Finding Time to be a Wife

In response to my post, "Working makes me a better Mom,"  Ness left an insightful comment and ended with "Some days I do wonder though where I’m supposed to find the time to be “the wife”…"

I will readily admit that this is something I have also grappled with since we had children. It's so easy to our children to become our everything, but if we don't keep our marriage strong, what will we have once our children are grown and gone?

Many people disagree and argue with this thought, but I truly believe keeping my marriage strong (and therefore finding time for it and sometimes putting it before my children) is vital.  Not only for Mike and I's emotional well-being, but also for our kids.  I want them to have the stability and the security that comes from parents with a strong relationship.

For the first six months after our twin girls were born, I completely put my marriage on autopilot.  I had to.  I was in survival mode.  I was barely sleeping, trying to work two part-time jobs, and the primary caregiver for 3 children 2 and under.  To say that it was a difficult time, is an understatement.

In June, I watched the movie Fireproof and in the movie it quickly became apparent how quickly and easily a relationship can fall apart.  I ordered the book, The Love Dare, that is used in the movie and began to take a few minutes each day to read it.  This jump-started the process for me to re-kindle my marriage.

I've only been working on this process for around 7 months, but here are the tips and tricks I've discovered for carving out quality time with my special someone.

1. Date night - We all make excuses for why we can't have a date night.  We can't find a sitter.  We don't trust the sitter.  The sitter is too expensive.  A date is too expensive.  Let's just say that finding a reliable sitter and paying for a date night at least once every two weeks is a lot cheaper (and healthier for your children) than hiring a divorce attorney will be.  As a couple, you need this time, just the two of you, to remember why you fell in love with each other in the first place.

2. Early Bedtimes - My kids are all in bed by 7:30 every night.  This isn't just for their health, it is for the health of my marriage.  Mike and I need that time together each night after the kids are in bed to reconnect, share our day, eat dinner, and relax.  We also make it a point to go to bed together every night.  Sure, many nights we read in bed, but we at least crawl beneath the sheets at the same time every evening.  Some of our best conversations are held as we prepare for bed.

3. Communication - This seems like a no brainer, but you have to continue to communicate with your spouse.  And not just about what the kids are having for dinner or who needs to pick the little guy up from preschool.  Real conversation and communication is critical to keeping your marriage healthy.  One way that Mike and I stay in contact is to talk throughout the day via email/text message.

4. Weekend getaways - I'll admit that this can be a more challenging one, especially if you don't live near relatives, however, you can still make it happen.  I've set a goal for Mike and I to spend two weekends away, sans kiddos, each year.  I'm not sure that this will always happen, but it's a goal.  Our anniversary is on Valentine's Day so I'm shooting for an anniversary trip and then another trip in July, around my birthday.  A trip doesn't have to mean an airplane across the country (although that is certainly great too) but staying 4 blocks away at the Days Inn while someone else is home with your children for two nights can be just as refreshing.

5.  Making time with your spouse a priority - Oftentimes, I think we become so wrapped up in our day-to-day life that we just assume that our significant other will be there.  We don't cherish them.  We don't take the time to give them a random hug or kiss because we need to clean up after dinner and change a diaper.  Simply by calling to the forefront how you treat and communicate with your spouse, and remembering to do those little things that you used to do when you first fell in love, you can make your partner a higher priority, and as a result, strengthen your marriage.

How do you find time to be a wife in the midst of raising small children?  What tips and tricks have you found that have strengthen your marriage?

Jamie blogs about life and motherhood at her blog Sticky Feet: Part Deux.

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