I believe the scariest times in a marriage are the times you become complacent. I have found myself settling into auto-pilot in busy seasons of our life. After 20 years of marriage it’s easy to think we have this “marriage thing” down but moments of turbulence can come out nowhere and we find ourselves not quite sure how to handle the bumps after a smooth flight for so long. Money. Sex. Children. What do those things have in common? They are three of the most common areas of conflict in a marriage.
In our home the first two have really never been an area of conflict. Even back when we were first starting out with barely enough to make it each month we rallied together and powered through those lean years. Fortunately we’ve always been very compatible in the intimacy area. But number three…that one can be a doozy.
Having kids is challenging. Parenting is challenging. Heck daily living is challenging. It’s no secret that us parents of today may overextend ourselves just a wee bit. This generation of kids are some of the most involved youth in society. Multiple kids with multiple activities. Two-income households with demanding careers. Social and volunteer commitments to stay networked. It is a lot for anyone to balance. Marriages are frequently what get put on a back burner when your plates are full and your pots boiling over.
For me personally I find that when I am in a season of not connecting with my husband everything else is escalated. That includes the parenting disagreements. It’s not just arguing about how to raise them. For the most part we are on the same page. We had many big discussions pre-marriage and before we were even ready to start our family (which I highly recommend) because we knew we had to be on the same page about the big parenting decisions. Discipline, healthcare, holidays, education.
What I find is we’re not arguing as much about the “HOW to raise them part” but the toll of not connecting makes us disagree on parenting basics we would normally work out with a simple conversation. When we’re not making time for our marriage our frustrations with our kids gets taken out on one other. I have found for me to be the best parent to our three sons I have to be the best wife to my husband. Everything works together and if one relationship is out of whack it affects all the relationships in our home.
So a little over a month ago we escaped life for a week and headed south. The trip happened because my husband had a two day meeting but we added a few extra days and used it as an excuse for a rejuvenate and recharge getaway. Five days away, child free, with the sole purpose of reconnection.
As usual it was chaos the days leading up to our escape. Soccer tourneys, football games, school projects, and life responsibilities in general. Late the night before I was regretting trying to leave this busy home this time of year. The prep didn’t seem even close to worth the reward. After a stressful sleepless night I was exhausted on our travel day but by the time we arrived I was awaken to the reality that I had a week long date with my husband of 20 years. We chose what we did and when we were going to do it every day. Uninterrupted conversations and intimacy whenever we wanted. After just a few hours away from reality I looked at my hot hubby and remembered “Wow I really do like this person. A LOT.”
As a couple we have always been committed with our time alone together and being a bit selfish with prioritizing that quality time has continual strengthen our marriage through the years. We love date nights but we had been in a busy season with our boys. We found ourselves in the rut of opting for lazy nights at home with household chaos rather than putting the focus on each other for a night out. The demands of our fall schedules had left us in a marital funk and this week was just want we needed to reignite a spark.
We started taking a week away when our now 16 year old was just a baby. As our boys have become more independent we’ve upped our week long getaways to twice a year. For us it has been the not-so-secret secret to a happy, loving, fun marriage. If you don’t have the means for a week away have your kiddos spend a few days at grandmas and enjoy a staycation. If you don’t have able or willing grandparents, swap kids with your sibling or a close friend for a weekend rendezvous with your love. PARENTS DO IT FOR YOU AND DO IT FOR THEM! You will be amazed at how refreshed and recharged you are, ready to take on more crazy fun family chaos.