Hello from the Hughes » Living and loving in redemption

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Why Dating your Spouse should be a Serious Priority

The old saying, “The best gift a man can give his children is to love their mother,” is something I heard long ago but it feels especially true in a step family.

In the blended home there is often a game of tug-o-war taking place that never seemed to come to play in a nuclear home. Can you guess who might be at the end of the rope?

Spouse versus kids.

Many step-parents are fighting a quiet, but constant battle. Can we agree that loving your child is easy because it’s natural? So then the reverse is probably true. Loving someone else’s child (like their your own) is hard because it’s unnatural. Step parent love isn’t as reflexive. It takes work. It takes giving. It takes sacrifice. And it’s exhausting!

I know for me, the kids are, and will probably always be, at the root of our marital stress. Far too often than not our marriage plays second fiddle to my attempts at making things as normal as possible for the kids. Fueled by mommy guilt, I get so pre-occupied with trying to help them re-acclimate, to feel secure at home that I can end up forgetting to put my time in with hubby.

To continually forge the bonds of marriage, we know we have to be intentional. We have to be man and wife again. We have to forget the kids! We have to do things we both love, together. I have learned the stronger our relationship, the more capable we will be at solving future problems and unifying our blended home. It’s something that takes time, but also determination.

Let’s face it, as parents with small children some days we can only take so much whining, and poopy diapers. “Momming” isn’t always such a becoming look, if you are doing it right anyway. Somedays, some weeks we just need that time. We need those uninterrupted kid-free moments to reconnect. It’s vital for our marital health, which trickles down to our family’s health.

Romance and memory-making is high on my list. Being out and about, hand in hand is quality time we don’t just happen to come by these days. One way we take the time to really be intentional with each other is through local mini trips. Every few months. Two days. One night. However trivial that seems, we know the effects of not spending that time with our spouse. So much so that we try our best to budget it in.

Getting away for a day to a unique destination creates a bond through shared experience, a deeper connection. In my un-asked for opinion quick dates can always can be “faked.” We can pretend all is well over dinner, come home and be in the same grouchy mood we’ve been in all day. There is no true connection. Obviously the date itself isn’t necessarily what creates the bond, but we can go on fooling ourselves. I did.

We date not just because it’s fun, it’s that too, but we date because it’s important. So to emphasize the magnitude of its importance I put together a little list.

Why Dating your spouse should be a serious priority.

Commitment: By opening up to each other on dates, we build strong bonds that solidify our commitment to each other. This is important for the inevitable hard times that will hit. When either of us are at a low point, we have each other to pull us back up. Our emotional bond must be strong. How strong is your emotional bond at the given moment? If it needs some improvement, then odds are you aren’t dating each other enough.

Fun: Life with kids is hard. I know ruts are formed easily when little ones are young because everything is about keeping to their sleeping and eating schedule. Dates can pull us out of the mundane tasks and into a new experience. That’s why I think you gotta keep it fresh and try fun things. Planning a creative or unusual date creates lifelong memories you can cherish later on.

Romance: The “chemistry” and the novelty of a date bring out the passion in our relationship and can make you feel like you’ve just started dating each other all over again. Who doesn’t want to feel those butterflies you felt when you first started dating? Planning consistent dates with your husband or wife will help you fall in love with each other all over again week after week.

Communicate: This one is pretty obvious. We’ve all been in those kinda passive aggressive type fights. Bad communication just goes with the territory in a marriage with children, blended or not. Expectations can’t be managed properly if we aren’t conveying them to our spouse. Lack of communication creates resentment which turns into bitterness if not dealt with. Dating throughout marriage will combat these kinds of miscues.

Relax: Lastly, who doesn’t need stress relief every once in a while? Dates should be fun! Hubby isn’t just there for me for the rough patches, but for enjoyable moments too. We need to relax together. Enjoy each other. Make memories together during well thought-out date nights. You will never regret the time you put in planning a creative date instead of watching the next episode of a show you watch too much of.

That said, I’m looking forward to sharing some of our adventures in this space. There are so many neat affordable places to go and see and do, locally.

What do you like to do for dates?