By Brittany Rust
It took Ryan and I six months after Roman was born to go on our first solo date. SIX MONTHS! Needless to say, when we finally did this mama was ready for it! Thirteen months into being parents and it still isn't easy finding time we can steal away with each other. And I'll be honest, it can be hard sometimes. Not getting out there as a couple to have fun, connect, and make special memories is a challenge. Maybe you're in the same place. And maybe, if you're anything like me, perhaps sometimes that leaves you feeling invisible or boring. The excitement of a date is gone and replaced with Netflix or early nights in.
I've learned something very important over the last year: dating your spouse is vital to the health of a marriage. Those long days of parenting often direct most energy towards our kid(s) because they need us to survive, right?! Because of this, as moms, we often feel depleted at the end of the day, which means there is little left for ourselves or our husband. It's incredibly hard and not conducive to dating our spouse.
Let me be honest: before becoming a mom I couldn't imagine being too tired to love on my husband. But don't we always know better when we're not moms (J/K, obviously)! I just loved my guy so much that, of course, he would still get lots of loving. But then I had a baby and after a day full of diapers, feedings, chasing after my son, writing, and keeping up with the house, I just felt flat out empty. This would often manifest into me snapping at my Ryan over something trivial, not feeling confident in my own skin and pulling back from him, or retreating to bed after dinner out of pure exhaustion.
So, for the mama feeling the same way, know you are not alone!
Motherhood is exhausting and it can often leave you feeling low in the fuel tank. Finding time to spend quality time with your husband can be difficult and low on the priority list (if on there at all).
However, let me be the first to swallow my own words while sharing it with you: we cannot let our marriage play second or third or fourth fiddle in life.
The Bible is full of verses about marriage and how couples ought to love each other. This one in particular reminds us wives that our husband must always be a priority. Here's simple the breakdown:
God > Husband > Kids > Everything Else
This may shock some: "But my kids NEED me! They have to come first!'
I hear you love your kids; I'm right there with you! But God has a different approach for you and it may be hard to maintain. He, above all else, of course. Then your husband, and then your kids. I know this might seem such a challenge when your whole world can get wrapped up in your kids and their needs, however, it's just not healthy for your marriage, your heart, or your kids.
You must be intentional about reserving some of that love and attention for your husband. For me, that might mean putting on some makeup and combing my hair before he gets home so that as I prepare the outside, my heart gets excited for his return home. Or it might be lighting all the candles and cleaning the house so that he comes home to a place of rest and comfort. It surely means letting him know often how much you respect him and appreciate all that he does for the family. And certainly, it means carving out time for him.
I know dates can be a challenge to accomplish sometimes. For us, we don't have much family or friends surrounding us so finding availability is hard. Or, because I just transitioned to be a stay at home mom and income is a bit more limited, I know finances might not be there to pay for a babysitter. I get all the reasons it doesn't work.
Haven't I given you better reasons for why you should make it work?!
If you don't have much family or friend support, make some connections and find someone in a nanny group or at church. If finances are low, try a babysitting share with another couple or two, that you can rotate with for dates. Point is, find a way! I know that's easier said than done but if something is important to you, you'll make it happen.
Ryan and I don't go out on dates as often as we used to, but we try to when we can. And if we can't, we make a special date at home, after Roman goes to sleep. Sometimes we'll get excited throughout the week and talk about a Friday night in. We'll collaborate on what yummy dinner we're going to cook up and some snuggle time on the back porch.
The more time I'm a mom, and I see how much harder you must work at your marriage in some seasons, I see the value in being intentional in loving my husband.
Here's what I'm asking you today: how are you doing at loving on your husband? What could you do to be intentional in showing him attention? And how can you get some more dates in?
Marriage is a beautiful gift from the Lord; the closest representation we have of a union between Christ and the Church. God's design for all marriages is that they would flourish and be a place of intimacy. And the wonderful thing is that as you model a godly marriage in front of your kids, they will grow up to be humans with healthier relationships. Your kids don't suffer as a result of the time and energy you pour into the marriage; they will flourish under the love and safety a healthy marriage cultivates.