It’s one of those nights. It’s been a super long day, juggling kids, dental appointments, recitals, people whining (your kids…or just you), and missed naptimes, and by the time you and your spouse finally drop to the couch at the end of the night. You are tired, silent, trying to unwind. Even though you do your best to stay connected with your spouse throughout the days and weeks of parenthood, you are weighed down with responsibilities of your own. Your lives are centered on these precious little beings that you have brought into the world and your time and energy are dictated by pick-up/drop-off, bedtimes, cleanup, homework, chores, dinner, and bath time. It’s hard to manage conversation by the time the last kid finally stops coming down the stairs for yet another glass of water. You may feel like you have nothing left to give sometimes. To yourself, to each other. You do the day in and day out and life can get repetitive, and love can get…well, just plain mundane.
Is it anyone’s fault? Does this mean that there’s something wrong with you, with your spouse, or your relationship? It happens to us all – even in the best relationships and marriages. Don’t fret! Know that this is completely normal. You are only human after all! Even if are in a good place with your spouse, going above and beyond for your relationship in the good times will make you even stronger when hard times come!!! And they will!
I know what you’re thinking. How on earth do we do that as parents…especially parents of littles? I can only speak for myself here (though I’m fairly certain you can relate). Sometimes the last thing I can think of is doing something nice for my husband after a long day taking care of our children. Can’t a girl just have some quiet – to make dinner in peace with a glass of wine, or just do nothing for 2 minutes? Or better – have the hubby make dinner (because he actually loves to cook) and the kids just play happily, by themselves? Yeah, we’re not there yet. Our kids are too young.
But there must be something that we can do to “rekindle the flame”?
My advice? Keep it small, keep it simple. I think we can all agree that we can start there? If you’re more ambitious and would like to write a book of poetry, by all means. For the rest of us, well, we’re just the normal ones who struggle to buy a thoughtful gift for an anniversary. Anyone else?! 🙂
Let’s just make this easy and focus on realistic things you can do. Then if you feel like going above and beyond and planning a romantic getaway in Aruba with your sweetie AND arrange the childcare, well then you and I need to talk!
Here are 7 simple things you can do:
- Send a kind note – text message. “I like and love you, because…” My husband had this fantastic idea and it has been so sweet. He sets a calendar reminder on his phone to send it, not entirely spur of the moment, but it works. I feel special and sometimes the text comes during a tough part of the day, just when it’s nice to hear some kind words. 🙂
- Before you go to sleep at night, tell the other person one thing you are grateful for in the other (this may be easier than remembering to send a message throughout the day).
- Find a hobby a new hobby or do something that you always used to together. Sailing, a French cooking class, or go taste some new brews at your local brewery (a favorite of ours).
- Just talk. Don’t judge me here – keep the kids occupied so you can actually have a conversation over coffee in the kitchen that doesn’t end in, “Ok, please don’t draw on your hair with markers” (true story) or “What are you doing?” Give them a toy that they haven’t played with in a while. Or….turn on the TV? Not a great solution, I know. It gets the job done though!
- Don’t forget date night! Or a date day! It sounds cliché, but getting dates in is SO important! My hubby and I really like dates during the day because we enjoy getting brunch or walking around downtown, grabbing ice cream, and walking along the lake! AND…then when the kids are in bed, we’ve already had some fun out for the day and aren’t dead-tired (which usually happens if we do go out after the kids are in bed)!
- Laugh more. Seriously. Laughter is the best medicine. My hubby and I can be so serious, sometimes, but laughing has made the difference for us. We stream Netflix for some comedy – our latest favorite is SNL reruns. Anyone have any suggestions for when we’re done with that? Otherwise, FRIENDS is our other standby. Yes, I know we need to get out more, but that’s what’s working for us now! We also enjoy checking out our local stand-up comedy bar. We always leave so energized and relieved!
- Say I love you. Say it a million times! I know people can say that it becomes old, but honestly, my hubby and I say it a lot (it’s something he started doing early in our relationship, so it’s how we end every phone conversation or before we leave home). And don’t forget a kiss too! It really has meant so much to me throughout the years. We still like each other! J
Really now, I am not a marriage expert, and not a marriage counselor. I’m a fellow young parent, only married for 7 years. We’ve had wonderful times and rough patches, as we all do. Our relationship is far from perfect. However, when we both intentionally work on it, It’s amazing what happens and how much of a difference that makes! We can tell, our kids can tell, and everyone is happier. Especially mom…
…Because, happy mom/wife/woman, happy life!! Am I right?!