Parenting can consume us, leaving little time for each other. Today, For The Family contributor Samantha Krieger shares ideas for prioritizing your relationship with your spouse.
~ Patrick and Ruth Schwenk
At church a few weeks ago, a friend asked about my new season in motherhood. She’s that friend who always takes a genuine interest in your life, along with her bubbly smile and contagious joy. She’s also years ahead of me in marriage and motherhood so I easily welcome her words.
As I explained to Beverly, I now have all four of my kids in school during the day which leaves me with an all-new season and time to fill. She responded to me with some words of wisdom that I keep thinking about and wanted to share with you too:
“Samantha, make sure you also enjoy this time with your husband. Protect your time with him, too. You haven’t had this in years…”
The crazy thing about her insight is that just a few weeks ago I was texting with an old college friend about the same thing: friendship with our husbands. It’s as if God was trying to get something across to me- pretty obviously!
A different kind of busy
Motherhood has consumed my time for many years. It always will. But now that my kids are in elementary school during the day, I have a different kind of margin I didn’t have before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m already filling the time with writing projects, substituting at my kids’ school, church ministry, coffee dates with friends, and more, but this new space gives me more flexibility.
My husband and I can schedule a lunch date together (yes, uninterrupted conversation). It almost feels like our dating days again. Mondays are his day off, so we even snuck in a quick day trip last week to go grocery shopping and eat out. It was amazing that we didn’t have to pay for childcare.
We’re in a season where we’re able to invest more deeply in our relationship. For years, we’ve longed for this in our marriage – especially not having family close by and challenges finding babysitters. Honestly, I never thought we’d be out of the newborn phase with our kids. It lasted forever. I never thought we’d have the time again as a couple. But we do now. And God gave it to us just in the nick of time.
Eventually, caffeinated cups of coffee won’t be your livelihood
If you’re reading this, all your kids are young, and you’re struggling to find that time with your spouse, just hang on a little longer. It does get better. Eventually, you may even have a child who can babysit. Eventually, you’ll be out of dirty diapers and toddler tantrums. Eventually, the daily tasks of raising small children won’t consume your marriage and caffeinated cups of coffee won’t be your livelihood. You’ll be able to get to know your spouse again.
Even if your kids are still young, you can schedule date nights, plan a weekend getaway, put the kids to bed early and watch a movie on the couch, ask the in-laws to come into town to help you, pursue your passions together, and more. When our kids were little, we did those things whenever we possibly could, and I believe it helped save our marriage.
In these last few weeks, growing in friendship with my husband has reminded me why God put us together in the first place. We’ve laughed, worked on projects together, I’ve helped him with work demands, and we’ve felt like a team again. This doesn’t mean we don’t get on each other’s’ nerves or fight sometimes – all couples do- but we’re growing in our relationship and that’s what matters. We’re able to better prioritize us.
The Greatest Gift
It’s been such a joy to remember we’re not only lovers but friends too. There’s no greater joy than shared joys.
As your kids grow older, I’ll pass on the same wisdom my friend Beverly did to me. With the time you’re given, don’t neglect your spouse. If you’re not great friends right now, become good friends. Start today. We all go through seasons where we have to make adjustments and work through challenges.
Friendship with your spouse is one of the greatest gifts you can give one another and your children.
Want more ideas for loving your spouse with kids in the house? Check out For Better or For Kids by Patrick and Ruth Schwenk.