The Hubs and I celebrated eleven years of marriage last month. We, like most married couples, have been through a lot. School, jobs, homes, moving, family, and babies to name a few. Before kids, we both worked full time. We picked up some odd-end jobs to build up our savings account. Attended grad school. Bought our first home. We took a few trips. Remodeled our first home. And spent some late nights out with friends. And when we were ready to start a family? We went all in. After struggling through the pain and heartache of a miscarriage and a year of questioning whether I’d ever get pregnant again, I popped out three kids in three years. Sometimes I really wonder about God’s plans.
Going from a family of two to a family of five in three years was a huge transition.
Our life changed by leaps and bounds. I quit my job. We bought a new home. We switched churches. My husband finished grad school. And through it all, we loved on those three babies with all the love we could ooze out of our hearts.
But something else started to change . . . and not for the better.
We had trouble making time for just the two of us. We were always busy with life. Our to do list was never empty. And the kids took so much of our time and energy. Somewhere along the way, we stopped dating each other. We didn’t realize it at first because we used excuses like kids, finances, time, and energy.
Now, eleven years later, we’re faced with the fact that we haven’t spent much time together as just a couple.
We love spending time with our kids and making memories with them, but being a stay-at-home mom has exhausted me. The kids are pretty much always with me And that means I desperately need time away from them every once in awhile. I need to know I’m more than just a mom to a five-year-old, four-year-old, and two-year-old. I need to know that I’m valued for more than just wiping butts, cleaning dishes, and figuring out how to make our grocery budget work each month.
And my husband? He needs to feel valued as a husband, friend, and partner.
He needs to know that I want to spend time with him—just him—and not to ask for his help with folding laundry or fixing a leaky toilet. I need to show him that I still crave his attention and time.
And that’s what we’re working on. We’re trying to figure out creative ways to date each other. Our ideas of a fun date differ quite a bit. I simply want to eat out where someone else cooks, and I don’t have to cut up anyone’s food but my own. I want a quiet evening with no little voices of fighting or screaming. The Hubs wants a date full of adventure like visiting the shooting range or canoeing the Harpeth.
Our marriage mentors recommended we take turns deciding how to spend each date. Because it’s important to keep both of us interested in pursuing and nurturing our relationship. I don’t have any perfect answers or solutions—just encouragement to keep working at it.
A healthy, strong marriage is worth the extra work and time it takes to continue dating. Plus, it’s a great example for our kids to grow up watching. If mom and dad love each other enough to make time for their relationship, then the kids know they are in a secure, safe, and happy home. And that alone is reason enough to continue dating my spouse.