I never really realized how many ways my marriage would change after having kids. Sure, kids add loads of love to the mix, but our schedules also got busier, personal space became a thing of the past, and the death of date night was suddenly inevitable. In the six years since we've said our vows, life has become more hectic than ever — my husband and I now do our best to balance his demanding work hours and high-stress job, my freelance work, two young kids, a mortgage, car payments, and the never-ending housework. Nevermind the cost of a babysitter.
Sure, kids add loads of love to the mix, but our schedules also got busier, personal space became a thing of the past, and the death of date night was suddenly inevitable.
And while I sometimes long for the simple beginning when we had all the time in the world to focus on our relationship, I'm so happy with our little family. And luckily, my husband and I have figured out that we don't need a romantic evening out to find ways to connect. It just takes a little planning and creativity.
So to keep the demands of everyday life from making our relationship feel less like a passionate love affair and more like two roommates who share a space (but rarely a meal together), my husband and I find ways to connect at home on a regular basis. I'll wake up in the morning to an "I love you" scribbled on a sticky note next to the coffee pot. The simple gesture from my partner prompts me to send text messages throughout the day just to let him know I'm thinking of him.
Or, a few days a week, we try to carve out time to cook together (even if we can't eat together). Usually this means my husband will be in charge of the grill and I'll whip up a side dish. It's even more fun if we are hosting a few friends or family members; it gives us a chance to plan what we'll be serving and work together as a team.
We also began to notice that our phones were taking up a lot of time when we could be hanging out. So we've made an effort to put down our phones when it's just the two of us.
Did I mention the sex? It's an unspoken agreement in our relationship that we never let more than a couple days go by without locking our bedroom door. We also squeeze in any chance for a good old fashion make-out session. Connecting physically always makes us feel closer to one another.
It may take a little more thought and creativity for my husband and I to connect than it did before kids, but it's so worth it.
We also made a point to create a space at home beyond the bedroom where my husband and I can hang out once the kids are down for the night. For us, this meant we built a fire-pit in the backyard. We're able to sneak out with a glass of wine and sit by the fire in the cool evenings and chat about our day.
Lastly, we've discovered that setting mini goals as a couple really helps us stay connected. This can be anything from a financial goal to running a race together or taking a future vacation. It gives us something to work towards and we enjoy cheering each other on as we reach for our dreams.
It may take a little more thought and creativity for my husband and I to connect than it did before kids, but it's so worth it — because it's a reminder of why I'm so in love with the man I married.