’s to happy, healthy, fun relationships that can weather all the changing moods of life.