When the grocery lists, laundry piles, work emails and family parties fill up our days, it’s hard to get to romance, kisses and uninterrupted conversation at home. Even if we are miraculously at home alone, the dishwasher stares at me waiting to be unloaded and the dandelions need to be pulled from the lawn where they are sprouting in bunches. But add in the children’s noises, questions and requests for glasses of water and it is nearly impossible to conjure up a retreat-like experience within our normal four walls.
And herein lies the magic of 24 hours away, together as a couple. A time to remove ourselves from our normal surroundings to focus on each other and remember why we coupled up in the first place. It doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact if it requires a complex plan, it probably isn’t going to refresh you and is less likely to actually happen. Here are a few essential elements to that 24 hours away:
Focus on away
We’ve had nights at home with kids away at grandma’s house. They are treasured quiet times, but we always have things to do. Distractions that keep us from being present with each other. We fall into patterns of chores and nightly routines. So no matter the budget, find a way to get away. It can be a borrowed cabin, a friend’s house (if they’re out of town), a TENT! Just a different place than where you live so you can recalibrate together from regular life. You will be better able to turn towards each other when the pile of bills isn’t stacked up between you.
Plan in some fun
Fun is different for all of us. And sometimes, ok often, fun is different within a single couple. My husband likes to fish. I like to read. Having a couple of hours where we are free to each do our own kind of fun, reminds us that our spouse doesn’t have to be just like us. We can give each other freedom to do what the other likes to do. And then plan in some fun you both like – a nice dinner out or making dinner together. A hike. A movie. A bungee jump. It doesn’t matter what it is, the key is you like to do it TOGETHER. Make it happen. Tomorrow is not promised. Today is the day to enjoy your spouse.
Break the routine
We get caught up in the humdrum. The everydayness of every day. Our actual lives can begin to suck out the lovin’ feeling we have for the other adult in the house. And yet our marriage happens right smack dab in the middle of our actual lives, so we need to recharge on a regular basis, and make a mini-vacation from the routine. So a new location, a new food, a new activity, and time alone can breathe fresh air into a relationship that can feel like it’s been taken over by little people who haven’t learned the art of breaking into conversations at appropriate times.
This isn’t about big budgets or big memories. It’s about stepping away for one day and one night with the one you promised to love for better or for worse. It’s about making space for a marriage apart from kids. And it’s about doing it in a way that’s manageable and requires one small childcare favor from a friend (who you can reciprocate and offer the same kind of help the following weekend) or a family member (who would like to spoil your children without your supervising eyes). Your relationship with your spouse is worth the trouble. Not to mention it’s super fun to be together alone and enjoy the gift of this partner in life and parenting.
As a mom to four girls, Alexandra Kuykendall’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. She is the author of Loving My Actual Life, An Experiment In Relishing What’s Right In Front of Me and The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir. A city girl at heart, she makes her home in the shadow of downtown Denver. You can read more of Alex’s everyday thoughts and connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.