As a homeschooling mom I am often left exhausted at the end of the day. There are times that I find not only do I not have time or energy left for myself but I don’t have time left for my husband either. Days like that are very hard on us. I always feel like I’m missing out on something very important.
We’ve discussed on this site about making sure we take “me time”. It’s so important that we have a way to unwind and reenergize so that we can be ready to face a new day, new problems, new stresses and new joys. I have found, though, that it is also so important to have time with my husband or “us time”.
Given my husband’s job (he is an undercover police officer) and the fact that we have 9 children, sometimes “us time” is very hard to come by. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to find even a few minutes to spend together. But we have both found that when we make that time for each other we are able to unwind easier, we can handle our problems more efficiently and we are happier.
We don’t live near family. In fact the nearest family lives 13 hours away from us. We’ve never had someone who could come over to our house to watch the kids so we could go out. In the earlier years when we couldn’t afford a babysitter and didn’t have children who could stay at home and watch the rest of the kids we didn’t do much of anything really. When we finally did have a child who was old enough to stay home and babysit we decided that our time had come to “reconnect”. We started having dates again. Sounds simple enough but really coordinating was and still is hard sometimes. But we have found that it helps not only our marriage but our family life in general. The kids love to see us getting ready for a date. The middle girls will giggle that “Mama is going on a date with Daddy!”
So why bring up dating your spouse on a homeschooling website? I guess I think that because homeschooling encompasses so much more than reading, writing and math dating can be a very educational experience. Of course, more than that it helps provide stability in our family life and it provide our children with a wonderful example of how a relationship can work and how wonderful it can be. When Mama and Daddy are happy that helps the whole family be happy!
So how do you start dating your spouse? Some of us have been married for so long we may have forgotten! Mike and I have been married for almost 19 years. Some days it seems like just yesterday that we were in high school dating and other days it seems so long ago that we first went out. It can take a little practice to get back into the swing of dating. You don’t have to spend money to date or have fun. You can if you want, but it’s not necessary. The most important thing to remember is that it makes you happy to be together. What you are doing is secondary to the fact that you are together and you are making your marriage (and your family!) stronger.
First, make dating a priority. It’s important to have “me time” and it’s important to make sure your children have the attention they need. But make sure your spouse is a priority too.
Second, ask your spouse out formally. I can remember those butterflies I felt as a 15 year old girl when Mike asked me out to the movies. When he calls and asks me if I’d like to go out on a particular night now it brings back those memories. It makes me feel important and special. Likewise, he enjoys when I call and ask him out for a date!
Third is to be creative! Don’t do the same old things every single time. Remember how excited you were to try new things when you weren’t married? It’s just as fun when you are married to try new adventures!
Fourth, when you are on your date, make sure you take time to both talk and to listen. Reconnecting is key and sharing what’s going on in your lives is important. You want to be heard but your spouse does too. Sometimes we learn the best things when we just sit quietly and listen.
Fifth, don’t talk about problems on your date. Some will say not to talk about the kids but I just think there’s no way not to sometimes. For me as a stay-at-home mom my life is my kids. The funny things that happen are the things I want to share. I try not to talk all night about the kids but on our date we definitely talk about our children. However, we don’t talk about problems. We try our hardest to focus on the good things that are happening in our lives.
Sixth, be on your best behavior and use your manners. In marriage we tend to get lax with each other and sometimes it’s nice to have our chair pulled out for us or to say extra pleases and thank yous. Imagine how much you enjoy it and chances are your spouse likes to be treated in the same manner.
Seventh, if possible, do something romantic. If not, that’s ok too. Just be open to trying to rekindle that romance.
Eighth, hold hands. Nothing brings you so close like holding hands. It’s such a simple act but it shows a familiarity and closeness. I love the sight of my hand dwarfed inside my husbands. I am always aware of how our hands fit so perfectly together.
Finally, have fun! Your date is meant to strengthen your bond. Laughter and joy is the best way to accomplish this. You’ll have new memories on which to draw later in life. Laughing together helps you remember why you fell in love in the first place.
I hope that if you don’t already do it that you will consider asking your spouse to go on a date. If you start dating again you will benefit in every aspect of your life. I know because I regularly go on dates with this man I call my husband. We have the time of our lives!
When Michelle isn’t out holding hands and acting like love-struck teenager with her husband she can be found blogging about their lives at Pass The Flu Bug Please.
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