Even though the relationship with your spouse is the most important, it almost always takes a backseat to the never-ending tasks of parenting.Our kids expect a lot, and whether you're working all day or you're taking care of the littles at home all day, getting drained is the name of the game in this stage of life.
1. Text UpdatesHow did our parents do it?! We are so lucky that we have pretty much nonstop communication, and no matter what, you can always send a quick text to let your spouse know they're thinking about you. Giving them updates during the day (whether things are going great or you're a wreck) helps you to know that they're in your corner, and lets them know you're thinking about them! It only takes a few seconds, but it makes all the difference! Plus, now that we can communicate through memes, the conversations are straight gold. ;)
2. Take InventoryMy husband and I do this every now and then, and I think that it makes all the difference for the tone that we set in our relationship that translates to the vibe in our home. We talk about things that we feel we've been struggling with, whether it's emotionally or task-related things during the day, and how we are doing as a couple. We talk about the give/take between the two of us and how to make sure we're helping each other out as much as possible given our changing and demanding schedules.
3. LaughThis is a make or break for me, because one of the reasons I married my husband was because he is absolutely hilarious. There is a noticeable difference in our relationship when we don't laugh as often. It can be as easy as watching a show that you know will make the two of you crack up, but can also translate to not taking ourselves too seriously. I find that the more I try to laugh at things, not take comments too personally, and dish and take (all in good fun), the more I smile and the more at ease I feel around my spouse!
4. DatesNo brainer? Yeah, but also sort of impossible if you don't make it a priority. This is especially hard when you don't have family close by and you're trying to fit it into the budget to pay for a sitter and a date and not wanting to die because scheduling it all is a full-time job. But setting aside even just one day/night during the week where you take a couple of hours and do something the two of you like to do WITHOUT the kids is a game changer and a lifesaver in your relationship. Do yourself a favor and go somewhere you wouldn't want to take the kids like a nice restaurant or a painting class, and try your best to just catch up as spouses and friends instead of focusing on the kids.
5. Love NotesSomething that I did a TON when my husband and I were first married, but have sort of stopped doing as often, was leave him notes around the house, in his car, in his work bag, or even on his pillow. There is something so special about the gesture of taking the time to write something down and set it somewhere you know they'll see it that goes way beyond sending a text or saying it in person. Plus, when you randomly find a stash of letters in your husband's desk because he kept them all sort of makes your heart melt and you want to die of happiness.
6. "I Love You"Man, this is an oldie but a goodie. You can never say this enough. Whether you text it to him in the morning when you are getting breakfast done with the kids, take a minute to call him during his lunch break, or you meet him at the door when he gets home to tell him, say it A LOT! This is something that reaffirms your relationship and reminds you that despite the craziness and stress that happens during both of your days, you have the thing that matters most.
7. Kiss and HugThere is a study that came out recently talking about the 7-second kiss and how that is the minimum amount of time you need to kiss each other in order to feel connected. Make that happen, mama! There's also tons of emotional and health benefits that come from physical contact like holding hands, hugs, and back rubs. Make sure you're showing your spouse you care about them and you're attracted to them and you need their intimate attention the same way you need their emotional attention.
8. Happy PlaceThis is super important for busy parents (is there any other kind?) or families where one parent travels regularly, or even when getting a sitter isn't always an option for you to take a time-out from the kids. Finding a place in your home where the two of you love to unwind together is not only fun but it makes hanging out more meaningful. Whether you have a firepit in the backyard where you can chill after the kids go to bed, or you cuddle up in bed and watch a movie with some ice cream, just make your relationship a priority when you're in one of your happy places.
9. Me Time VS. Us TimeThis is a tough one, because when you finally have your other half back with you after being apart all day, sometimes the default is to shutdown and go into hermit mode. Especially when you're a SAHM and you've been dodging questions and requests all day until daddy comes home and you are begging for some alone time. Do your best to work together to give each other some ME time while the kids are still awake, and then after bed make it all about US time. Now that you've both had some time to chill and decompress after the day, you have more energy and emotion to invest into your relationship with your spouse.
10. Go to Bed Together
Now, for our family this isn't always an option, because my husband or I will be working late, or need to be up early the next day. But as often as you, can you should go to bed together. This is a great way to acknowledge that you're more than just roommates, but you are partners that are closing down the house together after a long day of doing your best! Plus, getting to bed together often leads to things getting comfortable and intimate, which we. all. need.