On November 14, my husband and I celebrated our 9th year of marriage. This has me doing all kinds of reflecting and being sappy about my precious husband. We’re definitely out of the honeymoon phase and into the tough years are marriage. They’re tough for so many reasons, including raising two kids, a season of busy, and the new has worn off.
I believe this phase of our marriage has been the easiest thus far to completely neglect each other and focus on the two other demanding humans that live in our home. If Justin and I aren’t intentional about it, we can go days without having a conversation that doesn’t include another person. The scary thing about this is one day, in the not so distant future, the girls are going to move out, and Justin and I are going to be left with awkward silence. I’m pretty determined to avoid this at all cost. I want our season of “my kids are grown” to be a fun and exciting time for us. I think for this to happen, we have to shift our focus from our kids and their needs to each other and taking care of our relationship. While the mom guilt may be strong, I know when we take time for each other, it is better for my girls in the long run. The truth is, when Justin and I are happy and take time for each other, we’re better parents.
There are so many simple ways to make dating your spouse a priority. Here are some of our favorites.
Utilize the gym nursery
75% of the town of Lafayette is a member of Red’s or some other gym. We have found that the fee at the gym nursery is only $5-10 an hour for both of our girls. Therefore, we use the mess out of this. We often load up, head to Red’s, and check the girls into the nursery. The small fee is totally worth having time to ourselves. We often work out, then just sit and have a cup of coffee. It’s nice to have just a little time together.
Kick the kids to the playroom or their bedrooms
I recognize that this is impossible for the parents of super littles, but we’re parenting a 4 year old and a 7 year old. We send them to the playroom or the back yard, just to have a few minutes to talk about our day. Yes there are interruptions, but most days we get at least 10-15 minutes to talk about adult stuff.
Be intentional about staying up late sometimes
This one is hard for me, but important to our marriage. We have to stay up late, having a little pillow talk for a while sometimes, to actually have an adult conversation. It’s not ideal for us, but it works.
Date with a purpose
Many Saturdays, we have a ton of errands to run and stuff to do. We often ask the grandparents to watch the girls while we run errands together. Leaving the girls behind to run errands automatically makes it easier, and getting to have some alone time is a nice added bonus.
Wake up early
This one is not for me. It does not work, but some couples love it. So, wake up early, make a pot of coffee, and hang out with your spouse. Maybe one day I’ll love mornings … that day is not today.
Have a date night trade up group
Come to an agreement with your group of friends and work out a schedule trade up babysitting tasks. Once a month, the other couple babysits. This way, everybody gets a date night once a month, and you don’t have to worry about the cost of a babysitter in addition to dinner.
The bottom line is, finding alone time in the parenting years is tough, but it’s doable if you’re willing to put in the effort and make dating your spouse a priority.