Let your kids see you kiss and hug their mother. It matters and they’re watching.
My parents didn’t hold hands as far as I remember. I don’t recall seeing them kiss. I think somewhere I may have a photo of them hugging but as I recall it was more of a funny pose on Christmas morning. They just were not the types to show affection for one another, at least in front of me. Perhaps it was the times, or a belief that, after a certain age, you just shouldn’t do that anymore. Perhaps it was just exactly how they felt about each other. In any case, looking back now, it makes me sad for them.
When was the last time you touched your wife with affection? Held her hand? Stroked her hair. Hugged her with real emotion? If you have to think about it, it’s been too long.
These are the things therapists tell couples to do when they are having trouble and they need to “get back in the habit” of showing affection for one another. It turns out that, if you are in the habit of doing affectionate things, you tend to feel affectionately toward your wife. Makes sense.
More than that though, your kids are watching. They are seeing you hug and kiss and hold and dance goofy dances in the kitchen with your wife… or not. They are making mental notes about how to treat a woman you love. How does a man show his love for his wife? Is it only by bringing home a paycheck or fixing the clogged drains?
Connect with your wife. Reach out for her hand the next time you drive somewhere together, or give her a kiss on the back of the neck the next time you see her making something in the kitchen.
If it feels weird because you haven’t done it for a while, that’s okay. Fake it ’til you make it. Why? Because it will make both of you feel good.
And the kids are watching.
By the way, my parents who I never saw holding hands…? They split up when I was 13.