There was an article this week about children causing more rows between couples than money or any other worries. I don’t think it is right to say they cause rows, but more that it is the stress and exhaustion associated with bringing up children that exacerbates tension in a relationship. That tension is then amplified by not really being able to speak entirely freely whilst the kids are around for fear it might escalate into a full blown war, which as well as being not very edifying to be a witness to, is positively damaging for children. Biting one’s tongue though serves to relegate feelings to the back burner where they simmer and darken ready to explode into a Technicolor show down at the drop of a hat. Either that, or silence descends as there seems to be no outlet for what needs to be communicated. Silence generates more silence until the power to communicate is lost and there seems to be no connection between the couple. So, how can couples avoid that slow build up? One way, is to recognise what is happening and make some time for each other. Put the children to bed if they are young and have dinner together, no TV and talk. Bring each other up to date and say what is on your mind. If the children are older and you don’t need to stay in, then go out, even if it’s for a walk. Remember how you felt about each other before the children came along and try to be a couple again. Children are great at getting between a couple, either by playing one off against the other or by just being demanding of all your time. It takes a super human effort to make time for each other as adults. Put the toys away, turn the lights down and however tired you are, get in touch with the romantic spirit that once compelled you to commit to each other.