What happens when you get married, have kids and sink into life?
Well, quite a few things as we know. But one of the biggest that gets overlooked is the relationship that brought this family to life in the first place.
The mama and papa.
When we started reproducing, our life took a different turn. Which it should.
Everything was about our first born. It was a huge change and one we embraced. But what we let slip away was our time together, our alone time.
We lived far away from our family, however we did have an amazing nanny, one that loved our child like her own. I know this sounds crazy, but there are angels out there in the world like her and we were so lucky to have her in our lives.
Yet, we never took advantage of it, in a good way, to go out. We found one excuse after another of why that isn’t a good idea.
Our son was 3.5 years old and we had come to a point in our relationship that we truly lost each other. And we came to the brink of almost getting a divorce.
When this whole thing was going on, and it was one of the worst times of my life, we both realized that we haven’t had a conversation about what we love and who we are and what brought us together in the first place in over twto years.
We haven’t gone out to simply get a beer and just enjoy being with one another.
And before we knew it, we have grown apart completely.
The worst part about it all, is that somehow you get into such a horrible routine, pattern, that you become completely led by autopilot, until one of you wakes up and shocks the other person by saying, ‘This isn’t working’ and the other person wakes up with such a hit on the head that it’s hard to describe.
When you marry, you don’t realize, you need to keep it going, not only for yourself and your spouse, but for the family.
If there is no more passion, love, romance, excitement between the two of you, your kids will grow up thinking this is normal. The death, even though it looks like you are alive, was a normal way to move through life.
Even though, this was one of the toughest, darkest times of my life, it had brought sooo much life to us.
Gratefully, we found each other again. And I will be honest, we fell in love more than we had before. It didn’t happen immediately, it took over two years to heal and mend. However, it truly kicked us in the ass and gave us such life to ourselves and our relationship.
We vowed that we would find time for each other.
Granted it’s not possible as much as we want, but it can happen with creativity.
Since our son was only five when we reunited, we had started to ‘take advantage’ of our nanny. And it was great.
Then we had another baby, different country, different nanny. And this time, we didn’t think twice. Leaving the boys in good hands for 2 – 3 hours every week or every other week, can do such miracles for your relationship.
However, now, with my oldest son 13 and our youngest six years old, so much changes.
Now, they can fully understand the importance of mommy-daddy time. They understand if we are happy, the family unit is tight and they are happy.
Instead of ‘taking advantage’ of hiring a babysitter, our kids can now work during this time and they are learning responsibility.
We have come up with a reward system. Money is great, however, added rewards really make a difference.
Depending on mama’s and papa’s date, the point system varies. We sit together and discuss what they feel would be the right amount.
This way, they take full responsibility.
For example, if we want to have a movie night (since we only have one TV screen in the house) we get to enjoy a movie, while the boys hang out in their room together, playing, reading or watching videos.
If we want to go out for a couple of hours for a drink or dinner, that becomes a lot more responsibility for them both, so we do that differently.
However, no matter what the actual date night is, or the rewards our kids get in the end, it’s the magic that takes place when the mama’s and papa’s bond is strong.
Our kids feel more confidence in themselves. They see that a strong relationship that TAKES WORK with your spouse is normal and healthy. The grow up to understand how relationships are rather than pretending that it’s ‘happy ever after’.
Date night is not only about the parents / partners going out for a drink it’s about building families, trust and empowering your children to grow up understanding that love takes work, as does everything else in life that is worth having and enjoying.
Are you getting plenty of together time? What are your ways of connecting?
Do your kids know that relationships need work, and it’s fun work?