Becoming parents changes the dynamics of your family and therefore your marriage. You are responsible for tiny humans (or even not-so-tiny humans) and your time is now split between children, spouse, housework, jobs, etc.
It happens: we let time to connect with our spouse slide. But bringing the fun back into your marriage (especially after the kids are asleep!) is incredibly important and not something that should go on the backburner until the kids are older. As humans we are constantly growing, learning, changing into different (and hopefully better) versions of ourselves.
I want to grow with my husband. I don’t want to wake up 10 years from now and not know the man I share this life with. Heck, I want to be that crazy old couple who can’t keep their hands off each other!
We are learning to be intentional with our time together. After bedtime for our daughter, we have “us time.” We try to make an hour or so of quality together time before we fall in bed exhausted.
I’ll be honest sometimes our quality time together is not really quality time. Sometimes one or both of us has work to do and we’re working away on our computers. Other times we just need time to decompress which means Netflix is on and we may be sitting near each other or on opposite couches.
We just try not to make a habit of that type of a night on repeat. When that is our every night, we get distant and that’s when we get short with each other leading to fighting more often and just overall disconnection.
I like this person! That’s why I married him. He is genuinely a great person and I love being with him. Taking time to have fun with him makes me feel more in touch with myself and more connected with him. These are a few ways we bring the fun into our marriage after our kid falls asleep:
Dinner and Drinks
My husband loves to cook. I love to make really amazing home-made margaritas (like these!) that make us both laugh a lot harder. So we like to spend time cooking together (or him cooking and I stay out of the way and get the drinks going).
There are a few things that make my husband and I feel like we are working in sync and a big one is to dream together.
When we were in college we loved to drive around and find our favorite houses and dream about the day we would own our own house. The hope for our future was so wide open. It is so easy for us to get caught up in our daily lives and forget about where we are going and why.
I own a business and something I have been told repeatedly is to set goals, create a plan to achieve those goals, track how you are doing and reward yourself when you reach them. So I started doing this with our family life as well.
At the end of 2018 we sat down and reflected on our wins and losses and what we wanted to do differently in 2019. We set specific goals, simple and complex. Fun things we need to make a priority, financial goals, dreams that we are setting in motion starting now.
We didn’t go skiing a single time in 2018, but we WILL in 2019. Actually, we already did because I wrote it down as a goal, we scheduled it in, took off work, lined up childcare and booked a hotel and lift tickets. We had a blast!
Physical intimacy is really important when it comes to staying close and connected to our spouses. Make time for it. Have fun. I don’t think I really need to go into more detail. Enjoy 😉
We are constantly searching for more two-person games! While I am typing this blog, my hubs is working on the puzzle we started last night. The trick is to keep it away from tiny exploring toddlers, so good luck unless you can start and finish a puzzle in one night.
Board games, card games, trivia; anything that can keep you interacting with each other. I have a list of questions that are thought provoking and really fun to think about. Even though my husband and I have known each other since we were 8 years old, we have learned so much about each other!
We love to work on things together. Building a shelf for my office, tearing apart something that broke, sometimes just bringing in firewood for our fireplace can make us feel like we are a team.
Talk! About ANYTHING besides work and kids
I know this sounds crazy but it’s actually kind of a challenge! Don’t just talk about what happened in your day, talk about how you felt about it (yes, that means getting men to talk about their feelings). It can be fun to ask weird questions, dig deep, or be random with your spouse!
Struggling to find activities or ideas? Make a list of things that made you fall in love in the first place. What things can you do that will help bring those attributes out? Don’t do this with a hidden intent. This is not meant to be a test. Being subtle and expecting your spouse to catch on is a dangerous game. Be in this together.
As you constantly grow and change as life happens, may you grow closer. May you push each other, support each other and love each other through the absolute craziness that is parenthood. When you emerge on the other side and your kids are gone, may you still feel as connected, hopeful and loved as you did when you first got married.
But be intentional. It is easy to put the kids first and your relationship last. Schedule in time for just you two. Before you know it years have flown by and the person you married can feel foreign. Dating your spouse has never been more important than when you are busy. Date at home, all the time.