No one sets off to fall “out of love” with their partner. Sometimes, though, as careers and finances and parenting and life just settle in all around us, in those spaces and cracks between us and our partner, we can feel less than loving. It can be hard to remember back to those first days of being in love with our partner or spouse, how our heart raced, how much we wanted to be with that person every minute, how excited we were to get married and be together!
I think you can recapture this feeling in your marriage or partnership, but all too often mothers put their spouse and their marital relationship dead last on the list of priorities. Or something that I hear many mothers speak of is this “growing apart” –wanting different ways to relax at the end of the day, different ways to want to spend the precious amount of time one may get alone whilst raising small children, and how to balance spending time as a family, together as a couple and alone….It is challenging to say the least.
I think “love”, traditionally associated with this month due to St. Valentine’s Day is a good, simple place to start in your most treasured relationship. Love can be a noun, but it also can be a verb. So in this simple month of February, how can you make this feeling of love come alive for your partner in life?
Sometimes it is the very small things, such as bringing your spouse a glass of water whilst they are working outside on a hot day. Sometimes it is the large things, supporting your partner through work situations or backing your partner up in parenting.
How else will love become a verb this month in your own home, in your own reality? Here are some random thoughts I had:
- Many fathers seem to feel “scheduling” time together is not very spontaneous (which it is not) or romantic (but it can be!) When is there time for just you and your spouse? In the early years of attachment parenting, it is very easy to get caught up in your baby’s and toddler’s needs; it is necessary. But, at the same time, you cannot put your marriage and relationship last on the list for years on end!
- I don’t think you need to escape from your baby or toddler in order to be together. Catch those moments together during nap times, have take-out and a movie to play after your little one goes to bed, steal away for intimacy in the middle of the night. Be creative with gathering those bits of time in busy family life, because your marriage is worth it.
- Physical intimacy! It is so important!
- If you are in different places as far as what you like to do together, see if you can compromise and each get to pick different things to do as a couple. How often do you just sit and talk about things that don’t involve finances, the house, the children? That is so valuable to just connect with each other.
- Think about what your spouse hears from you when he walks in the door: does he only hear you upset and complaining or nagging or does he hear how happy you are to see him, how much you missed him today, how much you love him? Do you ever thank him for the things he does do that you enjoy, that are helpful to you? Can you be cheerful and tell him the good things that happen during the day as well as the sorrows?
- Do you try to be attractive for yourself and for him as well? Yes, I know that sounds so old-fashioned, but I think that is part of my job as a wife to be clean and attractive to him. I also like to try to pick up the house before my husband gets home, so he is not coming home to a sea of chair forts with blankets everywhere. I try to have a warm dinner ready so we can eat together as a family. When you have small children, these seemingly basic things can be so challenging in themselves, but I think it is of worth to work on them as your children grow.
For simple February, love really is all you need. Make it a verb and see what you can do to grow together. Twenty years from now your children will be gone, and you want to have a loving relationship through all those years and beyond. Simplicity means picking priorities, and this really should be one of them!
Simple times this month,