Q: “My husband and I want to spend more time together after the kids are in bed, but we’re both so tired and unmotivated that we end up just zoning out in front of the tv. Do you have any ideas on what we can do with our time to better connect with each other?” – Sarah D., Minnesota

Angelica: What seems like a lifetime ago, my husband and I attended our very first ‘Welcoming Baby’ hospital class. I was prepared with my list, snacks, and a gallon of water in my bag. He was trying to hold it together but I could tell that he was one live birth video away from needing a cup of juice and a walk outside. I was 35 weeks pregnant with our first child. We read all the books, watched all the videos – we did our research. We knew where the baby would sleep, what he would eat, and how we would discipline him. We were very intentional about nurturing this new life we were bringing in to the world, and had prepared to the best of our abilities.

While focusing all of our love and energy into this new little human, we allowed our relationship to take a back seat. Unintentionally, making time for each other became less of a priority.

Although we forgot nearly everything we learned in that baby class, there was one thing the teacher said that has stuck with me through the years. She said,

“Your relationship is like a broken vase that was glued together. Having children is like pouring water in that vase… it will expose all of the cracks.”

The key to relationship success during the early years of parenting is intentionality. 

When I meet with couples for the first time in session, I have them plan one night a week to spend an intentional 1 hour together. I have them take out their schedules and put it in as an appointment. We brainstorm a list of things that they can do during that time and also set a few ground rules:

  • No talking about household topics
  • Disagreements can be handled at a later time
  • Phones away

If you want to take it a step further – once per month make your weekly meeting a special date night. Put it in pen and in your schedule. Take turns planning and executing this! Some ideas that can be done in your home while the kids sleep:

  1. Indoor camping

2. Living room picnic

3. Iron chef cook off

4. Beer or wine tasting

5. Dream casting

6. Vision boards

7. Fondue

Somewhere between the baby classes and long nights, you may find yourself lacking motivation and intentionality in your relationship. The effort you put towards your birth plan, the nursery, and homemade baby food may have no resemblance to the effort you’ve been putting into your marriage. I encourage you to channel that intentionality displayed in your parenting and use it to see your marriage for what it is – arguably the most important relationship in your life. Give it the intention, effort, and preparedness that it deserves!

Ask Angelica is a new feature on Her Brilliant Life, where readers can submit questions concerning motherhood and personal development to a Mental Health Therapist.
To learn more about Angelica or to submit a question, click 
here!

 

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