Before kids, I never used to get when people said “marriage takes work” because my husband and I were so compatible our relationship used to feel effortless.
But those were the days when, just for an example, we would sleep in on Saturday morning, have breakfast together, read the paper, maybe go for a bike ride or go grocery shopping together, hit a movie, go to a home store to buy stuff to work on our house, make dinner together or maybe go out for dinner and drinks, you get the idea.
Every weekend, all weekend it was just the two of us. And what that meant was we had a lot of TIME to focus on each other, talk and connect. No wonder it felt so easy!
Now after kids, I can absolutely see how marriage does take work. Anyone else feel the same?
There are stretches of time when I feel like we are both just totally immersed in “Operation Scheumann Household.” We are a cooperative team focused on everything we need to do to take care of the kids and our household. Kids, activities, cleaning, shopping, birthday parties, organizing, work, bills, etc. etc. And unfortunately “Operation Scheumann Marriage” is often a neglected mission!
It started to bum me out last year because I really love being with my husband, a lot. But with two young children, the time we had with just the two of us started to become far and few between. At one point, there was a four month stretch between date nights. Not good!
So, this past year we really have tried to make a conscious effort to do more regular “date nights” and it has made a big difference. Just an hour and a half to put on a cute outfit and get away someplace is all it takes to feel more connected again. But even this hour and a half takes effort, planning, babysitting, etc. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.
I got to thinking that we can’t be the only ones that have to work to fit in time to devote to our marriage in parenthood, so I asked Lesley Malik, an Orange County individual and couples therapist, if she could write some helpful tips on how to work on strengthening your relationship.
I love what she wrote because they are all things that are easy to do. Here is what she wrote…
5 Tips for a Successful Relationship
by Lesley Malik, M.A. MFT
1. Be curious about your partner’s world – people who have successful relationships stay curious about their partners. Think about whether you could answer questions like: