I find with soon to be 5 kids in our house that sometimes our marriage gets neglected. It’s easy to do, since it doesn’t scream and whine for attention like the kids do. It doesn’t make us any money, like Glenn’s job does, so it’s easy to put the job above it. It doesn’t call to me like food or sleep does. 🙂 But I have found when I go for a while without putting effort into maintaining or building my marriage it suffers. Usually it suffers in silence. Glenn and I become more like roomates and parents than what we should be and I wonder how this happened. I assumed when I got married that marriage ran itself. Not true. It takes effort. Glenn and I have never had any major problems in our marriage, but it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. We get along pretty well most of the time and rarely argue, but apathy is the biggest killer of marriage, I have learned. So, what do we do to combat apathy and actively invest in our marriage?
1. Take time to ourselves. This can be a weekend away, which doesn’t happen often, but is happening more now than it used to. Or it can be a date night or just a few minutes at the end of a long day. We turn off the TV and put down the blackberry and talk to each other. Sometimes, I will admit, it’s easier not to do this. I am an introvert by nature and having four kids wanting my attention every minute during the day can leave me wanting to run and hide by myself at the end of the day, so I have to fight against that urge and spend time with Glenn.
2. Take time for myself. I take at least 5 minutes every day and spend time alone. That does not count going to the bathroom by myself, which I view as a basic human right and not a luxury. 🙂 I find if I take 5 minutes or more to myself everyday I am a much happier person and can be a much happier wife.
3. Buying new clothes. What? I know at first this seems like a selfish thing, but after 12 years of marriage I have learned that my husband is a visual guy. (all guys are) And he also works with a lot of very attractive woman all day long. Then he comes home to me looking like I just got out of bed with my yoga pants on. That is not good for the marriage. For many years I didn’t realize this was important but I have recently realized it’s not just something he should “get over”. I need to change. So, rather than have mommy guilt about buying myself nice looking clothes to be wearing when he comes home from work I say it’s a “marriage investment”. Honestly, it’s a win win situation. I get new clothes and make him happy at the same time. It matters.
4. Read marriage books. I told myself for many years I didn’t need to read these sorts of books because we didn’t have any major issues in our marriage. But as my grandmother used to say, ‘an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. In other words marriage maintainence is better than marriage repair. Read marriage books and work on your marriage, there is always something you could improve on.
Spending time on your marriage is the best gift you can give yourself and your kids.