There’s No Time to Fit THAT into My Marriage.
Spending quality time with your spouse on a consistent basis is easier said than done. Life is busy. If you have a full-time job, multiple kids, other family-related obligations, household responsibilities and on and on, you’re probably running around like a chicken with its head cut off from the moment your alarm sounds. Personally, most days, I don’t know if I’m coming or going. It’s a sheer miracle that I get all the “essentials” taken care of daily. If the same holds true for you, you may be thinking, there just isn’t enough time in the day for quality time with my spouse.
But the reality is, there is always time for quality time with your spouse if it’s a priority. It just may take a little effort and a little creativity. When Derrick and I had our first child, things got hectic quickly. Our daughter had a number of medical issues, so “time” to do anything other than adjust to being new parents, address Simone’s medical needs, and handle the day-to-day work and household necessities was non-existent. Things eventually settled down after our daughter recovered, and we were able to establish a monthly date weekend for quality time. Yes I said “WEEKEND.” Don’t hate! My mom– God bless her – would watch Simone from Friday evening until Sunday evening. There are no words in the English language to express how much we looked forward to that quality time together. It was an essential way we stayed connected. Now, that all seems like a distant memory.
We had our second child and everything changed. In a flash, our quality time went from one weekend per month to zero. It’s much easier to find child coverage for one child. When there are two -- actually we now have three kids -- folks aren’t as eager to lend a hand. Taking care of an infant, toddler and 7-year old is WORK, so I totally get the “um, no” responses we get for babysitting. While there are ample childcare options available in our community, Derrick and I aren’t sold on using strangers as a resource. If we can’t get family or close friends to watch our children, we watch them. Period.
So, what do we do? Quality time is an absolute must. Derrick and I made a conscious decision to fit quality time into our day-to-day schedules. Derrick has to be at work by 5:30 a.m. during the week, so I drop off the kids before heading into work. After the last kid drop-off, I have about a 20-minute commute to the office and every morning, and I mean every morning, I call my husband. During these conversations, we catch up on what happened the day before. We chat about news events. We chat about upcoming events. We chat about how great our weekend was. We share funny stories. If we need to iron out any relationship-centered issues, we do. You get the drift. It’s our time. I can’t express enough how important this one, daily activity is for the health of our relationship. I never want to forget all the wonderful qualities my husband possesses; all the things I fell in love with. When our daughter was sick, we’d go months without quality time and our relationship suffered. We just weren’t as connected. That period of our lives let me know that staying connected takes work and commitment. Thankfully, we realized it before we drifted apart.
I think what I love most about our morning “quality time” is that we both let loose. My husband is a riot. He makes me laugh hysterically and every morning I look forward to hearing what’s going to come out of his mouth next. By the time I get to work, I’m on cloud nine and in a great mood. I’ve come to realize that when the hubby and I are on the same page, everything works. Would I rather be sitting or lying beside him during this “quality time?” Absolutely. But I’ll take what I can get. That 20 minutes every morning is EVERYTHING.
We also implemented a child-care schedule with our friends and family to generate some quality time. The kids’ godparents watch them at least one weekend a quarter. And, we get one of our siblings or my mom to watch the kids at least one Saturday evening every 6 weeks or so. I actually get giddy thinking about our date nights. I often approach it in the same manner I would an actual date. I get my hair done, I get a manicure/pedicure, and I make sure my outfit is extra on point – you know all the things I used to do when we were courting. It’s not necessary, but I enjoy doing it, my husband loves it, and it adds to the excitement and anticipation. For those few hours or days, nothing else matters but the two of us. When it’s time to return to reality, we are both refreshed and more connected than ever.
Last, but definitely not least, every Sunday we make time to talk about the Sunday morning church sermon. My husband works on Sundays, so it’s rare that we have a chance to go to church together. But thankfully our church, First Baptist Church of Glenarden, has an online live broadcast, so he’s able to watch the sermon while at work. Pastor Jenkins is off the chain. He keeps it real and so much of what he teaches is directly applicable to our lives and marriage. Derrick and I talk about the sermons and lessons learned, focusing on what they mean for us individually, as a couple and as a family. Not sure it gets any better than that folks.