Friday, January 28, 2011

Reinventing Romance and Protecting your Marriage

This has really been on my mind lately as I’ve talked to several other adoptive parents.  ALL parents, really—but most of my group of friends that I talk with regularly have recently adopted. 

A question for you—no matter your age, how long you’ve been married, whether or not you have any children.  What creative ways have you found to ‘reinvent’ romance within your marriage in order to be sure that you’re protecting your marriage?

What’s that supposed to mean?  Well, we all know that if two people don’t ever talk, they really don’t stay friends.  If two people only know each other because they work together and the company closes, they have to find different ways to stay friends… or go their separate ways.  When a husband and wife focus only on the daily tasks and raising their children, then there will be a day when you realize that you’re strangers and your ‘company’ has closed when your children no longer need you to focus on raising them.

Not only that, but a busy life will lead to burnout.  We have 8 kids… we’re trying to avoid burnout! :)  Finding time for each parent to have some down-time to not only spend with their spouse, but also just to seek their own interests as well gives us some time to rejuvenate and be ready again to face the day after a break.

Both of those things—spending time alone with your spouse and spending time on some of your own interests—are pretty difficult to do sometimes!  Time, money, childcare, there are so many reasons that people can come up with that they don’t intentionally do these two things.  And I strongly believe that that is setting them up for failure in their marriage.

What do you intentionally do to spend time with your spouse?  What ways are you seeking some personal interests (not just “work”)?  What ways do you find that these help you and your spouse?  And what things come up to keep you from being able to do these?

I’ll share what we do in a future post, but wanted to put this one out there :)


  1. we are tired at the end of the day and fall asleep before we can talk about anything. during the day we can barely talk to each other about anything without interruption or I just cant get through because the kids are demanding his attention. but we always set the alarm a little early so we can have a few minutes alone together to snuggle up and discuss anything on our minds. We used to go out for dinner now and then but havent in awhile because where we live our choices of restraunt include the casino(30 mins away) or the place in town that isnt that great. thats it. so we dont eat out. but its much nicer to get up in the morning after snuggling and giggling and talking for half hour or hour.

  2. One thing my dh and I do is lunch out together. It is easier for us during the day when our children are at school and we don't have the expense of babysitters and lunch prices are less expensive as well. It fits well with our schedules. Wanting to hear how others manage as well.

  3. We don't have children, yet (ours are still in EE waiting for us to finish all our paperwork!) so babysitters has never been an issue for us, but money has been. The thing I've found the most helpful to our marriage has been purposely dating. By this I mean, we picked a certain day either every week, every two weeks, or every month and knew that was our time together and it was always the same so we wouldn't make other plans. We would set a budget, even if it was ZERO, so that we were each spending the same amount so there was never any hurt feelings. Then we would take turns, say this month is my turn to plan the date, and next month his turn. When it is my turn to plan it, I plan something HE would like to do, not something for me or for both us (although sometimes it worked out that way), but just for him. I found that not only do you have to be creative, especially with a zero budget :), but you have to know a person to plan a date he/she would love so it is a good way to make sure you are still getting to know your spouse :)

    Rachel Golden

  4. Well written!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Take care & God bless

  5. We have 3 kids 3 and under. My husband is a firefighter, so he works 24 hour shifts. When he's away we try to text a lot, or e-mail. We probably talk to each other more about "real" things when he's at work than when he's home! When he's home we almost always "do our own thing" right after the kids go to bed (at 8). I'll usually work on my photos, or make something, and he'll build toys (he makes wooden toys), or play an xbox game with friends. Around 11 we'll both climb into bed and watch a movie together on netflix. This has become a ritual for us, and something we both look forward to every night. Just spending that time near each other every day (except when he's at work) really helps us feel close. Half the time the movie gets totally interrupted by talking about a funny thing that happened that day, or something we need to get off our chest. But we don't care, it's not really about the movie. It's just about being together.

  6. My husband works at least six days(and on odd shifts) every week and we have six kids so it's hard to find time alone. We go grocery shopping together and leave our oldest to babysit for two hours. That's a great time to talk about family stuff. Just the things I'm buying often lead to discussions that I normally wouldn't have thought to start. Like why I am suddenly buying our son deodorent and who the girl is that he's got a crush on. About once a month we try to have a "date". We take turns planning it. We aim to plan something the way we would if we were really going out on a first or second date with someone new. You know, when you still want to impress that person;) We've done nature walks, putt-putt golf, comedy shows, picnics in the park. It's fun trying to top each other.

  7. Good question....I know we should do much more and I thank you for that encouragement. We have 9 kids, 3 with disabilities and lately the kids have been getting to bed late so thats the first thing to work to bed earlier so we guard our time together. We usually spend the last hour or so having tea and talking. We had started going for a short walk when he got home for exercise and alone time (since our oldest is 13 and able to watch over the others) but with it getting colder its not happened lately. Sitting together on the couch to talk and letting the kids know its your time is good too. We don't get on many "dates" anymore but I see more in the future with our kids getting older. Sometimes we'll let the kids all watch a movie in their room while we have a "date." I think its important to have fun a couple and as a family...something we could do more of.

  8. We have three kids and one has special needs that make it really hard to leave her with a babysitter (Sunshine's a lot to handle!). Our best way to reconnect is about once a week we have an at home date night. Once the kids are in bed we have dinner together (sometimes we order in, sometimes we just eat what the kids had) and then we'll snuggle up and watch a movie. The "rule" during that time is no phone or computer and we just focus on each other.

    Also, I have found that if I pay attention I can find lots of small moments throughout the day to connect with my husband (and he does the same thing). We send each other texts or call to see how the other is doing. I also go out of my way to stop and hug him or just hold his hand for a minute. Even in a busy day with crazy kiddos you can stop for a quick kiss! It helps a lot to feel connected so that when we do get more time together it's that much more special.

  9. I look forward to hearing what YOU do!

    I work full time, and my husband is the stay at home parent for our 3 kids (13, 5 and 1). When I get home, he's ready for a break from the little ones, so he gets a closed door and nap while I fix dinner and look at school papers. After dinner we usually sort of do our own thing until bedtime, when we crawl into bed and watch some tv together; this is when we do our talking. I know it's not enough to sustain us when the "company closes" though. I need some more ideas!

    (We did take a 5 day trip to Disneyworld a couple of years ago - WITHOUT our kids! Totally fun. But not something we can afford to do on a regular basis, obviously.)