The Rule of 8s – Nurturing My Marriage

I talked in this post about the Rule of 8s; 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep and 8 hours for me. You can read about how I manage my family here. Today is all about making time for marriage in every day. I have to admit, this one is really challenging for me. Our lives at this stage are very busy. Like a whole different league of busy. Craziness. To the point where I don’t always look at the weekend early in the week, because I will just get stressed by all the commitments we have. We have chosen this life. We have picked our activities and allowed our kids to be in all the things that they are. Our reasoning, this is a short season. It’s their opportunity to try things out, see where their skills, talents and interests mesh. I feel like things will calm down soon enough, right now its just supposed to be crazy.

All that being said, we still have to make time to nurture our marriage. If not, when the kids leave home and our lives slow down we will find ourselves as strangers. And that’s not an option. I don’t have some phenomenal, super-secret, magic solution to keeping your marriage strong. Bummer. Wouldn’t it be great if I did? And I would totally share it if I had the secret. So many people could benefit. But, I don’t. So I do some really simple, really basic, really not magical things to keep the connection with Hubby.

We love to cook together. This is something we started doing when we were dating. Back then we had all the time in the world to prepare the most elaborate meals. And we loved doing it together. In all reality, it was probably just about being together. We were in that new relationship stage where it didn’t matter what we were doing as long as we were together {insert sappy, lovey tone}. But it is something that we still enjoy when we have time. Since we all have to eat every day, this is an easy way to spend some time together while getting something done.

We’ve found that walks are great for connecting. When we are home there are too many distractions; phones, TV, homework, cleaning to be done, bills to be paid, and on and on. When we go for a walk all that goes away. We can focus on the conversation and really hear what is going on for each other. I always come back exhausted and content. I remember the first time we were able to go for a walk sans boys. We gave them each a few tasks to keep them occupied, refreshed a couple safety rules and told them we would be back in 20 minutes. I think I giggled the whole walk! It was so strange to be gone, knowing they were all at home. Alone. We talked a little. But mostly I laughed. And I felt a huge sense of freedom I hadn’t felt in YEARS! Since then, we’ve gone in spurts. Sometimes we use soccer practice as our walking time; drop the kids off and walk at the park while they practice. It saves a trip home and back, we get some exercise and we reconnect with each other. We may only fit one in once a week {and sometimes its much less than that}, but it’s something.

When the kids were little and I was a stay-at-home-mom we instituted “couch time.” The rule was, when Daddy comes home he will give everyone a hug and a kiss and then it’s Mommy’s time. They knew the next 15-20 minutes they needed to occupy themselves while Hubby and I chatted about our day. It wasn’t fool proof and there were often interruptions, but I think it helped the boys see that we care about each other and needed that time to connect. We don’t do “couch time” anymore. The boys don’t generally come running to the door when we come home anymore:). I think that’s ok. But we do tell them sometimes that we need some space. Its funny how when your kids are little, you’re ok with telling them, “Mommy can’t listen right now, I have to make dinner.” And then when they are teens, you take any chance you can get to listen to what they are thinking.

Along the line of changes with teens…we put a lock on our bedroom door. There was one there when the kids were little, but it was hardly ever used. We just waited till the kids were sleeping for IT. Any time after 8 pm was our time. When we repainted we didn’t put it back on, there was really no need. Fast forward a few years to midnight curfews and Houston, we have problem! I can barely wait up to make sure the kids are in by curfew, let alone be remotely coherent. And even on nights when they are home, they stay up late! Its really quite awkward. But if we’re talking about nurturing your marriage…whatcha ya gonna do? So we put a lock on the bedroom door. The kind that can only be locked and unlocked from the inside. When the kids saw it they said, “That’s just wrong!” I probably would have said the same thing. Afterall, we all know our parents don’t do IT.

Thursday lunches are another favorite. Hubby has Thursdays off work and we have set up a standing lunch date. Another planned opportunity for uninterrupted time. We try different restaurants we’ve heard about or wanted to check out. We don’t do it every week, but a couple times a month is good. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just a chance to chat. Like I said, there is no super-secret magic solution. It’s about making it a priority to find time to spend together. Even with our crazy, super hectic, ridiculous life. In a few short years when the kids have all moved out we will start a new season and hopefully have some solid footing. And we’ll take the lock off the bedroom door…maybe.



Filed under Advice, Faith, Family, Legacy, Lifestyle, Parenting

4 responses to “The Rule of 8s – Nurturing My Marriage

  1. Yeah, it’s important to take some time for yourselves, together, so to speak. Walks sound like a great idea. My wife and I can’t even talk with our preschooler around, she always wants all the attention! It’s difficult to find the time to nurture things, but it is important to do.

  2. Great post. So important. Giving a presentation on Nurturing Your Marriage and will refer to this post. Thank you.

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