It struck me at some point yesterday that I’ve been doing a good job in this stage of my life at focusing on my children, while neglecting something else. I’m buying up the time with them, always remembering that they won’t be with me always, and doing my best to be a kind, committed, patient mother. Believe it or not, even though I love them so deeply, it takes a lot of purposeful work to be a good mother!
But what of my dear husband? Am I putting in a lot of purposeful work to be a good wife? I don’t know about you, but I’m sometimes so consumed by our three children that I forget to build into the one person who will literally be by my side until the end of my life.
Yesterday this struck me. Thanks to his nursing schedule we get a lot of time together with the kids, but what of time for us? And not just grabbing dinner or a quick flick while the kids are with my parents or a babysitter. What about real, quality time where we sit and talk, enjoy each other? Unhurried? When do we get a chance to remember who we were before kids? Discover who we are becoming with kids?
It’s a problem for many (most?) married couples at this stage in their marriages. It’s called Realistic Love, when the young love stage is past, children have entered the scene and you get to know each other as Real People with Real Responsibilities and Real Challenges. The aim during this stage is not to lose each other during these crazy years of child rearing, but to grow together in Oneness.
Of course, there are a million things vying for our attention. Three children, a home, work, hobbies, family, friends, church, neighbors, books, movies. The list goes on and on and on. It takes work to stay focused on one another, and this is something I’ve resolved to take more seriously. Because if anybody makes me feel like my Real Self again, it’s Brian. And ohmygoodness, I love him so much for it.
I’ll tell you what I would love to do to maintain our Oneness: go on a cruise together! Or visit Vancouver, B.C. where we honeymooned, or get a cabin on the beach somewhere. But that will take some planning and saving, and yesterday I wanted to do something right away to grab up time with Brian.
So, on the spur of the moment last night I packed the kids up in their pajamas and we went to Sprout’s Neighborhood Market where I purchased salmon, a french bread loaf and two bottles of wine. I put the kids to bed before Brian got home from work, threw on a black strapless dress, combed through my hair, applied lipstick and scent, and threw together a fancy dinner in 15 minutes flat. When he came walking through the door I was waiting for him with the table set (on a tablecloth!), in candle light and looking much better than I usually look after the kids are put to bed. 🙂
I’m sure the first thought in his head was something like this, “!!!” In fact, the first thing he said was, “What did I do to deserve such a surprise?” Maybe he thought he was in trouble and I was going to break it to him nicely, ha!
Without kids at the table we had a great conversation, catching up on life and each other. Laughing. It was SO FUN! We both agreed that these late-night dinners after the kids are in bed should be a regular occasion. Sometimes, us grownups just need time with each other.
How about you, friends? What are some practical ways you can spend time having fun with your spouse? I’d love to hear your ideas! Thanks for reading.