If you’re like me, after kids came along, it became really hard to stay connected. So if you’re finding yourself frustrated with the current status quo of your marriage, this one’s for you! With deliberate choices each day, it’s easier than you’d think to reconnect!
I remember when my husband and I were first dating. It was so easy back then to find quality time. In fact, it was almost all we did.
The hard part about our marriage maturing (especially the transition after kids), is that everything sneaks up on you! One minute we were busy planning our son’s nursery and the next minute, months had gone by. After a while, I realized that we had hardly spent any quality time together in over a year.
It’s not that our feelings changed, it’s just that life became more hectic. First, our schedules were fixed on our newborn’s sleep and feeding schedules. Next, our day-to-day routine was dictated by school and sports schedules. And, of course, there’s that pesky obligation we all have to be responsible and earn a living. Add in chores and it was hard to comprehend how fast time was flying by.
I know couples who do weekly date-nights with their spouse. Many do it monthly. To those who have persevered – kudos! For us, that has not been our journey.
When you have five kids, finding time is the biggest struggle. Next up is a tight budget because kids are expensive. Between a sitter and the cost of entertainment, date nights can quickly add up.
That’s why we found that spending daily quality time was so important! There are a million ways to do this – but here are five of my favorites:
- Enjoy a cup of coffee together each morning. Quality time requires us to have a little something left. One of the struggles of spending all your quality time at the end of each day – is that by the end of the day, we’re usually exhausted (and sometimes a little cranky). Starting the day with a hug and just existing in each other’s presence over a cup of coffee can be very peaceful and it can remind you both that you’re in this crazy journey together!
- Lunch Dates. One great thing about a lunch date – is that some kids are already in school (hello free sitter). And the little ones may either be at a sitter while you’re at work, or maybe grandmas/grandpas can help out for a quick hour (it really does take a village)! Breaking up the day with a quick connection helps us to slow down. And without five kids fighting for our attention, lunch at a sandwich shop can offer a great speed-date!
- Make Dinner Together. This one is probably my favorite. Cooking for my family is one of the ways that I show my love for them (part of my love language). At the end of a long workday, I love to pour a glass of red wine and really soak up that time! It gives us a chance to connect over where we were (how our day was) and where we’re going (what’s on the horizon).
- Take a long walk after Dinner. The world is so beautiful and peaceful on a summer evening. This one isn’t one we can do all year long because we live in the Midwest. So, many winter evenings are brutally cold and windy. But that’s all the more reason to take advantage of a beautiful evening when we can! Conversations on a nice walk tend to be more future-focused. There’s something about walking that makes your mind think forward. I love the dreams we’ve chatted about on a long walk!
- Spend an Hour Before Bed. This is probably the way we connect with the most consistency. We usually watch a show together that we’re binge watching on Hulu or Netflix. And while that may not be the best quality time, it’s a great way to wind down after a long day. It doesn’t take much mental energy or emotional balance. AND snuggling (even after 15 years together) still kind of makes you feel like you’re just two kids in love!
Whenever we’ve started to feel distant from one another, I almost always realize that we’ve neglected some of this day-to-day quality time. So, I challenge you to reflect on your own relationship. Try 1-2 of these ideas for a week and notice what it does to your relationship. So often, we forget to nurture our most important friendship – the one with our spouse. And the one relationship that we’d all agree is the most important one in our life! So take control of your happiness and joy!