If you read my post about 10 Date Night Ideas for Exhausted & Penniless Parents a little while back then you know that I am a sucker for time alone with my husband, but time alone isn’t always an option. I have invited Kendall Patton from Life Breath Present to share how she and her husband keep their relationship strong without date nights.
Stay Strong Without Date Nights
I don’t know about you, but I’m always seeing blog posts, articles, and pins about the importance of date nights, how to have them, ideas on the cheap, and ideas for nights at home. For me, it can be annoying to see all these articles because quite frankly Hun and I don’t have childless date nights. In fact, in our 3 years of parenting, we’ve had all of 3 dates. That’s an average of 1 a year!
I’m not knocking the fact that we’ve had these 3 dates, don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law who have actually made those 3 dates happen, just because. By the time my mother-in-law is with us for any length of time again, Turtle Boy will be much much more active, maybe even walking, and I’m not so sure she’ll be as willing to usher us out the door for a few hours to ourselves. I suppose only time will tell.
Nonetheless, Hun and I have a strong relationship, at least according to us. Of course, we have the typical stresses related to child rearing, single income, and energy (or rather, exhaustion). And despite barely an hour or two of time alone most weeks, we remain strong in our love and support of one another.
One caveat that might be considered a blessing in some ways, is that as a couple, we’ve always just done things. Traditional dating isn’t something we’re used to doing, at least not together, and that works for us. (This is our love story.) Adding children to the mix, has been like coordinating a get together with adult friends.
Thankfully, in general, we rarely feel the need to be away from our children in order to maintain our sanity. That’s not to say we have days and nights full of bliss without the stresses of parenting. Trust me, we have way more than our share of difficult times, days, evenings, and nights. In fact, I’d venture to say at least a few times a week, there’s
some form of disagreement. There have even been times that I’ve gone to bed without so much as a goodnight to Hun, let alone Monkey Boy, simply running (usually with attitude) to bed with Turtle Boy attached,
More importantly though, we make up. We talk about what happened. We apologize when needed and we face ourselves. Because, quite frankly, ifwe never faced ourselves, this maintaining relationship, let aloneparenting, stuff would be so much harder!
Yet, Hun and I maintain a healthy relationship, complete with intimacy, with an average of only about 1 date night a year!
That leaves 364 days when we are with our children from sun up to sun down.
You might wonder how we manage it all. Today I’m sharing ourtop 3 ways to stay strong and maintain our intimacy, without any date nights!
Hun and I check in with one another a few times a day.
When Hun is at work, that usually means 1 phone call on his scheduled lunch break which may or may not include me expressing aggravation or stress, planning for the evening, and time talking with the kids.
In the evening, it looks pretty similar as we sit at the dinner table, sharing and chatting about any and every thing, including some news discussion.
Later in the evening, we might talk again about news/country/world related topics, our philosophy on things, child related things, or personal and family things (like business ideas, tasks, needs, and the like).
This may seem like a ton of talking, especially if you’re not used to it. For us though, this is normal. Hun and I love talking and discussing all manner of things under the sun. (We literally talked instead of dating before we became a couple.)
Some days though, there’s not as much talking. On those days, I can definitely feel it. If it goes on for too many days in a row, I start to build up feelings of being disconnected. This is also usually when stress gets high, my patience is low, and I begin to question my role as a Mother, but that’s another topic for another day.
Flirting & Compliments
Every day, Hun and I kiss. Usually multiple times a day. We also hug, or otherwise touch one another.
We’re both touch people. We find comfort and connection in physical touch. Personally, I hold kissing very high on the list of musts for every day. I believe that from the simplest, quickest of kisses to the prolonged kisses between two connected people is one of the most intimate things you can do.
(True story, Hun wasn’t allowed to place even a simple, quick kiss on my lips until after we’d determined we were going to be a family.)
Hun and I also flirt with one another. We compliment each other for all things big and small. We show our appreciation and gratitude through small acts or simple, yet heartfelt thank yous.
I’ve been known to do a “gratitude walk” around our home, pointing out all of the things we have, reminding both Hun and I all that ways he provides for our family.
On occasion, we even sneak a more intimate touch, too.
And our children get to see and hear it all (well, except the more intimate stuff, of course).
Personal and/or Family Growth Activities
Remember how I mentioned that we still do things on a whim, full of spontaneity? Doing those types of activities are good for the soul, the spirit, the mind, and the body. We love the outdoors, adventure, learning, and creating. And we love doing!
One way we maintain our relationship, even with our children in tow, is by continuing to engage in the activities we love and thrive on so much.
Sometimes this means a bit of quiet time or space alone at home. Sometimes it means sharing our dreams or goals or ideas about different things. Other times it means working on those dreams, goals, and ideas for a bit while one of us takes over caring for the boys. Sometimes it means we go on adventures as a family – the forest, a walk in the park, a
quick drive (link), or visit some form of water. Sometimes it might even mean we have family nap time.
Whatever it may look like on any given day, it’s one of our most important activities in maintaining our own personal sanity, our relationship with one another, and also in teaching and guiding our children. We want to do our best to model to our children that love can be forever, that love isn’t always easy, yet love can be so fun.
Hun and I likely get many things “wrong” along the way (hello Momma Bear’s anger and yelling). I’m sure there are ways we could even improve on these simple things we do every day. Just as I’m sure the occasional childless date night could be fun and feel freer. Yet, right now, in our family life stage of very young children, a lack of close family
support, and a mostly nonexistent community or network of friends nearby, we make it work while maintaining our relationship and our sanity.
We stick to our ideals, our dreams, our goals, and our dedication and commitment to one another. Our relationship with one another is held high, as well as our relationship with ourselves. We believe in trust, autonomy, and support. Having a long lasting relationship is hard work. Parenting is hard work. Putting those two things together is even harder work. We recognize the difficulties inherent in our roles and we do our best to support and understand one another.
I’d like to think that these little things we do each day is the glue which actually holds us together even in the most difficult and trying of times, but I don’t think that’s true. I think our commitment and devotion to one another, without the high and unreasonable expectation of “doing it All, the ‘right’ way”, and the recognition of genuine and deep love for one another is actually our glue.
But, your glue may be different and it may even lie in childless date nights.
*Download this free printable as a reminder for the rough days.
“Whatever your relationship
glue is, stay true to it and your relationship will remain strong even
with young children.”
Tell me how you keep your
relationship strong in the day-to-day. What are some ways you stay
connected to your partner while also raising your precious children? Or,
if you’ve made it through the young children stage, tell me your biggest
tip from that time.
Kendall Patton is a heart wife, mother, blogger, and crafter. She’s on a path with her family to living more holistically and naturally, in eating real food, using vitamin and mineral supplements to support health, natural remedies, and the power of the body to heal itself. She currently has 2 little boys, her husband, and their home to care for. She struggles to find time for herself, but she knows she can’t parent and love without it.
Kendall blogs at Life Breath Present, where she shares all about her journey as a Mother, their family forest adventures, homemaking, and her creative ventures!