happy marriage

Connecting with your spouse after kids

Whether you have one child or more, you may have noticed that once you become a parent, it’s difficult to find time to spend with your husband.  Your lives are filled with everything from crying kids and dirty diapers to a houseful of teenagers looking for something to eat.  And when we do have time once the kids are in bed, we are too exhausted to connect!  If you’re like me, I consider myself lucky to have these crazy moments with the kids.  However, it’s easy to lose ourselves as a couple, when we have so many constant distractions.

As we look for ways to connect with our spouse, we should consider that these connects are going to look and feel much different than they did before kids.  Before kids, we were spontaneous and carefree. We could come and go as we please without having to worry about who was (or wasn’t) going to be at our house when we get home. After kids, everything has to be planned out and coordinated and that can take some of fun out of it.  The point is, we need to go with the flow, and take advantage of every opportunity.

No Talking about the Kids!

One of the things that we quickly realized is that when there are moments that we do get alone, what do we talk about?  THE KIDS!  As a young parent, there were so many times that I spent planning a romantic night out (or in) with my husband.  I would look forward to it for weeks, arrange for the kids to have a sitter or go to grandmas.  I would get all dressed up like I did when we were dating and at dinner all we did was talk about is the kids!

After a while, we started to get frustrated with ourselves. During our moments that were intended to be about us, the kids still seemed to be there!   We finally got so tired of it, we implemented a ‘no talking about kid’s policy’ on dates.  Yes, we literally came to agreement that on date nights or planned activities together, we were not allowed to talk about the kids at all!  In the beginning, work-talk was allowed. Eventually we also put a limit on the amount of conversations we have about work.  Honestly, at first, it was extremely difficult; which was really upsetting for me.  But it challenged me to prepare for our dates, and think about what we could talk about outside of those two subjects.

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Growing as a Couple

Implementing our rule about not talking about the kids and work on dates forced us to talk about ourselves.  This is important because as we grow as individuals and as parents, it’s important to grow as a couple as well.  I have heard many stories of parents who get divorced once all the kids have left the house, because they no longer know each other.  They spent so much time investing in their kids that they forgot to invest in each other and grow together.

My husband and I have been married for 15 years.  During that 15-year period we have never lived alone, as we were an instant family with my step-daughter who was 6 when we got married.   Having this experience showed us, even as a young married couple, the importance of taking time for each other.  Over our 15-year period there have been times where I feel like I know my husband so well.  Other times, as we both evolve as individuals, I felt as if I didn’t know him at all.  This is completely normal when you are in a relationship for such a long period of time.  The important part is that we take the time to reconnect and get to know each other again.

How we Stay Connected

Staying connected isn’t always easy, especially with kids!  My husband and I have had to get creative about how we spend time together. Through this we have found new ways to have fun together that never would have crossed our minds 5 or 10 years ago.  Creating new experiences together, instead of just doing that same things over and over, help us build new bonds and create new trust in our relationship. Since being married we started hiking, skiing, golfing, learned how to paddle board, etc.

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We also have started walking to dinner when we have the chance, instead of just driving.  Not only do we get exercise, we get some time to talk.  And, yes, we still have the ‘no talking about kids’ rule.  It’s not strictly enforced these days, however, it’s easy for us to recognize when the kid talk needs to stop and the us talk needs to start!

If you aren’t sure what you can do to spark the connection, think of something you have always wanted to do, but never had the chance. Now, plan to do it with your husband!  Dinners are nice, of course, and you should have those as well.  However, experiencing a new activity together is fun, and it makes you feel like you did when you were dating, and just learning about each other! So if you aren’t doing it now, make sure you are taking the time to spend with your husband.  Try implementing the ‘no talking about kids rule’ during your time together and see how it goes!

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