Family time: how to use the space in your home

Your home is a vital part of maintaining a happy marriage, after all, it’s the place you and your loved ones spend most of your time together.

couple cooking together Each room has its own place in your relationship. Here are some of the ways I use our space to help my marriage and that I believe can keep couples stay happy as they identify with key rooms inside the home.

The kitchen

Cooking is a key way that couples can bond with each other. Cook together to encourage communication, express your imagination and provide healthy dinners for your family.

I enjoy looking up new recipes on the internet, shopping at the local market on Saturday as a family and bringing the ingredients home for an easygoing ‘cooking lesson’. If your ‘lesson’ doesn’t go well, you can always resort to ordering in and having a nice family takeaway, but the important thing is you spend time in the kitchen with your loved ones.

The bedroom

Romance is a key part of any solid marriage. If you can’t spend time together due to work or different commitments, keep the romance alive through telephone calls or even handwritten notes.

I like to surprise my husband mid-day with a sexy text suggesting I am looking forward to a nice romantic night or I slip a handwritten note in his lunch that he packed the night before. If you think your sex life needs a boost, have an open discussion with your spouse to manage the issue before it influences other aspects of your marriage.

The garage

Running a household requires a consistent effort from both partners. Whether it’s revamping the loft or tidying the kitchen, doing a fair share of the housework is a common argument.

To keep these rows from happening, think of a fair way to divide the work between you and your partner. Do your part without complaining or making excuses. I sometimes trick my husband into cleaning the garage by bribing him with some romance afterwards or have him wash and vacuum the car while I clean the garage. It helps when you are both in the same area and sharing the workload.

The dining room

Eating as a family is a magnificent approach to bond and share details about your day. Attempt to have dinner together at the table every night. Or if you can’t, try and meet for another meal in the day.

And please, while you eat, put your gadgets aside so you can spend valuable time focusing on each other. It’s always been important to my husband and I to have dinner as a family. You can feel a disconnection as soon as one of us picks up the phone, so we’ve tried hard to put that aside during meals. Instead we ask our daughter about her day at school and tell her how we spent our day. She often goes to bed mid-dinner time for us, and we try to use time after she’s gone to have more adult conversations.

The living room

Your living room is a central part of family life – the room where most important family events will take place. Whenever Christmas, Valentine’s Day and other special occasions come around, put some thought into the presents you purchase for your partner. Giving a thoughtful gift shows your love and affection.

Try not to wait until the last minute or forget to buy a gift – this leads to hurt feelings and battles. My husband has never been into receiving presents, or so he tells me, so I try hard on this one. I try to incorporate surprises and arrange less tangible gifts. I once surprised him with a flying lesson where I got to sit on the back of the Cessna as he learned to pilot. Even though he’s afraid of heights, he really enjoyed the surprise and the scenic views of our town.

Another surprise he loved was a wine and cheese candlelight picnic in the middle of our living room on a cold winter day. Surprises like this, for no reason, make him feel loved; he knows I went out of my way to pick up some of his special treats for a quite romantic night ‘just because’.

The TV room

Enjoying some quiet TV time with your partner can be a great way to spend time together, particularly if you don’t work in a similar field and experience difficulty discovering a common ground.

Watching a TV series you both like gives you something to talk about, and it allows you to relax and reconnect without pressure. Some of my fondest memories at home are actually lying on the sofa being lazy with my husband, watching TV. Sometimes we find a new series and go on a binge watching hours at a time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The bathroom

woman relaxing in bathEverybody needs some uninterrupted alone time to unwind and relax. Frequently the bathroom becomes a shelter for time out. Respect this need for alone time by permitting your partner to wash up or take hot shower when he or she needs it. Try not to intrude on this time or rush each other. Rather, urge them to invest in some time alone so that your time together will be more positive.

I find this especially important after having kids. The bathroom is, sometimes, the only place where you can get away and, as insignificant as it may seem, it’s a big one for us.

The child’s room

Children are a gift, yet they can likewise be a source for arguments. If you and your partner don’t share the same parenting methods, try to come to an agreement as a couple. Try not to condemn or disagree over any issues in front of the kids. Rather, constantly present a unified front and handle any issues that may emerge in private.

This is perhaps the biggest reason we fight and test our marriage daily. My daughter is four years old, just at that phase where she likes to test us every minute of every hour, and we are learning as we go. As insignificant as it may seem, her room has a big impact on how we deal with her. Her room being clean and clutter free actually makes us feel much better and less stressed.

Every room in the home plays a role in family life. Keeping these blueprints in mind make us stronger and help keep our marriage healthy and happy. I hope they work for you, too.

About Vania Silva

I’m a mum to four year old Francesca and wife to Telmo since July 2007. I represent divorce cases in Ohio at Laubacher & Co