What prevents us from nurturing our relationship with our spouse?
How often do each of us get caught up in the craziness of life to where we just turn on autopilot and cruise (with some bumps) through our days and nights just to get to the next day? It’s all too easy to get caught up in this routine, especially when finances are tight and you are just doing your best just to keep your head above water.
When you have a family, it becomes even easier for this to happen. You get up, go to work and put in your hours. After work, you pick your kids up from school or the daycare provider. Sometimes we rush the kids to a daily practice of one form or another. When you have multiple kids, it may seem like all you do is taxi them from one event to the next. When the extracurricular activities are over for the day, you may still need to go home and fix dinner. I often have other obligations added to my day as well.
When dinner time rolls around it can be as late as 7 or 8 pm. The panic sets in as you realize you have little kids who either should be in bed soon or at this exact moment. Do you make something real quick for dinner or do you just pick something up at the drive-thru? You grab some food, rush home, get everyone to sit still, and have them eat quickly.
At the beginning of your children’s bedtime routine, you realize that someone has not finished their homework. While helping your child or children get their homework finished, you catch yourself becoming impatient because you’re fatigued. Your kids are in bed 45 minutes later than they should be, but at least it’s done.
You want nothing more than to sit down to catch your breath but instead start to clean up when you notice a child is out of bed to use the restroom or because they had a nightmare. Now you are back to getting them settled into bed. Your patience is now hanging on by a thread because getting that child back to bed took another 20 minutes. By the time you walk out of their room, you are completely exhausted.
You sit down with your spouse who has also worked all day and had an equally rough day or worse. As you sit next to the love of your life, you realize that other than complaining about the events that had transpired that day, you haven’t anything to say to each other. With that, you head off to bed with a weak smile for your spouse and pass out so that you can do it all over again the next day.
What happens to you when you spread yourself too thin? What happens when you don’t take the time to nurture the relationship with your spouse? Neither of these is a good place to sit. When you get so stressed out and don’t take the time to rest or just be, you can become less tolerant with those around you, like your spouse, kids and everyone else you come into contact with. When you don’t nurture your relationship with your spouse, that relationship can begin to suffer. You may not know who it is that you fell in love with years ago. People can and do change. Sometimes the person who changed could be you.
Take the time to date your spouse
I heard somewhere that you should never stop dating your spouse. “How do you date your spouse?” I asked. Dating, in my simple little mind, was for people who hadn’t married yet. I thought you dated to find your spouse. Oh, how silly my mindset was at that time!
It makes perfect sense to me now that I am an adult. Maybe my problem was that my parents didn’t go out much. Their marriage was a great one. I could see the love and admiration in each of their eyes. I saw them sit next to each other at the dinner table and hold hands. On occasion, I saw them leave “to go out” but never heard it called a date. Being the youngest of 5 and being in a middle-class family, money was not something freely spent. My parents were very careful with how they spent their funds and for a good reason. Raising five kids is expensive. They also did a great job teaching me how to save. I benefited greatly having “old school” parents.
As a married woman with children, I see the stress adults have. I understand how important it is to be there for your kids, but also, to be there for your spouse. Both my husband and I had gone through a divorce before meeting each other. My husband and I have both experienced what can happen if a marriage isn’t nurtured for one reason or another. Going on dates has become a priority in my marriage.
Dates don’t have to be expensive. There are a lot of things that you can do that are free or inexpensive. My husband and I are usually pretty easy to entertain. There are times we just need to get out of the house, and even though we love our children with every ounce of our beings, sometimes we just need to get away from them.
- go to the movies on family night (we have local theaters that have $5 family nights on
- Monday’s and Tuesdays depending on the location)
- try a new restaurant (my husband and I love to try new cultural foods)
- take a walk together either in a park or your neighborhood
- go for a hike
- check out Groupon and look for specials in your area (this is one of my favorite ways to plan a date night)
- attend a local festival
- walk the mall together and people watch
- volunteer at a local charity (justserve.org is a great resource to find ways to serve in your area)
- take a trip to a library together or if your budget allows, go to a bookstore
- go bowling
- head over to your local mini-golf course and have a friendly or flirty competition
- drive around town and just talk and get to know each other again
- go to a park and lay on the grass and look at the stars together
- go to an Escape Room together (Groupon has great deals on these)
- during holiday seasons drive around and look at all the different decorations
- go to a thrift store and pick out outfits for each other to wear out for dinner
Other ideas for dates:
- go to a nice restaurant not just the more casual ones you tend to go to
- go to a community theater for a show
- attend a concert together
- try to recreate your first day (this could be real inexpensive depending on your first date!)
The point I want to get across is that there are many different ways to have a date. When looking for a babysitter, try working with friends. See if they would be willing to watch your kids for your date and offer to watch their kids so they can go on a date.
By dating your spouse, you can build and maintain a beautiful relationship with them. You can learn about them all over again and hopefully fall in love with them over and over again. There is so much joy in strengthening a marriage. Remember that as important as your children are, the goal is to have them move out one day and start their own lives. When you kids leave your home, you will then be alone with your spouse. Make sure you still have a relationship with them when that time comes. You can put your chores off for a night. Once you meet your children’s needs, make sure you take care of yourself.
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