The Surprising Secret to Keeping Your Marriage Strong During Parenthood

We all know how much parenthood changes a couple. Spontaneous dates and romantic getaways are a thing of the past. Conversations are now centered around domestic details (did you pick up laundry detergent?), family scheduling (what time will you be home?), and your kids (how do we raise loving, kind, intelligent humans?).

Here’s the simple secret to keeping your marriage strong during parenthood and 4 steps that you can take ASAP.

The Secret

The foundational secret to being a thriving parent-couple:

Helping each other make time for self-care.

It may seem counterintuitive to spend time apart, but before you can connect to each other, first you need to connect to yourselves, as individuals. Our sense of self shifts in parenthood, and honouring this shift means making space for ourselves. We want you to show up for your family & for your couple, as your best self.

What Every Parents Needs

Do you know what most parents crave after having kids? Alone time. Lose the guilt – it’s totally healthy to want this!  Having time alone is essential for our mental health. It’s the ultimate act of self-care. This is where we tune-in to who we are beyond the role of mother, wife, daughter, friend, etc.

The Value of Self-care

Understanding the value of taking solo-time, makes it easier to support each other in taking that time. When partners can encourage each other to make (and to help facilitate) self-care time, they come back to their families feeling restored and grateful. Restored, because they have re-connected with themselves.  Grateful, because their partner has helped make that self-care time possible. When you feel seen and understood by your partner, and your partner feels that reciprocated from you, it’s a meaningful expression of love. This is the foundational groundwork to every successful couple.

How To Make It Happen

Here are 4 simple steps to help each other make self-care time:

1 – Get clear on what self-care is for each of you.

Anything that restores you, qualifies as an act of self-care. It could be making yourself your morning cup of tea, or putting your feet up for ten minutes while your child naps. Some people restore by getting out of the house for a yoga class, an organized sport, or social time with friends. What does self-care look like for you?

2 – Schedule self-care time & help each other make it happen.

If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. There will always be a small person who’s needs will come before yours, dishes in the sink, or a house to be tidied.  We want you to be committed to each other’s self-care, like it’s your job! Mark it in your calendars and help each other stay accountable.

3 – Ask for what you need.

When we don’t ask for what we need, this often leads to resentment. “He went on a 3-hour bike ride and my yoga class was only an hour.” If you need two more hours of personal time to feel restored, be specific and ask for it. Humans are not mind readers, so help prevent conflict by communicating your needs from the get-go.

4 – Give thanks.

Saying “thank you” to your partner is a simple act of gratefulness that has huge impact. According to neuroscientist, Alex Korb Ph.D, people who practice gratefulness daily, have “increases in determination, attention, enthusiasm, and energy”. Practicing daily gratefulness for each other is the ultimate antidote to everyday parent challenges!


Self-care is the key ingredient to keeping your couple thriving after having kids. The bonus of taking time for self-care, is that you’re modeling it for your kids, too. We want kids to grow-up knowing how to take care of themselves – and that starts with you! When you take time for self-care, it’s a win for the whole family.  Share this article with your partner, so that you can get aligned and take action on your self-care practice ASAP. The benefit it will have on your family is totally worth it – don’t you agree?


Allison Villa is a registered psychotherapist with a virtual therapy practice & the co-founder of House and Hook, a website dedicated to keeping couples’ thriving throughout parenthood.

League of Moms / 02/03/2019

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