Six years ago today, my husband got down on one knee (well, technically we both did... read the story here) and asked me to be his wife! Such a wonderful memory to celebrate every Valentine's Day. The best part is six years and one-and-a-half kids later, my husband is just as romantic as he was then. Here are a few reasons why...
Becoming a parent definitely changes the dynamic of your marriage relationship. You have less one-on-one time with your spouse, and when you do get the time it's not without its interruptions (even when you get away on a date night, there are the constant check-ins with the babysitter and such). And then, there's the whole appearance thing. As a stay-at-home mom, I've gone from having to dress up for work every day to barely making it out of my pajamas by the time Josh comes home. And of course, what used to be sweet phone calls and texts during the day have now turned into a game for Micah on how many times he can grab the phone and hang-up-on-daddy.
But just because you may have less quality time together, doesn't mean that it has to be any less romantic.
Here are a few tips on how we keep the romance alive (without getting too personal!) in our marriage now as parents.
1. Put the kids to bed early.
I would say that we actually put Micah to bed later than most. 8pm is our goal, but it usually ends up being 8:30pm by the time we get to sit down on the couch together. But the point is - we get to sit down on the couch together. We are generally done with the "demands of the day" by this point, we've eaten dinner and are ready to relax and watch a movie or just snuggle up and talk. This is my favorite time of the night with my husband and it's important for us to cherish this time together (we've even talked about pushing bedtime earlier, haha!)
2. Make date night a priority.
We are big advocates of "date night!" We are also big advocates of saving money. And we have learned that date nights are almost double the price of dinner and a movie once you have kids. Unless you can find free babysitting and then, you have it made. Since we can't always afford the luxury of having those long date night outs, we compromise and choose to do just dinner or just a movie/fun outing. It still gives us time away together and it's cheaper (on the date + the babysitting side!)
3. Be creative.
Sometimes you just have to get creative with spending time with your spouse. Whether that means lunch dates because they work a night job, or the kids get sick and your "date night-out" is turned into a "date night-in" with take-out and all (trust me, we do this A LOT and I honestly love it). The important thing is not what you do, but that you do it together. As cliche' as it sounds, it's so true. And let's face it, creativity beats conventionality every time. :)
4. Focus on the qualities you love about your spouse.
I actually find my husband so much more attractive now that he's a dad. Why? Because it just escalates all of the wonderful qualities about him that I already loved! When he makes Micah laugh, I'm that much more attracted to his sense of humor. When he carries Micah on his shoulders, I'm that much more aware of how strong he is. When he's teaching Micah how to play basketball, I'm that much more appreciative of his athletic skills. When he's praying over Micah at night, I'm that much more thankful that I married a man who loves Jesus. Focusing on the qualities that I love about my husband, while he is busy being a father, makes me feel like I've been on a date with him the whole time, even if our 1 year old son happens to be tagging along. :)
There you go, nothing mind-blowing. Just a few tips that have become second-nature for us in our relationship. I'm sure you have more, and honestly, I would love to hear them! So please, leave a comment and tell me how you keep the romance alive in your relationship (with or without kids!)
Happy Heart Day, friends!