Over the past week or so, Chris and I have continued to talk openly about our marriage and the rut we seem to have found ourselves in. So many people have suggested that we have more date nights and more time with just each other. We’ve talked about that, but in all honesty, we get time alone a lot. Our kids go to bed at 7:30 every night, which leaves Chris and I alone most evenings. And my mom takes the kids at least one weekend a month, so we get chunks of time together that way. What we have started to realize is that it’s not the alone time that’s the problem. It’s what we choose to do with our time – both when we are together and when we are as a family.
When you have two little kids – like, younger than Bean and Gracie. You really are tied to the home. And we got into that habit. We didn’t go out on weeknights because our kids were tired after long days at daycare. We tried not to go too much on the weekends because the kids needed some down time after a long week at school. And we were limited as to what they could get out and do when we did have the time to go do something. As much as no one wants to say it, little kids are limiting.
But our kids are getting bigger. They are able to go and do more now. They have awesome schedules and routines, but they are at a point where we can be a little flexible with their routine every now and then and it won’t send them into a tailspin of abnormality. The thing is, we just haven’t changed our lifestyle as our family has grown. We still largely live like we have babies in our house. And it’s a good thing that babies aren’t babies for much over a year because a year of the same routine and schedule will drive even the healthiest of married couples to the brink.
When we discovered this, it actually took some of the worry about our marriage off our shoulders. Maybe this wasn’t so much about us not knowing how to interact anymore. Maybe this was more about the fact that we both needed different interactions now. Chris said it the best the other night when we were chatting after the kids had gone to bed.
“We’ve been together half our lives,” he said. “But I think we’re at the point where the things that used to entertain us in the early years of our relationship don’t really entertain us anymore. We’re bored with dinners and wine and cuddling on the couch. And I think that’s okay. I think we’re just ready to start doing some more fun things together. Things we’ve never done before.”
We went on to talk about how we need to make more of an effort to get out and try new things, not just with the two of us, but with our kids, too. We certainly are on the go a lot, but it’s mostly going to the same old places every week. And if that’s getting boring for me and Chris, I’m sure our kids probably feel the same way. We all need to break up the monotony a bit. And so, we began to pray for experiences and adventures to present themselves to us. If God would just open some doors, we would make the effort and walk through them.
A few days later, Chris saw an ad for Sesame Street Live that was coming to our area. Perfect! Something new and fun for us to do as a family! We looked into tickets, though, and they were out of our price range. Maybe we could just go on a picnic instead… The very next day, I got a Facebook message from a woman I used to teach with. She said she had won four tickets to the Sesame Street Live event – in VIP seating, no less! – and her grandkids didn’t want to go, so did I want the tickets?
Ask and you shall receive, friends!
While we are super excited about the Sesame Street event, we are also trying to change up our day to day routines, too. Chris is trying to get home a little earlier in the afternoons, and it makes such a difference. We get a whole hour extra to do the dinner/bath/bedtime rush, and we even have time left over to enjoy each other. Tonight, we even took a WALK! As a FAMILY! Before DINNER!
These aren’t the only changes we are working on, but it’s a start. Recognizing that we can be bored without it meaning we are bored with each other has been a huge weight lifted from both our chests. And focusing on new experiences as a couple and a family has been a lot of fun, actually.
Time and again, I am learning that problems seem so much greater when you keep them hidden or unspoken. When you air everything out, put it all on the table, and then start to deal with it, the problem may not seem necessarily smaller right away, but it definitely seems fixable. And fixable is always good when you’re talking about your marriage.