Diligent in Family Relationships

Simple Ways to Stay Connected with Your Spouse

Today marks 18 years that I have been married to my husband. In that time we have had our ups and downs. We have had times where I feel like we can read each other’s thoughts and times where I wondered if we were even in the same book, let alone on the same page. And we have 6 kids at home who are also in need of our attention. Through it all I have discovered a few things that have helped me to feel more connected to my husband.

1. COOK MEALS TOGETHER

We can’t always take time alone when we want. Instead, of trying to find moments to get away, we make an effort to reconnect in the midst of all the madness. Fixing meals together is a great way to do that.

While one person stirs, the other one chops, and you can discuss current events, that crazy thing your toddler did yesterday, what is going to happen next on that TV show, or how you’re doing on accomplishing your goals. The topic isn’t really important; taking advantage of an opportunity where you are both in the same place to have a good conversation is.

Whether you are fixing a meal for your family or a meal for the two of you, use that time to be together.

2. PUT DOWN THE PHONE

Being in the same room but occupied by different things is good. Being in the same room and sharing in the same experiences is better.

We don’t have to eliminate everything that could possibly be a distraction. The goal is not to sit in an empty room staring at each other. The goal is to be fully engaged in whatever it is we are doing together. One of the biggest distractions we face is our smart phones. Sometimes connecting is as simple as not letting the games or social media on our phones occupy us.

Turn the phone off, or at least switch it to silent, put it down, and engage in what is happening with your spouse.

3. DITCH DATE NIGHT

Going out on a date every once in a while, especially if you have kids, is a great idea. What isn’t a great idea is thinking that if you can’t do it the “right” way then it isn’t worth doing at all. So, don’t actually ditch date night, but ditch the idea that date night needs to be something elaborate, special, and dramatically different than your day-to-day.

So many times I have heard people talk about strengthening marriage relationships and the first suggestion was almost always to schedule a regular date night with your spouse. I would usually tune out after that because what most people meant when they said date night was to go out of the house and spend money on dinner and a movie, or a show, or an event, or some other special thing you wouldn’t normally do. That just wasn’t feasible for us financially or logistically most of the time.

Over time I have come to realize that my date night doesn’t need to look like this. We ditched the idea of a special date night and embraced the idea of spending meaningful time together no matter what we were doing. When our oldest kids were younger it was staying up after they were in bed to watch a movie. Now that they are old enough to babysit we can leave kids home to run errands or visit with friends, just the two of us. What we are doing is less important than making sure we do spend time that is just the two of us. We don’t even always leave the house. Sometimes we just stay up late and watch a movie or play a game after the kids are in bed.

Grocery shopping may not be a whole lot of fun or feel very special, but you might be surprised at the conversations that can be started in the cereal aisle you may not have had somewhere else. Give it a shot.

How do you connect with your spouse?

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Bathroom Conversations

Not too long ago, frustrated with my children attempting to have conversations with me through the bathroom door, I decided to institute a new rule. Unless someone was dying or the house was on fire it could wait until I was out of the bathroom. It took some training, but most of the time the kids are pretty good. In fact, I was beginning to think we were past the bathroom interruptions. I should have known better.

Tonight I was in the bathroom when Maxx knocked on the door. (Yes, I can identify my children by the way they knock on the bathroom door.) Like normal, I responded with, “Just a minute,” my reminder that he needed to wait until I was done.

Instead of the usual, “Okay,” I heard, “Mom?” followed by an almost audible spinning of gears in his brain. Clearly, this little boy, who never seems to forget anything, had just realized he had broken a rule and was looking for a way out.

“Yes?”

“Someone is dying.”

And there you have it, folks. I told you he never forgets anything. The one thing that he’s allowed to talk to me about through the bathroom door is exactly what comes out of his mouth. I ask him, “Who’s dying?”

“Malia.”

I can tell by the almost giggly tone that Malia is definitely not dying, but there’s a pretty good chance that he’s feeling pretty proud of himself for managing to find a way out of trouble. “Oh, really. How is she dying?”

I think I’ve got him here, but really, I should know better by now. This boy is clever and thinks fast. Without missing a beat he replies, “Charles is sucking her blood.”

I smiled to myself while washing up, figuring at this point I may as well just go along with it. “Oh no! Did Charles turn into a vampire?”

“Yep!”

“What are we going to do?”

“Rescue Malia!”

I opened the door to a giant grin, got a big hug, then sent the boy off to play. I suspect that stories of unusual ways for people to die may become a regular part of my bathroom routine.

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What I’ve learned from my 13 year old: Malia edition.

☆Be excited about new opportunities. It won’t hurt and it’s better than being scared.
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☆ You’re happier when you forgive.
☆ Making new friends is easy if you just take time to get to know somebody.
☆ Always be yourself.

Some other interesting things about Malia.

☆ She is the child most likely to leave me a love note in an unexpected place.
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☆ We sent her to a church summer camp this summer where she was the only girl from our stake to go. (Normally there are several girls from each stake.) Some of her leaders were concerned about her not having any friends up there, but she saw it as a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. It was a wonderful experience and she had a great time.
☆ She is developing into quite a young woman. Always willing to help, cheer someone up, and set a great example for others.

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What I’ve learned from my 6 year old: Maxx edition.

☆No matter how many bad guys you defeat today, there will always be more to defeat tomorrow.
☆No battle with the bad guys is complete without sound effects.
☆If you can be anything, be awesome!
☆Don’t be afraid to break the rules and create something new.
☆You won’t go wrong if you follow your father.
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Some other fun things about Maxx:

☆ He loves to learn new things and his favorite homeschool activity right now is math. I suspect that is at least partially due to it being on the computer.
☆ I could fill a book with the one-liners that come out of this kid’s mouth. He has me laughing almost daily.
☆ When he gets a new LEGO set he likes help building it according to the instructions. It never lasts more than a few minutes in that state, though.
☆ Life would not be the same without his boundless energy. I am so grateful to have him be a part of my family.
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15 Years and Counting

903668_10152743075710037_298744498_oFifteen years ago today I married my favorite person in the world. There were people who were worried that we weren’t a good match, that we wouldn’t last, and that I was too young to understand what I was getting myself into. We ignored the naysayers and were sealed for time and all eternity in the Las Vegas temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We’ve had our rough moments, but we have stuck by each other and we have grown up together.

We’ve come a long way in 15 years. We’re older and wiser. The way we started our life together was not ideal by some standards, but it was perfect for us. We are the same people we were then in some ways, and completely different in other ways. One thing is for sure, I am still in love with this man and can’t imagine my life without him.

As Mike and I talked about what we wanted to do to celebrate our anniversary we came up with a few ideas, but we both kept coming back to one thing. There are a lot of people who have left an imprint on our lives over the last 15 years. We would not be the people we are without each and every one of them. We want to celebrate not just the two of us sticking together for 15 years. We want to celebrate everyone and everything that has brought us to this point. We’ve got a rough idea of what we want to do. We just need to work out the details. So, keep your eyes peeled, because you just might see your name in lights soon.

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