It’s late in the afternoon and the work to do list continues to pile up. Emails are left unanswered. The new message light is still blinking on your phone. It’s endless.
You get home after picking up the kids in time for a quick dinner, unless it’s take out, again.
You spend a little bit of time talking as a family, maybe. Unless there’s a school activity, sports practice, homework, meeting, or something else scheduled.
You collapse into bed maybe hours after your spouse, and wake up to do it all over again.
If you have kids living under your roof, I know you’ve been there. And now that we’re in the middle of summer, for many that may mean you’re with your kids even more.
Today’s family is under a tremendous amount of strain. So is marriage. With all the things vying for our attention, it’s easy to have the important slip through the cracks in order to address the immediate.
Many marriages suffer due to this strain. It’s hard to find time for each other in amongst the schedules and routines of life.
Whether you are lost when it comes to finding even a minute together with your spouse or you are looking for a bit of a spark to take the marriage to another level, here’s a few ideas to incorporate.
1. Create a schedule.
Life runs on schedules already, so why not use a bit of this in marriage. Plan weekly dates. Schedule in rendezvous during the week.
You may think this will kill the passion and spontaneity… really?
You mean that you’ve never spent any time thinking through how you’d like an encounter or date to unfold? By having something scheduled, you create room for anticipation.
2. Tell your kids your marriage is important.
Strictly speaking, your kids belong to you, it’s not the other way around. Inform your kids, better yet show your kids that your marriage is important.
Go on regular dates.
If your family is like mine, your kids are done eating quickly in order to go play, spend time at the table with your spouse after they’re done. Sure you conversations will be interrupted, but it’s a great way to connect.
3. Utilize babysitters.
If you’re lucky enough to have family close by, let the kids have a little family time while you and your spouse go out. The beauty of this option – the kids get someone new to play and interact with, while you get a break together.
It’s amazing to me the number of couples I’ve met that have not had their kids stay over night with family members or friends. Not only do you and your spouse benefit from this time, your kids do as well. They experience an expanded range of people who love and care for them. This can set a foundation for greater self-confidence and growth as they develop.
4. Create secret signals or code words.
It’s difficult to have conversations that may lead to deeper, more intimate connections when you are interrupted every five minutes by one kid tattling on the other or needing something from you for their homework or wardrobe.
This can be overcome by creating another language or codes to use with each other. This language or code should be based on whatever you would be saying to each other if given the opportunity. If this type of language is not part of your normal dialogue, then it would need to be created all together.
It could be as simple as lighting a candle that is centrally located in the home as a signal one of the parties is interested in an encounter. Whether the encounter is sexual or emotional is up to you. Or it could be as complex as learning a second language.
How cool would it be to woo your spouse in another language? And if your kids begin to understand the language, they would only discover more about the love and desire you have for your spouse. There are far worse things they probably already know about you.
Kids in the home present many obstacles to passion in marriage, but they aren’t the only reason passion wanes. By overcoming the hurdles of kids, you are faced with what else may be going on in the marriage. The kids can provide a buffer for a stale marriage. If that’s the case, more work will need to be done individually and relationally to address the other concerns.
Marriage is effort. But the things in life that require effort have more value.