These are the results of a very unscientific poll of couples (mostly moms) on the question,
“How do you build up and strengthen your relationship as a couple
when you’re so busy with small children?”
I asked seven or eight moms to share. Here are their answers.
Lisa (mother of 11, aged 17 to 1):
- Fun way to do this is to take a quick errand together; I don’t HAVE to go, but sometimes choose to so we can talk without interruption.
- Sometimes I set a different table for my husband and I — apart from where the children are eating so we can talk *by ourselves*
- My husband makes it a priority for us to get out regularly. We hardly ever do anything fancy or expensive; it’s just fun to get away, to make use of a peaceful car ride, to have fun together.
Shoulder to Shoulder time
- My husband likes this!!! Sometimes I get a bit fidgety; seems like I should be doing something productive instead of just watching him work on the car, etc…..but he seems to value this time! (I don’t do this enough….)
Additional note from Lisa:
One evening recently I had gotten a DVD from the library and we were planning to watch it together. It turned out that he had a lot of emails that he needed to respond to that evening. I made us some tea and I typed out the emails for him which was actually fun; it was a good way to catch up on how his work is going, etc.
Carolyn (mother of 7, three of whom are older, and two of those are married. She regularly babysits for her 3 grandchildren, aged 5 and under, as well as takes care of her 4 younger children: a boy who is 9, and three girls, adopted from Liberia, who are 9, 6 and 3):
What is important? “Be unified in your beliefs and what your roles are as parents–how you’re raising your children (including discipline). “Couch Time” every day, after dinner. Regular dates. And (giggling) a sense of humor!”
Whitney (aged 21, mom of 2 under the age of 2):
“Early bedtimes for the children, so you have time together as a couple. We try to get them to bed by 8:30 p.m., then we have an hour and a half together.”
Kris (mom of 8, one in heaven, aged 21 down to 7):
“Keep short accounts. By that I mean, spend time together each day–no matter what! Even if it’s only a few minutes, to talk to each other. Drop everything when he comes home and meet him at the door. I’ve recently realized how important that is.”
Emily (aged 25, mom of 3 little girls, aged 4, 2 and baby):
(with her cute little giggle) “We write (love) notes on the whiteboard to each other! We wait until the other notices, then we wipe them off and write another one back.”
April (mom of 10, aged 18 down to 1):
What’s important? “Communication and prayer. Time every morning.” (Laughing she says, “that’s when we’re the freshest!”) “And prayer together.” (How often? Maybe every week?). “Date nights.” (How often do you do that: Every week or every other week.) “Oh, and we take walks together.”
Vijaya (mom of 3, 2 boys and a girl, under 5):
“We spend time talking a lot when they’re playing quietly. I prepare a meal for just the 2 of us to eat together, when they’re interested in something and focused on it. Or we sit on the sofa and talk (with their littlest with them, and the older off playing together) because she’s still little and doesn’t understand what we’re saying, and we can talk about anything (laughing).” She prefers to just stay home and make something special, because, “When we go out, ‘half of our minds stay home’ anyway!”
“I like to make a separate meal and make it special and nice, (gesturing with her hands how she arranges things). Or eat at a separate time. And we sit and talk. I will get a movie for the children, one that anyone could see, G, and then get one for us, and we’re enjoying doing things more together, more as buddies.”
What do you do that builds up and strengthens your marriage?