Being married with kids has its upsides and downsides. Having someone else to help with the house and the kiddo is great, but also being in the role as husband or wife can make things a bit chaotic. It is hard keeping up with everything and investing fully into another person. The thing I forget sometimes though, is that my husband is not just another person in my life, he is my other half, and my partner.
It is easy to get into a routine, or struggle to have a routine, or to barely keep up in a day, and let your marriage fall behind in the priority order. For me, my unintentional priorities go something like this: Kids, Spouse, God, Me. Or sometimes: Kids, God, Spouse, Me.
Either way, it should go like this: God, Me/Spouse, Kids.
Your spouse and yourself should tend to fall in the middle together. It is important to take care of yourself. Take a break when you need to (if you can), or invest in hobbies and interests that tap into your soul, things that make you feel most like yourself. Stepping away for awhile, even if it is just reading for an hour before bed can kind of reset your brain.
Having that same kind of “step away for a minute” attitude in marriage can have the same effect. Since they are the other half, it is just as important to give them the time to connect in the relationship as well. For each of us that looks differently. If you don’t know what your spouse appreciates most when it comes to spending time together, maybe take some time to talk about it with them. Some things that have worked for us are:
1. Ask “What do you need today?” We try to do this everyday, and I say try because we are far from perfect in this. I can’t speak for men, but for us women, our daily needs change pretty often. Some days we need you to listen to us talk about our day. Other times we need your input and advice on a problem we are facing. And sometimes we just need a shoulder to cry on. Taking that time, even if you only have a few minutes to stop everything to find out what they need, will not only help you to better serve your spouse, but will bring that connected feeling busy couples often miss.
2. Have a regular Date Night. Another good habit to get into is to have a weekly date night. Before our son was born we were obviously really good at this and we went out every Friday night. It was like clockwork. But it got to be much trickier to find the time, not only do we have a little boy now, but my husband’s schedule is never consistent week to week or day to day. So, we stopped planning date nights. Eventually it started to show and we realized we were using the excuse of a busy schedule to avoid taking time to connect. So we made that the first thing we added to our schedule, before anything else, and it WORKED! We look forward to going out and having that uninterrupted time together.
3. Turn OFF the Phones, Computers, and TV’s. We didn’t realize how much we were online or watching senseless TV until after several weeks would pass and we felt like we hadn’t talked in forever. We tried making rules about when we would and wouldn’t have things on, but we just ended up “breaking” the rules and ditching the whole plan. Which of course, didn’t benefit anybody. Instead we have made a better effort to be aware of when the TV has been on a lot and taking a few nights a week to do other things, like board games, puzzles, talking, or working on projects together.
What works for you and your spouse? How do you find time to connect each day?
If you feel a deficit in this area of your marriage, I strongly encourage you to not just find the time, but MAKE the time. That relationship is too important to wait until the kids move out to catch up!