When you first met you fell head over heels. You went out to movies together. You went out to dinner together. You even went on hikes! You spent time, just the two of you, talking and dreaming and kissing. It was bliss.
And now you’re married, and little kids are hanging off of you, or a computer or a cell phone is attached to you, and it seems like the romance has died.
I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: you can never drift together; you can only ever drift apart. If you are not being intentional about staying close, you WILL drift away from each other. And one day you’ll wake up in the morning, look across the bed at the guy snoring softly beside you, and wonder: who is he? And how did I get myself into this?
You got yourself into this because you both forgot how to nurture your marriage!
Sometimes he gets too busy. But let’s be honest, ladies: a lot of the time it’s because we’re too busy, too. I received an email from a man this week wondering what to do about his wife, who has just started a business, and who cannot leave her cell phone or computer for more than twenty minutes. She won’t even look up from the screen when he talks to her. And so many of us are overly busy with work, or with kids, or with life that our husbands fall last on our priority list.
How can we make sure we don’t drift in marriage?
Here is my 4-point plan:
1. Carve out specific weekly just for “us” time
No cell phones. No computers. Just us.
You can do this at home, playing games together. You can make dinner for the kids early every Monday, and then put them in front of a movie to have Mommy and Daddy dinners together. You can decide that Saturday the kids get up on their own and you both stay in bed.
This works better if it’s a regular date–say we meet together for lunch every Tuesday, or we sleep in every Saturday, or we eat dinner late every Wednesday. Put it in your calendar! But every week you’ll know that there is a specific time that you’ll be connecting.
2. Do something special once a month
Every now and then, though (I’d say once a month), it’s important to actually feel like you’ve done something special. If money is tight you can do that at home, but it is possible to find cheap date nights on the town. Use Groupon, or go to free events at libraries or community centers.
Look around for some great deals online, or check out your community paper, and you may find that going out for a date isn’t as expensive as you think!
3. Take up a sport together
Play squash together. Go swimming together. Play tennis together. Go hiking together. My husband and I recently started bird watching together. We’re about to start Irish dancing. Find something that you enjoy doing and just do it. In fact, even if you don’t enjoy it, but he does, do it anyway! You get to spend time side by side, and most talking actually is easier side by side, when you’re doing something, than face to face.
4. Take the Kids
I know it doesn’t sound as romantic, but some of my best memories with my husband are of things that we did with the kids. It really isn’t always possible to get a baby-sitter, or to carve out time out of the house just the two of you frequently (I really think you should do it at least monthly, but you still need more outings than just that!) So if you can’t leave the kids with someone, take them along and have a great time doing something different. Plan on doing this at least one weekend a month.
Go to the zoo. Go to a museum. Go to a park. Get creative! Check out the library for upcoming library programs or community events. Just getting out of the house can do you so much good, because you do get away from the computer and other screens, and you’re able to enjoy each other more.
It’s easy to say “we’re too busy”, or “we don’t have any money”, or “we have a good marriage, and the kids need me more right now.” It is so easy to let our schedule get filled up with work, or kids’ activities. And so we let our daily routine suck the life right out of us. Don’t. Make a regular date with your spouse once a week, even if it’s at home. And then once a month get out of the house and do something special, just the two of you (okay, take the kids if you must, but make it something special). One weekend a month do something special as a family. Grab those fun moments and don’t let them go! Make memories. Don’t just live day by day, in your own routine. Add some excitement! That’s what keeps a marriage–and a family–fresh.