Life with kids has got my husband and me running a bit crazy.
It isn’t anything new, it’s been accepted as how things go around here. With four children our schedules are jammed packed with soccer games, swimming classes, art classes, story times, and playdates (excuse me, hang outs per the tween). In addition to our jobs, my husband going back to school and me blogging, well – there isn’t much time left for us.
A common issue for many married folks, finding time together sans children is difficult to prioritize. The mentality that all the energy and focus on the kids is one, I think, everyone tends to struggle with. Present self included. We don’t want our children to feel as if they are being neglected. However, if we don’t tend to our relationship, it’s our marriage that could end up getting damaged.
We know that scheduling time for ourselves is important. What usually ends up being the problem is having the money and energy to spare. Something financial usually comes up that has to be taken care of first or we’re just too tired to actually go out. Yet, when it comes to the kids we somehow find a way to come up with what they need whether it requires money or energy or both.
Before we married, we were given a piece of advice from friends of ours. As we sat in their living room discussing our marriage goals they shared with us a change they made recently. They told us that they started to make time for themselves, as a couple. Once a week they left their kids at home (they were old enough to do that now) while they went to a restaurant down the street and grabbed a drink and an appetizer and just talked. They advised us that no matter what, to make time for each other. And to keep it.
Needless to say, we weren’t successful at keeping it (in our defense we had a baby). However, we have come to realize that in order for our marriage to thrive we have to treat our time alone as sacred. Nothing (other than life-threating) can alter our plans. Like when we said “I do” our commitment to setting time aside for one another is binding. Whether we go out or stay in, our date nights will happen just like everything else in our home.
So going forward our plan is to have two types of date nights – one that is free and one that is monetary. The free dates are once a week for two hours. We put our phones away and talk, go on a walk, go for a car ride or catch up on a show. The kids know to not disturb us unless it’s an emergency. The other is once a month. My mom agreed to keep the kids for a few hours while we go out to a movie, a performance or dinner and drinks.
We keep it pretty simple, dating, for us, doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. We just had to do it. For about a month now, we’ve been able to hold ourselves accountable and we feel so much better doing so. Having this time together gives us something to look forward to as well as reenergizes our marriage and our life, in general. And it sounds strange, but not having to be mom and dad for a moment, helps us be better parents.
If you aren’t getting alone time, do yourself, your spouse and your kids a favor – make quality time with your husband/wife a regular thing. Which reminds me, it’s Tuesday. Our date night.
Do you have a regular date night with your spouse? What type of things do you do?