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    Play together and stay together

Dear Ate Anna:

Life in Canada is not easy. My husband and I work very hard to make a living for our family. I love my husband but I am so busy with work, children and housework that I hardly have time for him. I am worried that this will affect our relationship. Ate Anna, what can I do? How do I keep our relationship strong?

– Mona

Dear Mona,

Many women have the same feelings as you. They wish that there were 48 hours in a day. In many cultures women are still the ones who assume most of the responsibility of caring for family and household chores. In addition to work outside the home, they cook and clean, do grocery shopping, drive children to music lessons or soccer practices, take care of their children’s emotional needs, care for them when they are sick and make sure their children and husbands are fed and dressed properly. It is not surprising that many women feel like they have to be “Super Mom”!

Mona, you have raised an important concern and Ate Anna is glad to know that you have not taken your marital relationship for granted. When both partners are so busy, it is easy for them to neglect their relationship.

To avoid this, you and your husband have to commit to spending time together. Try to set priorities and find a balance between hectic schedules and your relationship. For example, ask yourself, “What is more important? Keeping the bathroom spic and span or spending ten minutes with my husband, just to talk and share?” Or your husband can ask the question, “Am I willing to share some housework with my wife, so she has one less thing to do?” In fact, many experts on marriage and relationships have identified shared responsibilities in household duties as one of the main ingredients in a successful relationship.

As we know, it takes hard work and dedication to maintain a healthy relationship. Disagreements are common in all marriages. It is important for couples to try to understand their partner’s point of view. If both partners are willing to compromise and problem solve, it will be easier for them to deal with the stresses in their relationship. These shared efforts can make their relationship stronger.

Look for things to laugh about together. Many couples say that having fun and enjoying activities together can boost their relationship and bring them closer. Even family activities like a movie night, playing a game, or celebrating family traditions can help a couple feel like they share something in common.

Working together, as a couple, toward a common goal also increases emotional closeness in a relationship. It can be anything – encouraging your children’s talents, maintaining harmonious relationships with your relatives, or being involved in a passion you share like your religion or a political cause.

We need to remember that sex is only one part of a marriage relationship. There are many ways that partners can show affection for each other. Many couples say that the support and comfort they give each other in good times and bad times can reaffirm intimate feelings. This is sometimes more important than the physical aspect of their relationship.

Of course, you also need to show appreciation. Express your love and make your partner feel cherished. This can include simple things like remembering birthdays, offering help without being asked, and saying “thank you.” Little surprises can sometimes add a “magic” sparkle that helps keep the relationship alive. Be creative!

Mona, a marriage is a commitment of two people. For the relationship to grow healthy and strong, it needs both partners to work on it. Please share this letter with your husband.

Take care,
Ate Anna

Ate Anna welcomes your questions and comments. Please write to: Ate Anna, Suite 200 – 226 Osborne St. N., Winnipeg, MB, R3C 1V4 or e-mail:

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