Brian and I have been married almost two years. I know that means that we’re supposed to still be newlyweds, and like an increasing number of newlyweds these days, we have had a child for our entire marriage. (Rachael is from his first marriage.) Life is busy and it’s easy to lose our connection in the hustle and bustle of life if we don’t make time for us.
Like most couples with young children, we don’t have a lot of time to focus on our marriage unless the kids are with someone else. This was easy when we just had Rachael because she was at her mom’s house three evenings a week, so we had built in date nights. Once Henry came along, we had to work a little harder for date nights by making babysitting arrangements or maximizing our time together once the kids are in bed. (Having Brian’s parents close by and his brother and sister-in-law next door is such a blessing!)
Here are a few suggestions of things we’ve found that strengthen our bond and help us keep that lovin’ feeling.
Daily connecting time
We spend time alone together every day. Sometimes it’s after the kids are in bed. Sometimes we go to our bedroom and shut the door. However we have to work it, we connect daily. The one common theme of this time we spend together is that we touch each other. Make it a point to hug and kiss every day and take a few minutes to talk. We often ask each other, “What was your favorite part of the day?” during this time.
In between date nights (we have about two a month), we have a couple of mini-dates – one or two a week. Mini-dates are time spent doing something special together that we plan in advance so that we can look forward to it. They’re usually worked around the kids’ bedtime. You can squeeze mini-dates in anytime the kids are engaged in a safe activity where you are unlikely to be interrupted for 20-30 minutes.
I try to keep our bedroom clean and bed made and clothes put away so that our bedroom is a haven for us. A lot of times, these mini-dates take place in our bedroom so that I can turn my heart and mind toward my husband rather than my to-do list. Our back deck is also a good place for them. Just choose somewhere that you can quiet your mind and focus on each other.
A few things to do for mini-dates:
- Get a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider or sparkling grape juice and pour a couple of glasses, light a candle, and chat.
- Watch an episode of Andy Griffith on Netflix with a bowl of popcorn
- Have a special dessert to enjoy together after the kids are in bed
- Ask each other questions like you did when you were first dating
- Snuggle up outside and look at the stars
We love date night! Date night is so important because it allows time to share an experience together and have a few hours of quality time. At-home date nights don’t usually work for us, because I can’t take my mind off things that need to be done at home (even if the house is spotless), but I know they’re great for some people. Date night doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be spent together.
Check out Alison’s Almost Free Date Ideas post or the book $10 Great Dates: Connecting Love, Marriage, and Fun on a Budget.
Just Do IT
We’re going to refer to it as IT to reduce the Google traffic looking for things they won’t find on EIG. In a HEALTHY marriage, IT is powerful. A man who feels loved will move mountains to make his wife feel loved. Do it. Do it often. If you’re having trouble in the bedroom, find an appropriate person to talk to about it, like your doctor a married girlfriend. Don’t be afraid to research (and try out) products to help with physical difficulties or look for ways to make it more fun. Remember that God made our bodies, IT was His idea, and He intended for it to be fun. So have fun! In a healthy marriage, IT is a great way to keep the love alive and the connection strong!
Two good books by Christian authors on this topic are:
Solve the Problem
If you crawl into bed and suddenly you find that your husband feels like a stranger and you’ve only been coexisting for a while, FIX IT! Talk about it. Figure out when you disconnected and if there is a break that needs mending or if you just need to spend a little extra time together. Don’t stay disconnected; make it a point to reconnect.
Maintaining a relationship with Jesus both individually and as a couple is also vital to our marriage. Having spiritual conversations, reading the Bible and praying together, and ministering to others helps strengthen our marriage. Our marriage isn’t just a bond between two, but a bond of three — Brian, Amber, and Jesus. This is our most vital connection.
What are some things that you do to stay connected in your marriage? What are some ideas and resources that you can add to what I’ve suggested?