Relaxing is Vital To A Marriage
In my marriage, there are two couples. The first couple is the one I see more often. They are the efficient team that raises kids, manages a household, and juggles a busy calendar. They are partners who each have a vital role to play, though they sometimes operate independently. The second couple is one we have to book time with in advance. But when we do, it’s worth it. They are really fun and spontaneous! They laugh at satirical comedy and sleep in til nine.
It is difficult to relax enough to be this couple, especially for me. My marriage is usually the last thing I tend to on an average day. When the kids go to bed, it is hard for me to turn my brain off and just be with my husband. My first instinct is to attack my to-do list: put away dishes, fold laundry, etc. Sometimes at the end of the day, if and when everything on the list is done, we are both too tired] to really engaging with one another. We end up vegging out in front of a T.V. show, or worse, my husband watches T.V. while I work on my to-do list or check my social media. .
We are not present with each other because all we have to give to one another are the leftovers of our mental and physical energy. In order to give each other our best, it is necessary to carve out time that is just for your marriage. It MUST be a priority. Periodically RECHARGING your marriage is essential.
You need Mommy-Daddy Time
My husband and I recently took our first trip without the kiddos since the birth of our daughter in June. A close friend of ours got married in North Carolina this month, and we decided to make the trip a mini vacation for just the two of us – “Mommy-Daddy Time,” as we call it. It was much needed. Finding alone time as a couple is hard to do when raising little ones, and is often limited to the space between their bedtime and ours.
The drive was long, about 13 hours including stops for gas and food, and the time at our destination was short, but it was just what we needed. We stayed in Wilmington, North Carolina. It was a perfect place for us, with activities that satisfied both of our vacation needs. I read on the beach while my husband taught himself to surf. We ate amazing food and drank really good bourbon. We toured Wilmington’s historic downtown. It was wonderful and refreshing to get a chance to just be ourselves. No kids, no jobs, no chores. Just a couple spending time together.
Even the drive was restorative. The time alone that we had looked forward to for months offered us space to leave behind our worries about kids, finances, and upcoming plans. We put away the “business” side of our relationship and were able to focus on each other. We came back from our trip physically exhausted, but revitalized in our connection with each other.
How To Make It Happen
Decide together what each of you needs from each other regarding quality time alone. Some couples I know haven’t been on vacation alone for 30+ years. It works for them. Maybe their daily schedule allows for more time together. In my marriage, our goal is to have a one or two nights for ourselves each month. That is what works for us.
Of course, in each season of life, the time you can carve out for your spouse may vary. In the first weeks with a newborn or if you have several little ones at home, an hour alone may be a luxury. Once your kids are a little older, you may see more flexibility in your schedule as leaving them with a babysitter is a little less stressful.
Do not feel guilty for leaving your kiddos with a trusted, responsible babysitter. Putting time and energy into your marriage is not selfish; you are doing what is necessary and best for your family unit. Your marriage is the foundation of your household. A healthy and well-tended-to marriage will make the rest of your life will seem a little easier to manage.
The most important resource for any parent is a strong support system. I know it isn’t easy but you NEED to get creative and flexible in how your plan your time. Call Grandma and Grandpa and ask them to take care of the kiddos for a few hours so you and your honey can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner together. If grandparents or other family are not close by, find a few close friends whom you would trust with your babies for a few hours.
Your marriage, like any relationship, needs to be nurtured. It needs time and space for you and your spouse to connect on a deeper level than most of our daily routines allow. Make it happen. Don’t apologize or feels guilty, and most definitely DO NOT feel like a bad parent for prioritizing your marriage. Your kids will directly benefit from their parents having a loving, healthy relationship.