Staying Connected with Your Spouse
We, as a married couple, have the odds stacked against us when it comes to getting time together. On top of the usual issues that our fast-paced society throws in our path, we personally are a one income family with toddler quadruplets. Disposable income and disposable time are non-existent.
As a pregnant quad mom, one of my biggest fears was losing “us” when our kids arrived. I was afraid that the craziness of life would cause us to lose touch and eventually forget why we married each other. In hindsight, I think that was a useful fear to have. It has caused us to be very intentional about making sure that the “us” is the highest priority in our family.
Our methods for staying close are simple, inexpensive and quick. They don’t involve expensive evenings out, staring into each other’s eyes for hours on end or hiring babysitters. Instead, we’ve learned to function within the new framework that has become our lives. Each of our times together takes 15 minutes or less, but they mean the difference between drifting away from each other or staying connected.
Here’s My Number, So Call Me Maybe: Technology makes it easy to stay in touch in real time! Sean and I take advantage of it by connecting throughout the day by text, email or an occasional phone call. If he has special meetings or projects, he lets me know what he’s up to. If I have a child climbing the bookshelf, fighting a fever or doing particularly well in therapy, I let him know. We obviously can’t be with each other all of the time, but becaucse we are partners in life, we want each other to know the ins and outs of our day. Time: 1 minute or less
Late Afternoon Couch Dates: On occasion, Sean will get off of work a few minutes early and make it home before our kids get up from their afternoon nap. On those days, I get a text message letting me know that he is swinging by Dairy Queen for Blizzards and to expect a quick couch date when he gets home. It’s only a few minutes long, but it’s enough to count as a date in our book! Time: 10-15 minutes
Daily Debriefing: We work very hard to keep each other in the loop about our daily lives. Sean works in payroll, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. There isn’t a lot of similarity between our days, and honestly, not much of our routine changes at home. It doesn’t matter though. I always ask how Sean’s day went, and he always asks how my day was—even if he knows it was probably the same as yesterday. It not only reaffirms that we are partners, but it also validates the role that each of us plays in our partnership. Usually, we manage our daily debriefing while I’m cooking dinner and he is greeting the kids. Time: 5-10 minutes
Post-Dinner Cleanup: Every evening, Sean and I clean up dinner together. He clears the table, wipes off highchair trays and sweeps the floor while I put away leftovers and do the dishes. Working together, we get everything done quickly and head to the living room together for family time. We take advantage of our cleanup duties to just enjoy being together and talking about whatever comes to mind. Dinner chores are a lot more fun when done with a friend! Time: 15 minutes
End the Day Together: We are Christians and try to make sure that Christ stays at the center of our family unit. When we were dating, we called each other every night so that we could pray together. Now that we are married, we make it the last thing we do before turning off the light. It’s the perfect way to come together as a couple and remember the Rock that we have our marriage built on. Time: 5 minutes
It’s easy to make excuses why a couple with kids is too busy to find time to spend together. But we are firm believers in the idea that a strong marriage leads to stability for the kids. Sean and I work on our marriage because we want our kids to feel the security of a close family. And when the kids are grown and gone, and we finally have a chance to catch up on sleep, we still want to be connected to each other as we move into the next phase of our lives.
Rebecca Ishum lives in south Kansas City with her husband, Sean, and their 2-year-old quadruplets. Next month, they are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary and looking forward to many more years together…hopefully with more sleep!