Posts Tagged ‘ time ’

“Life” – The Marriage Killer

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Remember when you first got married, and it was just the two of you? I know, it’s hard to remember the days without most of the distractions that come with kids and raising a family, but try. Remember how you were able to put time into your marriage pretty easily? I mean, you still had to be intentional, but it was easy to set date nights, and have romantic interludes at any time of the day, because it was just the two of you. If you wanted to go somewhere, you went. Wanna do something together? Let’s go do it! Yep, all that went out the door, when the kids came along.

Now some people would say “come on man, that’s just life!”, and to a point, I guess it’s true. But “life” and all the things that come with it – kids, extra jobs, meetings, school outings, dance classes, baseball practice, band camp, you name it – can be just as deadly to your marriage as a full-blown affair.

It might not be as fast an effect as an affair, but let me tell you, if you allow all those “life things” to sneak in and take over, without really even noticing it, it has just as big an impact.

Your marriage goes from “the two of us are the priority”, to “now that we have kids, we can’t be the priority right now”. And you might even convince yourselves that “it’s only for a little while”, or “when the kids are gone, we’ll pick up where we left off!”, but it’s not, and you won’t.

When all that “life stuff” starts taking over the priorities, you and your wife start what I call a “slow drift” apart from each other. Slowly but surely, “life” starts to sit in between you and your wife, and before you know it, you realize that you haven’t had sex in two weeks, and you’re crabby with each other, but you don’t really remember why, and the kids are acting out, because they’ve noticed something’s up with mom and dad, and life just seems miserable. Ever been there? I know we sure have. And you know what the cause is? Life. Plain, simple, boring, LIFE.

We have not made our marriage the priority. We have not put in the energy required, to stay close to each other. At some point we stop caring as much. We start thinking “marriage must just get like this after a while”.  Without even noticing it, we let the “what’s important needle” slowly creep from the “our marriage” mark, to the “life” mark on the gauge (so I’m a car guy, sorry). We’ve bought into the lie the world keeps telling us that says “You won’t be in love with your spouse your entire marriage!” and “After a while the romance goes away.”. We start to believe it. We start to quit trying.

I have four kids that I love DEARLY. I would lay my life down for any one of them. But they are BLACK HOLES when it comes to sucking the energy out of your marriage. They will ALWAYS need something. They will ALWAYS have an issue they need solved. But you know what? It’s OK to GET AWAY every week for a date night, even if it’s for a few hours! It’s OK to sneak away for a weekend when they get older than the “infant stage”. It doesn’t make you bad parents! It actually makes you BETTER parents, because you’ll come back recharged, closer to your spouse, and ready to face “the life stuff” again! Kids are GREAT, and family time is great, but you can’t make them the PRIORITY over your marriage! If your kids always out rank your marriage, you will NEVER have a close, intimate relationship as a married couple. It’s just not going to happen.

So next time you get home from a 10 hour day at work, and as soon as you walk in the door, you start in on the “life list” that need to be done, helping with dinner, the lawn,  washing the cars, playing with the kids – I don’t need to keep going – REMEMBERwhat you put time into, there your priorities lie.

Grab your wife’s hand, look at your ever packed calendar, and find some time – no MAKE some time, to be together. To date. To have sex. To be that life partner/lover/friend that you promised you would be, way before the “troops” showed up. Be the example that they need, to have a good marriage of their own someday. 

Don’t let “LIFE” sit between you and your wife. Kick life out, and get back over there next to your wife again. “LIFE” has been sitting there long enough.

What happened to having fun together?

Fun. You remember fun, right? Remember in the “early days” of your marriage, how you and your wife used to go catch a game, or movie, or concert, or even just hop in the car and take a road trip to wherever – whenever you wanted? Remember how you used to laugh together about the dumbest things, or sit and talk about whatever popped into your head? Now you remember right? So what happened to fun?

Life, kids, bills, sports practice, meetings, school – I’m sure you could fill in your own blanks here. Things that we convince ourselves are “more important” than having fun with our spouse. “We’ll have fun when the kids are out of the house” is a common excuse. The sad part is, by then it may be too late. 

It’s funny, if you were asked to form a list of “the top ten things that kill a marriage”, odds are “not having fun with your spouse” wouldn’t make the list. Or if it did, it wouldn’t be towards the top. But I’m here to suggest that it ranks right up there with communication, and having a good sex life. In fact, if you’re NOT having fun with your spouse, it’s going to be a lot harder to HAVE a good sex life, and good communication. Sometimes I think we pull the whole “anytime I’m having fun, I’m not being effective” crap, but we don’t’ realize that NOT making time to have fun and do things with our wives, actually HARMS our relationship. 

“What’s the big deal with having fun? Have you seen the list of things I need to get done?” Fun has a strange way of re-connecting you. It gets you away from the sometimes depressing “real life” doldrums we tend to fall into after a while. It reminds you how lucky you are to have a wife that’s as amazing, funny, and beautiful as you do. There will always be the to-do list, but this life is way more fragile then we want to admit. Wouldn’t you rather spend time with your wife, than mow the lawn anyway?

When was the last time you took a couple of days off of work, and took your wife away for the weekend? Or even just found a babysitter, and took her out for dinner and a movie? Or dinner and a walk by the river? Or dinner and a game of bowling? It doesn’t have to be Disney World or an Alaskan Cruise, it just has to be something you both enjoy, and something that let’s you forget about all the “stuff” of life for a few hours. Sometimes we live life in our normal little “rut”, day in and day out (Get up, shower, breakfast, kiss the wife/kids, go to work, come home, eat dinner, work on the “to do list”, get in a quick few words with the wife, head to bed – then repeat), that we get to feel more like roommates, then husband and wife. 

A few weeks ago my wife and I took at trip to Seattle to watch a Mariners game at Safeco Field. A friend had given us some tickets (first base line!), and we found an inexpensive hotel using a discount hotel website. We ended up learning (ok, trying to learn) the public transit system (that’s a big deal for a couple of “small town folk”), and even though we got lost, and had to ask quite a few strangers where the heck we were, or what bus number we needed to take to avoid being taking to the wrong bus to the opposite end of town from where we needed to be, we’ll never forget those memories!  It was so fun to get away by ourselves for a night, and concentrate on nothing but “us” for a change. No sippy cups, no diaper bags, no “Dad! I need to go potty!” – just my wife and I having fun together. 

It doesn’t have to be expensive! We’ve noticed that if you use hotels.com or other sites like that, you can get a very decent (clean) hotel for anywhere from $80 to $120 a night. Also, PLAN AHEAD! If you put a little aside each paycheck, it will fit right into your budget, and you don’t have to feel guilty about spending the money. Also, weekdays are normally cheaper than weekends, if that works with your schedules.

Whatever you decide to do, if it’s an overnight trip, or just a couple of hours away, MAKE SURE it’s happening, and happening regularly. We try to plan one overnight getaway per quarter, and a “date night” (or lunch, or whatever) every week. Does it always happen like we want it to? No, but we have to at least make the effort! Invest time in your marriage. Time having fun with your wife. You won’t regret it!