When we were getting ready to have our first child 18 years ago, we were told this nugget of wisdom that has stuck with us. Great marriages make great parents. It may sound a bit obvious but it has proved itself true.

We all feel secure when life is stable, so when children see Mum and Dad loving each other, they themselves feel secure, stable and loved. Your children need you to invest not only in them but in your marriage.

We were encouraged early on to practise ‘couch time’. Take 5-10 minutes, as and when you can, to sit down and talk to each other without interruption from the children (unless there is an emergency of course). The children should be in the same room but are not allowed to interrupt ‘couch time’. (And believe me they will try. It will become a great challenge to them!)

When we started this, I must admit it seemed a bit weird because it felt like we were ignoring the children. But in fact we were teaching them (and each other) really important things about relationships. We had to persist as our children immediately wanted to interrupt. However, over time they learn and it really does feed their sense of security.

Dean and Kris Dryden

12 September 2017