Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Connecting with your spouse

I still have questions about this arena, and we've been married a while. Right now, James and I would love nothing more than to go away overnight for two nights: eat when we want, sleep when we want, talk without interruption and just basically do a whole lot of NOTHING. Because let's face it, when we'd come home (if we decided to) there'd be a whole lot of EVERYTHING to do.

We feel weekends away are crucial but it is just not a reality for us at this point in our lives. I mean I'm not blind, we've "done it to ourselves" by having more kids than is really necessary. (Yes, I did just say that I will will NEVER say who the unnecessary one/s is/are/mightbe.) The burden of asking someone to take 5 kids for a weekend is just, well, it's a lot. And we take it very seriously. That being said, we can't help but long for it because this is a season of our lives where it's not happening. We always want what we can't have. Just ask Declan (who turned 3 on Monday, had a "monkey cake!", and always, alllllways wants what he can't have).

Which brings me back to the title subject. How do you reconnect with your spouse when you have lots of children or when you maybe only have a few children but don't have reliable babysitting? And I want your feedback on this, because I want to know, too!

All too often after our kids are in bed (they are good about bedtime, everyone's down and out by 7:30 and no one makes surprise visits out to the living areas, bless them, I've scared them well) James and I just want to catch up on our favorite things and enjoy the silence. We've joked that our ears ring and almost hurt from the silence after our kids are in bed and that's really not too far from the truth. I tend to gravitate toward the computer (I know, you're shocked) and James grabs his iPod and crashes in front of the tv. We don't MAKE time to just be together, and this gets to be a problem. We miss each other, but we don't work at spending quality time together. So maybe, connecting with your spouse has a lot more to do with behaviors than it does with the knowledge of what to do to reconnect.

Some little things we do, in case you're looking for a little morsel of something from all this rambling:
1. We serve the kids supper first. Yes, they all sit down and eat around 4:50-5:00 while we run around like crazy getting refills and seconds and MORE APPLESAUCE PLEASE! Sometimes James will sit down with them and I'll do what James has named "The Negative Calorie Meal" - if I've eaten too many calories already during the day I won't eat and will just do all the running for supper. I actually burn calories during a meal and don't take a single one in. ANYWAY! We serve the kids first so that when they are done, WE can sit down together as two and eat food that's actually still hot and have a semi-decent conversation. We are able to chat entirely about the kids' days while they eat and we don't feel POed that we can't talk to each other. Win-win-win-winner on dinner!
2. We put a tv in our bedroom, and got an electric blanket for Christmas. It works for us. We're drawn to the bed because it's allllll cozy and warm, plus there's the added benefit of tv viewing, connected to our DVR so we can catch up on all the important shows. Lordie, we sound so pampered!

So there's some ideas to get the ball rolling. What do YOU do?


Allison Bonar said...

My husband and I have a date night in every Friday night. We feed the kids and put them down a little early (around 7) and then enjoy our night. We eat dinner together, usually take out, and bask in the moment of no kids around. Then we do some kind of activity. We've done movies, board games, wine and beer tasting, massages etc. We take turns planning so it gives us something to look forward to at the end of the week. It's a very simple thing, but with 3 kids under 3 we don't have enough money or babysitters to go out all the time. I thought this was a silly idea that would last a month or two, but we've been doing it for over a year now.

Kristi said...

I can relate to how you are feeling. We can't afford to pay a baby sitter and go out a lot so we have "date night" at home. No T.V.. Just us, some wine, massages, music.. Oh and we throw in some kind of decadent dessert. You can get off your diet for one little yummy piece of chocolate. Anyway, it's not always that perfect. IT doesn't happen every weekend but we try. Oh we took the t.v out of our bedroom too.

Teri said...

TV in the bedroom isn't a good thing, according to "someone" - LOL! I can't remember where I read that, but I've heard it many times. I like the idea of having a date night at home. I wasn't good at connecting with Neil so I won't give any advice ;)

Mark and Valerie Brandt said...

Tena, we just don't plain have the energy to "go out" so we enforce "Mommy and Daddy's tv night" on Thursday nights. We put the kids to bed at 7 (mostly to play until 8 or 8:30 but UPSTAIRS out of our way). Then we sometimes order out food but normally we snack in front of the tube watching our guilty pleasures tv shows from 8-10, then we facebook and talk until too late and then do it all over again the next week. It is really one of the only times we get to "be together" and it has been HARD to train the kids to leave us alone. Also, we REALLY utilize weekend quiet times when all kids have to be in their rooms sleeping or playing quietly for 90 minutes. It gives us a breather too. Mark and I just found out how much we enjoy big puzzles, but we have also listened to pod casts, enjoyed IPTV, read newspaper articles, looked through Sports Illistrated and sometimes if we are frisky....mommy daddy bath night! Oh, don't forget to kiss each other often throughout the day. That helps just to reconnect on a little level! Have fun!

Kelly said...

What about getting a babysitter to come over after the kids are in bed and then the two of you could go out for a late dinner and dessert! :)

Teresa said...

Just found this blog today. Thought it had some cute ideas for date nights.