Stan Tatkin, a well-known author, lecturer and couple therapist says the number one thing that breaks relationships up is “mismanagement of thirds” (see thirds).What are thirds?
Thirds consist of any entity outside of the intimate relationship of two people. Some of the more obvious thirds include:
- extra marital or relationship affairs in a mutually agreed upon monogamous relationship
- excessive use of alcohol or drugs causing the less or non-using partner to feel secondary
- over involved extended families (including in-laws) whose opinions or influence are valued more highly than the other partner’s.
- material items that have higher “price tag” ranking than the relationship.
While these bulleted items might appear toxic to many people, even seemingly innocuous entities can prove to be hazardous thirds in relationships.
The next few posts will focus on some of the most seemingly benign yet peskiest thirds that you may not even suspect that could be seriously undermining your relationship.
Children. I am a mother of two, and I adore children. Like many moms, I make a practice of keeping my kids safe, well cared for and feeling loved. I also strongly believe the biggest gift we can give to our children is by putting our relationship first.
Many couples struggle with the demands of parenthood. There are 3 am feedings, colick, play dates, school challenges, fights with friends, teenaged angst, learning to drive, and launching our children safely into the world. The responsibility (and need for rest) never end!
With parents who strive to do their best, intimate relationships can get put on the back burner and completely de-prioritized in the throes of child rearing.
All relationships need care and attention, and the romantic relationship is no exception! Even when time is limited, there are ways you can show your partner that they at the top of your priority list.
- Greet your partner before greeting the children when returning home from work. You can greet the kids five seconds later!
- Don’t make a habit out of letting your children consistently interrupt you and your partner when you are speaking with one another.
- Set consistent bedtimes/routines which includes time alone for you and your partner.
Take a short date or outing just the two of you as often as you are able.
- Create special time together at home sans kiddos for just the two of you.
- Don’t bring your children up during times of foreplay or sex. This is a mood killer!
- Find humor in child rearing and in times when things don’t work out as you had planned.
- Flexibility and being able to roll with things as a couple is key.
Know that when you and your partner role model a securely functioning relationship with each other, it will create a felt sense of security in your children from the inside out!
Parenting does not have to be to the detriment of your partnership. If you find, however, that it has taken a toll on your relationship, Align Counseling of Colorado is here to help. Please call or text at (303) 475-2757 or click on the online scheduler to schedule your 20 minute no charge phone consultation.