Posted on October 10 2016
Having kids is hard. There's really no other way to put it. It's hard. It creates struggles in every aspect of your life. Don't get me wrong, the struggling is absolutely worth it, and i understand each one to be a blessing in it's own right. That still doesn't change the fact that it's hard.
One of the biggest struggles my husband and I have faced is making sure our relationship is being tended to as much, if not more, than the relationships we have with our boys. As a parent, so much of what you do with your time involves the kids. Sometimes we get so swept up in the demands of it all, so caught up in the constant toddlerhood battles and infant milestones, that our partners stop feeling like partners anymore. The best way to combat that is to purposefully set aside time to be intimate with your significant other.
Now, being intimate doesn't necessarily mean sex. Intimacy, by definition, means "close familiarity or friendship." It means spending time with your partner on purpose and seeking out their heart. Just because you guys both watch TV together when the kids go to bed doesn't count. Intimacy requires work. It requires thought. And it requires you to turn the screens off. Don't get me wrong, I love watching movies with my husband, but there's a big difference between spending time together and occupying the same space.
Spending time together as a couple can include a pretty wide variety of things, but for the most part you can lump it all into two categories - Things to do Together at Home and Things to do for Date Night. Ah, yes, the elusive Date Night... Being a military family living on the opposite side of the country from both of our families, we don't have the luxury of dropping the boys off at Nana's to go out for the night. Date Nights for us are a pretty rare treat, so most of our intimate time falls into that second category. Here are my top three favorite ways to get in at least 20 minutes with my beau:
1. Reading together.
There is something so pure and intimate (to me, at least) about books. I am a sucker for the written word. I'm also a sucker for Harry Potter. My husband hasn't read all of the books, so I've been reading them aloud to him every night. Once the boys are asleep, we either shut ourselves in our room or go downstairs to the couch and I read him a chapter. I love it because I get to share one of my most favorite things with him, and he loves it because I do voices for literally every character. We also make it a point to talk about what I just read for a few minutes afterwards. Reading together is something so simple and it's a great way to get away from screens and just spend time together.
2. Sharing dessert.
When I was pregnant with our second, my husband and I stumbled upon what may be one of the most important culinary discoveries to mankind - Terry's dark chocolate oranges and Martinelli's sparkling apple cider are the perfect treat. Whenever the grocery shopping gets done, one of each is always picked up so that the two of us can enjoy it together. This is a great way to spend time together because, honestly, you can't be mad while you're eating dessert. So whatever you and your love's favorite special sweet is, pick some up and just sit together and enjoy it.
3. Showering together.
This is a great place to start if you're sitting here feeling like you two don't have any time to spend together. You both have to shower anyways, and it's more than likely already a part of your day-to-day. Make it a point to take a shower together and talk about your days, either what's ahead if you take morning showers or what happened if you shower at night. Showers seem to also hold some sort of magical power that inspires everyone to become extremely existential, so you might find yourselves delving into some really interesting and thought-provoking conversations.
It's only been recently that my husband and I have made it a point to do at least one, but usually two, of the above things or something similar every day. I can't even begin to explain what an enormous difference it's made in our relationship, and how being happier together and feeling closer to one another has had positive effects on just about every other aspect of our lives. As much as we love our kids and as much as we pour ourselves into them, it is so crucial that we remember that our spouses (and ourselves) need that care as well.