By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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As parents, many of you spend a lot of time and energy thinking about what's best for your kids. In many families, kids are prioritized above one's partner. I believe you need to choose your partner overy our kids, by just a little bit. This provides a home where parents are showing love and care for each other -- and the kids know it. Modeling a healthy adult relationship for your kids is one of the best things you can do for their future development.
I encourage my clients to make time to spend with just each other, and the topic of kids is off the table. In your super-busy lives, many couples try to make as much family time as possible, but not couple's time.
I saw an article in "M Bay Area Magazine for Moms" on this topic. Bottom line, increasing romance between parents leads to happier kids -- even if you spend less time together as a family. Think about this: kids know when things are tense in the home, even if they don't know why. Conversely, kids know when their parents are happy, even if they don't know why.
So, what is romantic to you? To your partner? Make a list of both of your definitions. It's not just candlelit dinners and flowers, although those are really wonderful. For some couples, it's romantic to work out together, others find taking trips or going to cultural events is their cup of tea, for others it's going camping together. Some like sexy clothes and creating fantasy scenarios. Whatever your definitions are, schedule romance into your life.
Dr. John Gottman (a renowned researcher in couples relationships, and the founder of the "Love Lab" in Seattle) believes you have to be friends with your partner, and really know each other, to have romance. He recommends taking 20 minutes in the evening to ask and listen to each other about your day. Reminder: listening is a full-on experience, it is not waiting for your turn to talk. I know of couples that barely talk with each other, aside from logistics, on a day-to-day basis. Please, change this, if it's true in your household.
Another great way to spend time talking with your partner (and these are all suggestions for building secure attachment) is to get "101 Things I wish I Knew When I Got Married." Each section is about 1.5 pages and you can read it and talk about your feelings, perspectives, and thoughts on a given topic.
Say "thank you" for specific things within hearing of your kids. Even say thanks for mundane things like doing dishes or bringing a glass of water. Let them see you hold hands, hug, and kiss.
You might even find that increasing your romance = happier grown-ups, too.