Today at QCMB we will be starting something new and it is where the writers of the site will debate (more like give their opinion) on a specific topic. None of us have seen each others response and we look forward to hearing from all of our visitors on your opinion on the topic as well.
Topic: How Do You Keep Your Marriage Alive?
With a five month old as our new “housemate” my husband and I have to naviagte the ever changing waters of our marriage and finding time to connect. We have found that the time once our daughter goes to bed and then when we go to bed is important. It is the time we take to watch a show together, talk about our day or any issues, and to embrace that ”adult conversation” yes there are times when Harper is so sweet and we could keep her with us but we believe that the best gift we can give Harper is a strong partnership between the both of us so we make it a point ot carve out that daily time each night for each other.
We keep our marriage alive by spending time together every night. At least one to two hours a night with just us, usually after the kids go to bed. This is time watching our TV shows together or just talking, but we are always in the same room. We have begun to have more date nights and making those times together quality times. Ben and I have had to learn to make our marriage first in our life and work on that just as much as parenting. Intimacy in our life is different then it used to be. We have learned that it will not always be romantic with candles but we have found connection is worthwhile. Communicating is something that can be a struggle with two kids or any amount of kids in the home. We have learned that we can’t put “us” on hold while we parent, but have to learn to change and evolve as we parent.
Josh and I have been married almost 8 years and although the road has not always been easy we have always been committed. We keep our marriage alive by setting monthly date nights away without the kids. Whether a movie, dinner or just running errands, it’s just him and I. We also text A LOT. While this may seem disconnected to some, this is how we quickly say “I love you” or “I’m thinking about you” throughout the day. We also love to reminisce and often talk about how we met, our dating years, our wedding, etc. It helps us revisit those times to remind us who Heather and Josh were in the beginning and how far we’ve come. We also still like to surprise each other, it doesn’t always have to be a big gift, just something that shows the other we were thinking of them.
I know this isn’t the best picture of us, but A) it shows one of the ways we keep our marriage alive, and B) there are very few pictures of just the two of us anymore!
To explain the picture…last year we celebrated 10 years together. To celebrate the occasion, we invited all of our closest friends over for a sleepover. Yes, a sleepover! We had all kinds of good food and drinks, we prepared a “Sara and Matt” trivia game for our friends to play (boys vs. girls…I hate to say it but the boys won!). My parents kept our kids, and we enjoyed about 36 hours with some of our best friends in the world, who have been friends with us from the VERY beginning of Sara and Matt.
Some other things we do to keep our marriage alive:
1. Be honest about how you feel and what you want: This isn’t always easy, but in the end it’s easier than the alternative. Don’t be afraid to say what you want to say.
2. Avoid routine: In other words, always be prepared to “spice it up”, whether it be in the bedroom or what’s for dinner that night. Routine is the enemy of marriage, if you ask us!
3. Fight: It’s healthy. It often comes after those moments of “being honest”, but that’s okay. We deal with it, love each other, and move on. It’s better than never fighting…that just means someone isn’t saying how they feel.
4. Give each other their space: We try to remember that even though we are a partnership, we are also individuals. Whenever I want to go shopping with my BFF, Matt stays with the boys and I go. When he wants to go to his friend’s house to watch the fights, I stay home and put the boys to bed. Or even when we are both home…I like to watch daytime talk shows, he likes to play videogames. So sometimes we spend an hour or two in separate rooms. I think that’s okay, don’t you?
5. Re-design date night: Some people say to take a date night every week, every month, etc. but sometimes that’s not possible for us. Matt works 60+ hours per week, I work 3 teaching jobs, and Sunday is the only day that we are both off work. So, this past weekend we took a “babymoon” to our favorite place, Iowa City. This is the SECOND time we have gone away for more than a day since we have been parents. I think maybe we should do it a little more often, but at the same time it’s all the more meaningful when these trips are so few and far between. (Also, when we do have “date nights”, it can be as simple as renting a movie and watching it on our own couch. Since Matt goes to bed at 8:00, we never have late-night couch time!)
I guess that’s all I can think of right now……after 11 years together, I love Matt the same (and more) as I did when we were 16 year olds in high school together. Sappy, but true.
One way my husband and I keep our marriage ‘alive’ is to plan date nights on a regular basis. Itdoesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just an hour or two where we sit downto dinner without our son, and give our undivided attention to one another. Open communication is an essential part ofour relationship and being able to have alone time together is very important. In addition to the smaller date nights, wehave planned a few ‘stay-cations’ which have been a great way to regroup. We feel refreshed, without having the driveand the expense of planning a trip out of town. We recently planned a date night at Bix Bistro and stayed at the HotelBlackhawk. I loved that it felt like wewere away for the night, but if our son needed us we were only a few minutesaway. Before the trip, I was unsure of spendingmoney to stay in town, but not feeling rushed to get home allowed us to fullyrelax and enjoy our night out. I highlyrecommend a QC ‘stay-cation’ to any parent!
Now that we have a 16 month old, we have to work much harder at keeping our marriage alive. We are intentional. We have a weekly date night and I cherish those three hours together! We don’t have fancy date nights- usually dinner and window shopping for SG, but still, it’s just us. We also have a rule that on our date night we must hold hands. It may sound silly, but it’s sweet and I love it!
Another important aspect of keeping our marriage alive is communication. I’m the talker in the marriage and it’s very easy for me to tell the Huzz my likes, dislikes, if I’m upset, etc. He’s a listener by nature, not a talker, so he’s learned to communicate with me more. And I’m learning to listen.
Another key to keeping our marriage alive is that I try to build up my man at all times. I’ve committed to NEVER talk negatively about him, in public or in private. I want to be the crown of my husband and let everyone know how wonderful he is. And when we have problems we deal with it privately. Between just the two of us. I think loving and respecting the Huzz has done wonders for our marriage.
Lastly, the glue that holds us together is our shared faith in Jesus. Without that, our marriage would be a pale shadow of what it is.
Marriage is HARD WORK! I feel like my marriage is sometimes my best and worst relationship. Who, but my husband, sees me at my most amazing and my most vulnerable? Keeping our marriage alive requires creativity. We’ve come across a lot of challenges in our 8 years of marriage. Our first 16 months of marriage we didn’t live together…in fact, we didn’t live together until Jake returned from Afghanistan (the first time!) Both on his 04-05 and 10-11 deployments overseas, we had to be creative in keeping the “spark” in our marriage. We used Skype to be able to communicate as often as possible, and we tried to let each other know through snail mail and email how important and special we are to each other. Jake also utilized online shopping and was sure to send me some very fun flower bouqets!
It also requires communication. And sometimes, you’ve got to be creative about communication, too. With my husband working third shift, and me working first shift, the evenings in our home is when we get to spend the most time together. It’s also mass chaos with playing, dinner, bathtimes, and bedtimes. By the time the kids go down, after working all day, sometimes I just want to sit, veg out and not speak to my husband. But this time is also very important, sometimes, to devote to communication. We can use this time, before he goes to work, and before I settle in to bed for the night, to talk and listen to each other about what’s going on in each other’s lives and important things we need to discuss. After just coming off of a fabulous week-long vacation (sans kids!) with my hubby, I would also say, if it’s possible, take a kids-free vacation with your husband. Even if it’s just over night, those quiet moments to yourself (to use the restroom with no one barging in on you!) or a romantic dinner with your husband to get back to “together,” sometimes a kids-free vacation is a necessity. If you can’t get away for the night on an out-of-town vacation, see if a friend or relative would allow for a sleep over at their house. Stay “in” with your spouse and relish the quiet of your home!
For us, keeping our marriage alive is pretty simple. We might be in the minority on this but we don’t schedule date nights or pencil in “just us” time or anything like that. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do those things from time to time either. For us spending an evening working on a home improvement project or shopping at Home Depot is just as fun (if not more fun) as going out to dinner and a movie. I always tell my husband that he’s lucky because I’m not the type of girl who needs to get flowers, or be taken on romantic date nights. I’m pretty low-maintenance like that. But, we spend the majority of our time together as a family and before Brody came along, we were the same way…always together. It is something we both cherish about our relationship and I think because it is so important to both of us that we be that way, we both feel fulfilled. If I had to pick one thing that I think really keeps the spark in our marriage though, it would be laughter. We truly laugh together Every. Single. Day. And for anyone that knows us personally, I’m sure they would tell you that Jeff and I are very silly and ok, I admit…immature together. But being that way helps us maintain a playful and fun mood, and I really think that’s what keeps us so close. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and that’s a personality trait that we both share. So in turn, we end up having several spontaneous silly evenings together, and for us…that’s enough.