Tag: marriage

Why The Relationship with Your Partner Needs to Come First

With 1 in 3 marriage lasting 12.1 years we wanted to dig deeper on why some relationships don’t make the distance. One of the most stressful times for a relationship is during the parenting years. With only so many hours in the day, it’s easy to prioritise the kids and neglect your partner. We want you to have a thriving life – not just as a parent, but as a human in a romantic relationship too. But how do you do both and why does your relationship with your partner need to come first? We asked relationship experts Allan and Barbara Pease some questions to help us out with this very important topic.

Should the relationship with our partner come first?

“Becoming a parent is the single greatest gift in my life”, says Barbara – mother of three, stepmother of three and grandmother of eight. “But there is no question that being a parent is hard work. While children bring new and urgent demands, the couple should remain the overall priority or resentment, anger and feelings of being neglected can build. Without a strong ‘couple relationship’, separation and divorce can rear its head.”

“At the beginning of a relationship, you are lovers and friends. Hormones are keeping you ‘in love’, but it doesn’t last forever. From about six months on, most couples enter a new phase where their relationship shifts as hormones return to their default levels. There is less hormone-driven passion and the bonding-partnership phase begins ”, says Allan.

“When children come along, several things happen – you lose sleep, you focus most of your attention on your child and whatever is left over is spread thinly between other priorities.”

“All of a sudden, you’re not a Husband or Wife or a sexy lover, you’re a Mum or Dad facing the demands of little people who vomit over you. That can make intimacy difficult to maintain if you stop making an effort with your partner and it’s easy for a partner to feel neglected. What worked in the beginning may not now work as kids grow. You have to be prepared to adapt. It’s also important to have regular relationship check-ins with each other”.

“That’s why it’s so important to carve out time for the two of you, right from day one. Create an opportunity to laugh and reconnect with your partner. Keep a sense of humour about nappies and night-time duties, school runs and snotty noses – each phase has its end”, says Barbara. “And prioritise sex – it builds intimacy and is good for your mood!”

Why is it so important to invest in your relationship with your partner after having children?

“Two is a couple – three is a crowd. You’ve gone from being a sexy, selfish, loving couple to being in 2nd place (or even 3rd place if you have a pet). If this goes unchecked, resentment and anger can grow”, says Allan. “Having children is exciting and rewarding. But separation and divorce rates spike in the 18-month period after the birth of a first child. Make your relationship a priority at all times.”

Here are some daily tips:

Make time every day to chat with your partner and tell them about your day. Even if it is only 10 minutes…make a cup of tea and go to a quiet space and focus 100% on them.

Make intimate contact every day, whether it’s hugging, holding hands or caressing. For men – this is not necessarily the cue to having sex every night but a chance to connect in a loving way.

Create a ‘you’ time either weekly or monthly where you go for a walk on the beach, have dinner, go to the movies or just sit on the couch and cuddle up.

Have a book that you write in each day about what you loved about each other that day… no negatives just positives and share it once a week.

Have fun together like you used to before you became a Mum and Dad…watch a funny show, go out and just laugh.

How does my relationship with my partner affect my children?

“Without intimacy, a relationship can easily become victim to the stresses of raising children”, says Barbara. “It’s so important to put your relationship first, because without it, you are heading for a very rocky ride.”

“You are a relationship role model for your children – show them that love between parents is a natural and important part of a happy family life. Children will mimic the behaviour of their parents, so you pass on great habits to your future generation. Honest and frequent communication between partners is a key to a long-lasting relationship. It generates understanding so there are less arguments and it means you’re sharing your life with one another, so you’re less likely to grow apart and seek a new relationship. Children find comfort and security in their parents’ healthy relationship, so nurturing it is important. Partners need to come first, but with the understanding that there will be times when children will be your top priority. It comes down to communicating with each other and finding that happy place and letting your partner know that they will always be number one, above everything and everybody.”

If my connection with my partner has been lost, how can I find it again/ rekindle it?

“To create a strong and long-lasting relationship, communication must come first” says Allan.

“But you won’t do it if it’s not enjoyable, so create a fun little ritual for the two of you” says Barbara. “Allan and I have a coffee and work out in the gym together daily. This is our time to connect and at night we are always watching funny movies together. Every Sunday we walk to our favourite coffee shop and it is our time to reflect and be a couple, without the interruption of children.”

The couple add these tips for better intimacy and a happier family life:

Be upfront and open about what you want in your relationship.

Aim for balance – spend some time apart and some time together.

Accept that children will change your relationship, but that with communication you can solve any problem together.

Make time for each other. In the long run, your children will admire happy parents who support and love each other.

If one parent needs time out from the world then this needs to happen….it may be that the Dad needs to go fishing for the weekend or the Mum needs some girl time with her friends. You will come back relaxed and happy to reconnect to your family.

“Remember the reasons you fell in love with your partner and that they are still your soul mate, lover and best friend and not the enemy when times get tough. Your relationship will be the model and guide for your children when they have a relationship and intimacy. Children absorb everything that they learn through our behaviours. They learn about gender roles, respect, boundaries, intimacy and love. When a child watches his father love and respect his mother, he will do the same to his partner. When a child watches his Mother have a strong sense of self-worth, unconditional love and respect, that child will pass this onto the next generation. Handling conflict together so that you are coming from the same page is what the children need to see and learn from. Your children will pass this onto their children. Making your partner number one at all times ensures that your bond is strong and that your emotional connection is resilient, helping your relationship last a lifetime”.


About Barbara and Allan 

Barbara & Allan Pease are the most successful relationship authors in the business. They have written 18 bestsellers – including 10 number ones – and travelled the world extensively giving seminars in 70 countries. Visit their website HERE. 

 

Read ‘How to Fight Fairly In Your Relationship’ with Julia Nowland, from Whole Heart Relationships, HERE. 

How to Fight Fairly in Your Relationship

There has never been a better time to learn how to fight fairly.

Around the world couples have spent many months in social isolation, naturally uncovering the hidden or not so hidden differences of opinion, personal quirks and values. Even the happiest of couples, when put under these conditions, are having to deal with a wealth of relational issues. Learning how to deal with these differences effectively, not only stops them from growing out of proportion but also prevents couples from emotionally distancing themselves in order to cope. To have a beautiful relationship, you need to be on the same page, have each other’s back, laugh at life’s daily silliness and fight. Yes, you read that right! Fight. The goal isn’t to be a couple that never fights because that isn’t a healthy relationship either.

Healthy conflict in a relationship allows the couple to understand each other’s inner world and work together as a team, because it’s not so much what you’re saying that’s causing the friction, but often how you’re saying it.

Of course, there are certain red flag fights where it would be beneficial to enlist the help of a professional. These include the arguments over infidelity, arguments that involve physical violence, intimidation, strong language or that involve children. There is often a list of hot topics that can set couples up for a disagreement. These could be finances, parenting, in-laws, friends, imbalance of responsibility and more. However, there are often everyday things that couples end up having a fight over too. These include the dirty dishes that are sitting next to the sink, or yet “another” online shopping delivery. While struggles over everyday occurrences that get under each other’s skin can seem cliché, it’s very real. Fortunately, there are some easy, go-to strategies you can both use to relieve the tension.

Why is it that some couples have no problem discussing these topics when others end up giving each other the silent treatment? It all comes down to how you both approach the subject. Here are the five best things to do to fight fairly.

  1. Start how you intend to finish

If you know that you need to raise the issue about the dirty dishes, again, then the outcome of the conversation is very much dependent on how you start it. If you come in guns blazing, your partner is automatically going to get defensive. Then neither of you are going to hear the other one because you’re too busy trying to prove why each of you are right. Soften how you start the conversation, be aware of your tone, body language and choice of language. “Why are there dirty dishes in the sink?” versus “I notice there are more dishes in the sink…”

  1. Listen to understand, before being understood

Try to understand where your partner is coming from before you launch into all of your reasons. Once your partner gets everything off their chest and feels like you can understand where they’re coming from and how they feel, a lot of the emotional charge will be released from the conversation. The mantra you need to remember is “I understand what you’re saying, what you’re feeling and where you’re coming from.”

  1. Discuss the issue at hand and not the whole story

When we’re in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of when, where, why and who said what. Try to avoid getting bogged down with these as they’re often not necessary in dealing with the issue that you’re fighting over. For example “When I notice the pile of dishes on the kitchen sink…”. Versus, “Yesterday, you left out three mugs and I asked you to move them. In the afternoon when I came home from the shops, and they still weren’t touched, I sent you a message….”

  1. You’re not actually fighting over those dishes

Usually behind every fight over the ordinary mundane things lies an emotional root cause. If you take the time to figure out why the action or lack of action from your partner is causing you to feel angry, frustrated or annoyed, you’ll usually find the emotional reason. Expressing this creates a softer conversation than going in with blame and attack.

For example, dirty dishes in the sink = I don’t feel valued or I feel like I’m being taken for granted.

  1. For every unhappy interaction we need at least five happy ones

While this point isn’t about what to do during a fight, it’s an important one to engage in after the fight. It’s also important to maintain when you’re not fighting. Couples need to have a wealth of happy, positive interactions to keep the warmth and connection alive. These positive interactions are investments into the overall happiness of the relationship. When you have banked plenty of positivity, then one negative interaction or fight doesn’t take away the vitality of the whole relationship. According to research, couples are only emotionally available to each other 9 per cent of the time – ouch! So that pretty much guarantees we will spend the other 91 per cent of the time mismatching our communication and understanding.

Naturally conflict is going to happen. It can be a greater way for couples to increase their understanding of their partner’s inner world. Fortunately, when our positive interactions take over, the impact of those fights about nothing will diminish. That’s a pretty good reason to learn how to fight fairly.

Julia Nowland is the founder of Whole Heart Relationships. She specialises in helping parents of young children prioritise their relationship and strengthen their love. You can find out more on her website here. 

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All About Applying for Divorce – Statewide Family Law, Mackay

Katrina Peters

Statewide Family Law

Dear Katrina,

I have separated from my ex. How do I apply for divorce?

You can apply for a divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely. You must also both be an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship. Otherwise, you must ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.

You need to satisfy the Court that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months. There must also be no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life. However, it is possible to live together in the same home and still be separated. Same sex couples whose marriages are recognised can also apply for a divorce after this time period.

Applications for Divorce are now completed online. There is a filing fee for divorce applications. But, if you hold certain government concession cards or you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for a reduced fee. To find out if you are eligible, please contact us.

As for divorce hearings, you will not need to attend if there is no child of the marriage under 18 years or if it is a joint application with children under 18. However, if it is a sole application with children under 18, you will be required to attend the court hearing.

The granting of a divorce does not decide issues about your property. If you want to make arrangements about these issues, you can make an agreement with your spouse. They you must file it with the court or. If an agreement cannot be reached between you, you can seek orders from the court.

A 34 Wood St, Mackay

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