Give your marriage some extra attention

Brittany Gilbert

Your marriage needs just as much nurturing, if not more so, than your relationship with your kids. It can be really difficult to connect with each other when schedules are busy, kids need attention, work is crazy, etc. However, that makes it even more necessary to give your marriage some extra attention. 

LOVE LANGUAGE

Find your spouse’s love language and fulfill it. We tend to give love in the way we’d like to receive it, unless we are versed in the five love languages and have been able to identify the one that fits our spouse. To find out more, there are descriptions and also quizzes online that you can take and, of course, the original book called “The Five Love Languages” written by Gary Chapman.

DATES

Go on dates as often as you can. Babysitters are expensive and not everyone has family near, so it’s OK if it needs to be an hour-long date to go get ice cream, walk around Target or sit in the car and catch up on life. It’s all about checking in with each other and connecting. 

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve read on strengthening or maintaining a marriage relationship is to have frequent “check-ins.” The idea is to just ask each other how you’re doing and if there’s anything you can be doing better. It sounds kind of like a boss interviewing an employee, but once you get past that, it can be really beneficial to your marriage. While you’re out on a date, you can ask each other what you need and take the opportunity to give praise for ways that you’ve felt loved and appreciated.

GETAWAYS

Get away together, if possible. I know this one can be really difficult. We have small children and no close family that can keep them overnight, so this has always been a struggle for us. We found a sitter that we trust and who loves our children like family, and that has been our solution. 

Even with this option, it can be expensive and difficult to arrange, so it has to be planned out far in advance. It’s worth it. Again, it doesn’t have to be a lengthy vacation. The 501 area has so many things to offer. Check out the spas in Hot Springs or the Capital Hotel in Little Rock. Just get a night away. 

COUCH TIME

Couch time is something we learned about when we were expecting our oldest. It was a part of a parenting curriculum where we first learned this idea to put each other first, above our children. The leaders encourage parents to have “couch time.” 

Couch time is just 10-15 minutes in your day, and it can happen anytime, but the most popular is at the end of the day while kids are still awake. The idea is to just spend a few minutes together and for the kids to see that your spouse is the priority and for them to see mom and dad spending time together. It may take some effort to work up to 15 minutes of uninterrupted conversation, and in the beginning there may be lots of coaching to help your kids understand that this time is not for them and that they need to wait until after your “couch time” is done, but it is such a neat idea. 

And the benefits are always worth the effort.