Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend and week. It’s been about a week since I last posted. If you follow on instagram, you know Ryan and I were away last week in Costa Rica. It was relaxing and so great to get away.
One night while in Costa Rica we were shooting this look and per the usual, we ended up laughing hysterically. As much as shooting for the blog can be a pain, it’s something that (for the most part) we love doing together. We laugh, make jokes, create new inside (typically dirty) jokes with each other and just plain have a blast. Over the last several years, blog photo shoots has sort of become our “thing” which is why I included these photo shoot pics in a post about marriage, in case you were wondering-lol! It’s a true testament of Ryan taking interest in something that makes me happy!
For those of you married, especially those of you with children, you know how hard it can be to stay connected with your husband or wife. It isn’t hard to forget who you were as a couple before kids, even just marriage came along.
We are no experts by any means, but we have learned a lot about each other and our marriage in the almost 13 years since we said “I do.” Our marriage has been through many seasons, both wonderfully good and terribly bad. For me personally, I think it’s in those terribly bad seasons you truly learn what makes your spouse tick (in a good way), and things that need to happen from all parties to make a marriage work.
I thought it would be fun to share some things that Ryan and I do to try and stay connected to each other. I also some input from readers, which was so awesome-it certainly gave me ideas of things Ryan and I can try!
Semi regular date nights out: I know this can be tough for some. Maybe it’s because you don’t have a sitter, or maybe it’s because you just can’t bring yourself to be away from your children. We are lucky in that we have a few babysitters and two sets of parents that would be more than willing to watch our girls. If you aren’t in our boat and don’t have a babysitter, ask around to some of your parent friends, other parents at your kids’ schools, or even contact any local high schools or colleges. Guaranteed you will find a babysitter.
If your reasoning for not having date nights is the latter, let me just say this-you will survive a few hours away from your son or daughter. Your son/daughter will survive a few hours away from you. Look at other parents who do it, and we all have survived to tell about it!
If it truly is impossible to get out without your children, have a date night after they go to bed. Ryan and I do this sometimes. We will feed the girls dinner, do the bed time routine and then have our own at home date night. It could be getting take out and watching a movie, or cooking dinner together and eating/talking at the table. It’s no restaurant but it’s still an uninterrupted meal!
Day dates: Can’t get a babysitter? Maybe it’s easier for you to take off work for a day and have a day date. Grab lunch together, take a nap, catch up on your favorite show! I am off on Monday’s and Ryan works from home for a portion of the day, so we are able to use Monday’s as time for us. We may watch an episode or two of our favorite show, or run an errand together. It doesn’t have to be anything great, but it’s just us, minus the girls, and that is special to us!
Lay in bed, listen to music and talk: This was a suggestion from a reader, and I absolutely love it! We have a TV in our room, and typically when we are in there it’s on. We literally go upstairs to go to bed, get ourselves ready for bed, turn the TV on, and lay in bed watching it until we fall asleep. Talking can seem to be kept to a minimum. Imagine all of the chatting you can have if the TV is off and the music is on! I don’t know about you, but music is something that always triggers memories-something that typically leaves us in stitches when sharing them! I can’t wait to try this!
We invited God into our marriage: I am not one to preach, or tell people what to believe, but I will say our marriage has grown by leaps and bounds since attending church on a regular basis. At our lowest point in our marriage I remember my Mom telling me that we needed God in our lives and not really thinking anything of it. It took us another couple of years, but I must say I’ve seen the changes in us and our marriage since going to church, getting baptized, and praying together. It took us years to find a church we both felt comfortable with-it’s almost like shopping! I promise, there’s room for God.
Weekend’s Away: Even if it’s just for a night, even if it’s just at a hotel down the street from you, try to sneak away every once in a while. I know this can particularly be hard for some just because of jobs, logistics, not having a babysitter, or one that can spend the night. But if you are one of the lucky ones that has the overnight sitter option, a nanny, or even grandparents nearby, just do it. Again, your children will survive a night away from you!
Sometimes for us, it’s a money thing and spending money just isn’t in the budget, so my parents or Ryan’s will take the girls for the weekend. Ryan’s parents love to take the girls to the beach, and my parents love to bring the girls to their home (2 hours away). We don’t end up going anywhere, and just stay at home, but it’s just enough of a “getaway” to rejuvenate us!
Share our best part and our worst part of the day, every day: This is a little daily ritual we started with the girls several years ago. Not quite sure how it came to be, but we do this every day at dinner. We go around the table and share our best part and worst part of the day. If it was just an “eh” kind of day we say “ho hum!” While this is something we include the girls in, I always find it’s something I look forward to. Sometimes the good and the bad are things we can talk about in more detail when the girls go to bed! Ryan and I will sometimes use it as a chance to share how proud we are of each other-maybe my best part of the day was that Ryan took on a new builder for work, or his best part may be that I had a great sales day at my store and he is proud of me for that! It’s little things like that, that show us we see each other and are paying attention!
Have one night a month dedicated to your spouse: This one was from a reader, and is one that I totally love and want to add into our marriage. I’ll let her explain it, because she did better than me! “One night a month is dedicated for the other person and what your significant other likes as an individual. One night I might come home to a clean house and a bottle of my favorite wine and then on his night we might go to a sports bar and drink a pitcher of beer. It’s the little things but acknowledging that we still know the things that the other person likes as an individual vs. us as a couple is special.”
Awesome, isn’t it?! I was trying to think of things we could do for our”nights.” For me, it might be him giving Charlotte a bath even if it’s my turn, and maybe putting both of the girls to bed (we alternate), or even just surprising me with a small gift card to Target and an hour or two to myself! For him, it could be something simple like sitting with him on the couch and watching a soccer game or some other game with him. Usually when he watches one of his favorite games I go up to our room and watch TV by myself. Simply spending time with him while he watches something he enjoys can go a long way!
We do things without each other: This is one thing we have always been pretty good at (I don’t know if that’s good or bad?! LOL). We both enjoy doing stuff on our own, and think it’s important to have things or hobbies separate from each other. When he goes golfing with his friends, I notice it gives him a little pep, a little boost. Same goes for me- when I have a night out with my girlfriends it helps me as a Mom and a wife. It can be tricky to find a balance, and it can be easy to fall in the “tit for tat” trap-it’s just a matter of finding the good balance of being together but honoring your spouse and their hobbies!
Have a date night agenda: This is another contribution from a reader and I love it! She says both she and her husband make a note in their phone of things to talk about on their date night so they don’t end up talking about their kids and only their kids. She starts making notes in her phone a few days leading up to date night-a great article you read, a funny thing you saw, etc. As she said: “Date night with agenda….discussion about bucket list goal, interest in something local, a funny incident with a dog. Date night without agenda…did the toddler poop today? I can’t remember when he last pooped? Maybe it was yesterday?” HA!
DIY together: Another reader contribution, and something that could be so much fun! Knowing my husband and I though, I don’t think this is something that would end well for us (LOL), but I do think it’s such a fun idea to have a project together if it works for you!
Board game nights: I love this suggestion from a reader! There are definitely nights where after we put the girls to bed we plop ourselves down on our side of the couch and fall asleep to our TV shows. Having a board game night would be such a fun alternative to a typical night at home!
Try new things: Dinner and a movie can be easy, but a reader suggested doing things that are different and possibly out of your comfort zone-an escape room, local theater, indoor trampoline park, trivia nights. I always forget about fun things like these, but I will say every time we take the girls to do something fun we always say how fun it would be to do without them!
Hang out with friends as a couple: We have a really great group of friends in our area, and we try to do something with some of them or all of the together each weekend. We certainly aren’t the couple that has to have a packed schedule every weekend, and we do enjoy the occasional one with no plans, but we love to be with our friends. Our kids all play together, so it’s really fulfilling to be able to chat with other like minded adults! I honestly don’t know if our friends realize what an integral part they play in our marriage!
Kiss each other: This can be hard sometimes. We make it a point to give each other a kiss hello and goodbye and good night, but there are sometimes where one of us will say to the other “I don’t know when the last time was we kissed!” That’s usually a little self check to say HEY-Get it together! Things get busy, kids get in the way, but a small gesture like a kiss hello/goodbye/good night is super important to us.
So this dress I am wearing in these pictures may be just another maxi dress, or just another blog photo shoot, but for us, it’s something that keeps us connected, keeps us laughing, and keeps us involved in each other’s lives!
What are some things you do in your marriage or relationship to stay connected?!