I am so glad I didn’t write this blog last week, before my husband and I took a 5 night trip by ourselves to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. It would have probably been a much different post. On this side of our trip, I feel like I have so much more clarity and confidence in knowing that being away from the kids for even a few nights alone is good for a marriage.
Personally, I gained two very important insights into the benefits of taking time away from the kids to devote soley to your spouse. First, I think we could all use a good reminder that one day our kids are going to grow up and move out (hopefully!) and suddenly you and your spouse are back where you started- just the two of you. That is one reason it is so important to devote time together as a married couple throughout your whole marriage. That time helps you remember why you fell in love, recall what kind of things you enjoy doing together, even dare I say give you practice being just a couple again. It is vital not to loose touch over the years because you have been so distracted by raising kids, pursuing your career, taking care of your home (all good things!). You need to know the person you are married to when the kids are gone, you have retired and are downsizing to a condo. Take that time now to be a couple every chance you get. This will look different for different couples. Some may plan a date night once a month while a sitter stays with the kids, some may plan a date night at home once a week after the kids go to bed, some may have the means to travel together once a year, etc. Whatever works for you, do something for your marriage while the kids are young!
The second insight that I gained such clarity in while we were away is that absence not only makes the heart grow fonder, but makes you count your blessings! Although my husband and I had a great time together (see above! 🙂 ) we also really started to miss the kids and our little oasis in Kentucky while we were away. Since we had a very relaxing week with a break from work, cleaning, cooking, changing diapers and settling sibling rivalries, we feel ready to go with a new energy. I have certainly been a more patient mother and been more aware of areas I need to work on since we returned. I feel like the rest and the perspective of not having responsibilities with the kids for a week brought me to a place where I realize that I love all of that, I just was getting worn. I don’t know if I can say I missed my 2 year old son throwing shoes at me while I drove, or that I missed my daughter whining without end or that I missed my 7 year old butting heads with me on everything, but I can say that I realized I would much rather take all of that to have the opportunity to raise and love my kids than to not have any of it at all!
So please, if you have young kids, or even older kids, don’t let the responsibilities of being parents outweigh the responsibility of being a loving couple- everyone will benefit from you taking time to be together!