Over breakfast earlier this week, a friend and I were talking about how the seasons of our lives are changing.
‘Cause it’s getting real, y’all.
As of today,
But this post – and my conversation with my friend – isn’t about our children. It’s actually about our relationships with our husbands.
My husband and I were married almost ten years before our older daughter was born. Once she leaves for college this fall, we’ll have two more years until our younger daughter leaves home. Combined we’ll have had twenty years with kids in our home full-time. But, depending on the Lord’s plans, we could have at least that many
As a wife, I’ve heard lots of advice about scheduling regular date nights and making sure you put your marriage relationship ahead of your kids. That all sounded good, but wasn’t always doable. Yet now that the reality of our children leaving home is here, I’m realizing how prudent that advice really is.
What I’m trying to say is that here’s what I would tell the thirty-year-old version of myself.
Let your children add to your life together, don’t let them take it over.
There are certainly times, especially during those newborn days, when your child needs so much of your focus. But those intense seasons shouldn’t stretch on for months and years.
I know I haven’t always done my best with this. I’m sure that on occasion I’ve given more attention to the kids than to him.
So if you’re in the thick of parenting little kids I get it. I’ve been there, too. And while older moms like me say that it will end one day, you’re actually wondering if it really will!
Staying connected with your husband just feels like one more thing you have to do and you don’t know how to fit that into your day.
But as often as you can, do something, no matter how small, to stay connected. Here are some ideas.
1. Pray for him.
If you know he’s dealing with a difficult customer or has an important meeting today, take a minute to pray for him. Set an alarm on your phone so you won’t forget.
2. Say one encouraging thing to him.
Thank him for taking out the trash or getting up with the baby in the middle of the night. Make a point of noticing what he does.
3. Write him a short love note or text him a thank you.
Yes, it’s a hard job being home alone with little kids every day or driving umpteen thousand miles to take them to soccer practice or being a mom who works outside the home. But it’s not like he’s on a relaxing vacation every day at his job! Make a quick connection with him during the day and let him know you love and appreciate him.
4. Find one thing to talk about that doesn’t involve the kids.
If you’re like us, many of our conversations revolve around our kids. And that’s natural. But make an effort to talk about other things that interest the two of you. It could be a sports story or a news headline or something related to his field of work.
5. Ask his advice about something. And listen to what he has to say.
My husband has so much wisdom. He often sees things through a different lens than I do. Whether it’s resolving a problem with one of our children or talking me down after a rant, it’s helpful to hear his opinion on things.
6. Respect his opinion when he gives it.
Sometimes if this is related to our kids, we may subconsciously think, “I’m the mom and I know best.” Wrong. Don’t write off his opinion. Seriously consider what he has to say.
7. Talk and dream about your future together.
This might be my favorite tip! No matter what stage you’re in, begin planning for your future. Want to attend a cooking class together? Go on a couples retreat? Take a special vacation with just the two of you? Begin anticipating what that new phase of life will look like.
We’ve never been the type to have regularly scheduled date nights. We fit them in as we could when our girls were little. And we’ve had a lifetime of fun watching them grow up, cheering them on at their basketball games, and taking them on trips.
But then one day your kids can stay home by themselves without a babysitter, and a whole new world opens up to you! Admittedly that’s about the time their ballgames and piano recitals and band concerts take over all your evenings, but at least there’s the possibility of easy date nights!
Regardless, I think we’ve made it a priority to stay connected. Now you can ask my husband – I haven’t done this perfectly by any means! But I am anticipating these years ahead when it’s just the two of us together again.
How do you stay connected with your spouse? Let me know in the comments!
I need to be more intentional re: these things. The one thing that I *do* do daily is always make sure I get tea for him, too, when I get my bubble tea after working out. We’re having a LOT of time home together these days :-/ so I guess lots of opportunity to work on this…
Being home a lot together during the day has its own set of challenges, especially at first! I think the bubble tea thing is sweet and thoughtful!!
“Its own set of challenges” indeed. 😳 This week, though, I endeavored to be unapologetically true to myself, without manifesting faux guilt for anything, so I do feel a bit later for that!
*better for that 😜
You have some great tips here! But it seems like forever until all of my children are out of the house: at least fifteen years! 🙂 We’ve discovered that we enjoy traveling, so if we’re not too old when we’re empty-nesters, maybe we’ll do some of that.
I’m sure you still feel young in 15 years!! 🙂 My husband and I enjoy traveling, too, and hope to plan more trips when our younger daughter heads off to college (though I’m guessing some of those trips will be to visit our girls!)