Nurturing Your Marriage

by Melanie Edwards on July 12, 2011 · 22 comments

in life

Wedding Rings

In this quest for balance, it’s truly difficult to diligently work on all aspects of your life. Actually, I suppose it’s not as hard to work on the various areas, so much as it is to do them all well. With my time being split across multiple roles on a daily basis, I find it hard to focus on being really good at any one of them. I don’t particularly think that I’m being an exceptionally good wife, mom, or a good me, for that matter. But, if I had to choose one role that I know I consciously work at, it’s my role as a mom.

However, two roles continually seem to be getting lost and pushed aside: the wife and the woman. I can honestly say that my marriage is something that is constantly on my mind. Every time I take time to work in the evenings, clean, or even if I rest, I second guess how my time is spent and wonder if I should have spent that time with my husband.

Will he resent that I took that hour to write rather than initiate a conversation? Should I have taken time to sit with him and watch a movie? How do I keep myself from falling asleep after the kids go to bed so that we can spend time together?

These are the types of questions that go through my mind nearly every day. I commented to a friend a couple of weeks back that I worry about losing our connection. Something that concerns me is that most days our conversations revolve around logistics of our household (finances, responsibilities, etc.) or the kids. What about those conversations we used to have? The ones that initially sparked passion for each other?

There’s no doubt that both work and our marriage are important. And while I know that in the big picture one is more important than the other, work is still essential to survive the every day. After all, it is what keeps our household running and without the money that comes from work (his and mine), we’d have even bigger problems.

While our marriage is okay overall, I recognize that there are aspects of our lives that could be improved upon. I wish to improve them before they get worse. As anyone who’s married knows, marriage needs nurturing and takes work to keep it thriving.

What are some ways you work on your marriage and balance it with work and other duties?

I asked a few social media friends to share their thoughts on this topic and any tips that work for them. Here’s what they had to say.

Chantilly Patiño

I think the best thing is that even if you don’t have much time to split up, to make it quality time. I really focus on hubby and/or mija during our special time and don’t let any interruptions take priority…

Tracy López

I don’t always succeed but I always feel more balanced and my family feels like they’re getting their fair share of me when I set a time for Internet use and stick to it. For example, if kids get home at 3 pm and my husband gets home soon after, that’s when the laptop is closed and stays closed.

This is easier for me to abide by during the school year…When they’re home for the summer and interrupting me all day, I feel like I don’t get my fair share of time to focus on my work…Bottom line: we spend too much time on the computer. The solution is to spend less time, but even when one tries to make an honest effort at it, it seems like not staying on top of things just makes life more difficult when you inevitably come back to your E-mail inbox.

Kelly Gehrmann Whalen

We schedule a date night (usually at home) once a week. We are both prone to working too much on work or household stuff so we shut it all down and watch a movie, talk, or play a game.

Lara DiPaola

We schedule dates. In fact we go so far as to schedule a kid free vacation once every two years. One year it’s a family vacay next it’s us. Staying connected makes all the difference.

Jo-Lynne Shane

We do date nights…but also, I love to talk to him about work and opportunities and ideas and things. He’s invested in it too because it helps our family, so my work can be a bonding thing, actually!

Michele Chestnut

…after dinner [he] turns on the Xbox…I end up on the computer while he is playing the Xbox. However, I think at this point we both just do it because we think the other is wanting to do the xbox/computer…we really need to set a few nights a week [when] neither one of us gets on either thing!

Fadra Nally

I try to treat my blogging like a job. We share our work days like we would if I worked outside of the home. I talk about Social Media Moms and people I met at conferences or interesting tweets. I’ll even read him some cool blog posts I find. I keep him up to date on the “cast of characters” so we can truly talk on each other’s level.

Catherine Moss

[He] is on the computer doing photography stuff or surfing and I am on the laptop. We joke about how romantic it is. I try to share blogging and social media tidbits with [him] as well. Other than talking about my day…it is my way to share “my” thing with him at dinner or while we are on a walk or whatever.

Leah Segedie

My husband and I went through this pretty bad last year. What ended up happening is I bit the bullet and started hiring people to pick up the work that I didn’t have to do myself…Today, I have more time for family, travel & client stuff.

Candice Berneman Kahn

It’s really hard when you are both working too. We get home, and we’re both exhausted. Even worse DH & I both have work to do on the computer after the kids go to bed. I’ve dubbed Sat night, now computer night. It’s small, but it helps. I even sit on the same couch with him on Sat nights…Also, we have been known to ask my parents if the kids can have a sleep over at their house on a Fri or Sat night, and then we stay home by ourselves.

Ginger Warnecke Anderson

I know SO many people who don’t do a date night. I think it’s so important; my husband and I try to go out 1-2 a month. To save money we trade childcare with another family friend.

*Ginger shares more date night options for childcare.

Divina from Dancing Hot Dogs

We still make time for date nights and just go out to the movies or dinner or whatever without the kids. We are very lucky to have 2 sets of grandparents less than 20 minutes so we don’t have to worry about the expense or reliability of a babysitter.

Elisa Batista

The good news is I really believe that balancing the three — kids, too — is much easier when the kids are older and in school. It is really hard to find childcare — we live far away from our families — when the kids are, say, 0 to 3 and require so much attention.

*Check out Elisa’s review of a relationship book she enjoyed.

Your turn. Share your thoughts, tips, and experiences in the comments below.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Ginger July 12, 2011 at 6:38 am

Thanks for including my quote/link; I struggle so much with this and love that you wrote about it. One thing I’m also trying to do is talk to my husband about this regularly. Check in, share feelings. I find that I worry a lot about it, but every time we talk I feel better. You just have to be open to hearing the feedback!!  ;)

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modernmami July 13, 2011 at 12:30 am

I’ve been struggling too and figured it was time to put it out there. You’re right. I too feel better after talking it over with him. Sometimes, I’m worried unnecessarily, in his opinion. Thank you for providing your feedback for the post!

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Lisa Perez July 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

It’s a weekly struggle but we make it work.  That is why my blog posts take so long because my family comes first no matter what. Great article!

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modernmami July 13, 2011 at 12:32 am

So glad it works out for you. Something always has to give, no?

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Cuponeando July 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

It’s not easy even when there are no kids at home no more. Communication has always been key but nowadays I stop what I’m doing to answer hubby’s phone calls. Although he is super supportive, we have implemented Friday night dates where we go out to eat and talk about what’s going on. I’m with Leah as well, once we got help around the house life – for me – got more focused and help me to be a better wife.

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modernmami July 13, 2011 at 12:34 am

Most definitely it’s not just an issue for those with kids. This date night thing keeps coming up. I really need to implement that once I stop nursing.

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Latinaish July 12, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I second the “date night” idea a lot of people mentioned – but we recently took that a step further. Our kids are away for a week at the beach with my parents right now — so you would think that means time alone for my husband and I? … NOT. Suegra (my mother-in-law) lives with us. We’re NEVER alone.

After we dropped the kids off with my parents, we ended up going to a local hotel last weekend, (told Suegra we were spending the night at my Mom’s. LOL.) … It sounds crazy but you can get a night in a nice hotel for the same price as a fancy dinner and movie – so why not? … We got a pizza, some snacks and holed up in our hotel room talking, watching TV and just being ALONE :) Give it a try. It’s a nice jump-start to break the routine/rut couples can get into.

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modernmami July 13, 2011 at 12:36 am

I’ve done that! Just for fun… I so wish I could do that right now, but it’ll have to wait until baby boy is older and not nursing. Not fair for the abuelos to have an infant overnight with middle of the night feedings! ;)

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Chele July 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Thanks for including me! My marriage is priority… and really need to put that priority back in 1st place!

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modernmami July 13, 2011 at 12:37 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with everyone!

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Anonymous July 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Great tips Monica! Love that you involved your SM friends!

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modernmami July 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Glad you like the post! Did you mean Melanie, though? ;)

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Chantilly Patiño July 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm

This is a great topic Melanie and thanks for including me!  It definitely gets tough to balance things when we have so many priorities, but I think that part of the reason is that somethings aren’t quite as high on the list as we might imagine.  Sometimes things can be put aside for a bit in favor of hubby time.  With us, it can get difficult to have a date night because we’re not using babysitters and don’t have any family nearby.  Date night happens after baby girl goes to sleep and sometimes we’ll have three in a week and others (when we’re busy) we’ll only find chill time together a couple times a month.  I think that we actually forget how important that time can be when there are so many other distractions.  Getting side-tracked makes the time together less important and desirable too, I think.  If hubby isn’t giving me his full attention, than it seems less like a date, less special…he feels the same, so I think the important thing is to REALLY drop everything else on your date night….like you would have when you were dating.  ;)

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modernmami July 13, 2011 at 12:40 am

Great tips. It’s hard for us to have date nights right now too because of baby boy still nursing and being so young. But, these are all great ideas.

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Ana L. Flores July 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I really need to take time to schedule date nights. We just don’t and I know that’s exactly what we need….to be silly again

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modernmami July 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Yes, definitely. We need to be silly again and reconnect with our younger, fun selves that we originally fell in love with.

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Aurelia Flores July 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Such an important topic!  Thanks for bringing it up, and sharing the suggestions of others.  Women sharing wisdom — love it.  :)

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modernmami July 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm

So glad you enjoyed it!

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Miss Britt July 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Melanie, this is such an important topic that isn’t discussed often enough, I think. We talk about balancing our roles as moms, but it’s easy to put the marriage part aside. I love the suggestions – especially Fadra’s! (That’s actually something we’re talking about on our Til Blog Do Your Part panel at BlogHer next month!)

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Fantastagirl July 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Read the Book “The Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman.        

Once you understand what each one means, and you know which language your spouse speaks, you can strengthen your relationship. I believe there is a book for children as well.  Everyone is different, there is no right or wrong, but it’s important to know what they think love means to them. 

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Kristi Hines July 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Definitely something I’ve struggled with recently.  We scheduled date night and make it a point to say “I’d like to talk to you away from the computer” when we really need some focused, quality talk time.  That has helped a lot.  :)

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Theresa Davis July 24, 2011 at 12:10 am

Both my husband and I struggled with this for the first few years of living together.  We were both working, there were house chores to be done in the evenings, on top of dinner and baths.  We often also had to do work at home to make the day at work easier for the next day.  It took a few years, but we finally settled into our community and our ‘lives’.  We have a date night when we miss each other, and if our work goes  out of town, then we try to follow the other (especially during the summer – kids go to Grandma’s). Not only is it awesome to see each other again, its GREAT because we aren’t haunting the same ol’ places.  Going out of town together also seems to make the date feeling last longer  It’s still a constant thought, and sometimes struggle, but it’s feels better because we talk about it, and I know that he thinks about it too.  I love knowing my husband loves me enough to miss me. <3 

Thanks for the post. I enjoy knowing I'm not the only one out there who thinks about these things. :)

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