“As a relationship therapist, I immerse myself day in and day out in relationships that have areas for improvement. That’s why I know relationships need maintenance. My grandmother always said, “A relationship is a verb.” My own relationship is no different. Arjan and I do not quarrel much. It works wonderfully, but there is also a danger in it. It’s easier for us to ‘lose’ each other because we have a hard time discussing certain things. Fortunately, we know about each other. We even know each other. The trick is to stay focused on each other and our relationship. Sometimes it just works better than others. Couples who regularly quarrel, or who do not get around to a comfortable family life, knock on my door. With my help, they get more enjoyment from their relationship and peace in their home.
Our three sons differ slightly in age. In fact, I have been pregnant non-stop for almost 3.5 years. We wanted them to become not only brothers but also friends, and we succeeded! When we go to the campsite, they almost only play with each other. ”
»All three children now go to primary school. So I work just five days a week, but have two afternoons off to be with the boys. Arjan works four days as an investment manager in a development bank. He always worked 4.5 days, but will take his last parenting lessons in the near future to be able to do more with the kids and in the household. He even came up with the idea of taking more leave now that my practice is going so well!
We have a fixed division of tasks in the household, but if one of us does not get around, the other takes over without trouble. Arjan is a great cook, I’m more into shopping. We do the laundry together, we both go regularly to the washing machine in between. We take each other into account. I really pass this on to couples in my practice; take something from your hands. Arjan does a lot in the garden, I clean up the house more often. But we also have a housekeeper once a week who takes care of the bathroom and upstairs.
We discussed with the children how they can help us in the household. They clean up their own room before the cleaning lady comes and puts their plates, cutlery and glasses in the dishwasher after each meal. Maybe they could do more, but we think that’s fine. “
Take care of
“I have taken on most of the care for the children for a long time. Arjan traveled a lot abroad for his work and was not home for several days. In the corona era, that journey became much smaller. It was really wonderful for us! Nice and cozy with our family. Meanwhile, Arjan has to go abroad more and more often for his work. So it now means a little ‘reprocessing’ for me again if he is away for a week or more. I’m not always happy, because everything ends up on my shoulders, but I know he gets so much energy from these trips. It is also very worth it! The care of the children is equally divided when Arjan is not traveling because he has started working less. He takes the kids to school in the morning, I pick them up from school or BSO in the afternoon
We regularly compare our agendas so we can coordinate everything properly. Are we just busy and have some time for each other? Then there is understanding. We just meet each other. I can cook well once in a while, and Arjan does not mind putting the children to bed. ”
“We are breadwinners together, this has always been the case. We gather all our income in one pile. We do not even have separate accounts to buy nice things. A lipstick or sweater is simply deducted from our joint account! It has always been like that. Also when we did not have children and just moved in together. I do not necessarily recommend couples in my practice to have one joint account, everyone must decide for themselves. I do not worry at all about my financial independence. I earn enough to save myself if something happens. ”
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