When my husband and I were first married we really struggled to connect. We had spent so much time together prior to marriage that we thought we had each other figured out. We were young and immature and there were some fairly weighty issues we needed to work out.
It was probably the driest, brownest our grass has ever been in our marriage. But we were so passive (and clueless) back then, I don't even think we knew our marriage needed to be watered. Thirteen years later and we have grown a good deal wiser (I hope).
Having children definitely complicates matters. A Mom friend asked me recently how my husband and I prioritize our time to talk, connect, and to have intimacy. I want to assure her and you that it's not an easy task. My husband and I continue to struggle, but we know when we start feeling distant, we need to take action.
I teased in part one of this post that reconnecting when you're feeling distant isn't as hard as you might think. But it takes intention and…
Intentionality starts with establishing priorities.
My husband and I agree that our marriage is our first priority. Not our kids. Not our jobs. Not success or status. Once you have your priorities straight, it's easier to make connecting a priority, too.
When I feel that withdrawn, distant feeling I know my heart is telling me something is off. It's usually a sign that we have been putting other's needs before our marriage. Quality family time is terrific and necessary, but you need you + him time, too.
Reconnection can happen just by communicating with each other.
Many times just talking to each other is enough to bring us together. When we haven't been in the same room for more then 5 minutes, it's time to occupy the same space for a while and have a conversation (as long as it doesn't involve the kids or the schedules or homework).
There are other intentional ways you can reconnect with your spouse. Here are a few examples that have worked for us:
- Keep your kids on a steady bedtime. When our kids get into bed for the night, "date" night begins for us. Watch a movie, spend time together, or have that conversation you couldn't finish because the kids kept interrupting.
- Schedule a "leave the house" date. Call the babysitter because you need to get out! We don't do this as often as we should. Ideally once a month would be great, but at least every couple of months (or more frequent if you can do it), you should go out without the kids.
- Buy a question book! Seriously. There was a time in our marriage when we felt so disconnected we didn't even know where to begin a conversation. 201 Great Questions for Married Couples is a fun one. I remember being surprised by some of his answers. Try it! It might be fun!
- Intimacy — it's more then physical. Wink, wink! Talking honestly and sharing your feelings can be connecting, too. We all struggle with fears, insecurities, and sin issues. Intimacy happens when there is trust, vulnerability, and safety. I have experienced, in my own marriage, how intimately knowing each other's hearts (the good and the bad) can create a lasting connection and deepen your relationship with each other.
"The grass isn't greener on your friend's property; it's greener where you water it."
— a quote from Mary DeMuth's book, "Everything"