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I don't want to refer to Kyle as a "stale mate" so I won't. BUT we were growing a little "stale" in the relationship/dating category. Are there times in your marriage that you feel like you are living with you roommate instead of your lover?:).......
Nah, me neither;)
But, I have attended some excellent enrichment classes lately that have really gotten me thinking.
How much time do I spend "dating" my husband?
I know I spend a lot of time cleaning, and fixing dinner, and grooming the kids, being annoyed, irritated, and frustrated and maybe a little bit on blogging.
It makes sense that Kyle and I should be spending a lot more attention on one another since we are supposed to spend like FOREVER with each other.
We decided to turn our game on! Have I mentioned before that we like games? We aren't the board game kinda of couple (although we try every few months to pull out a game and pretend we are having the time of our lives). We do like a little friendly competition and we are always looking for ways to strengthen our family and our marriage. So thanks to some enrichment ideas, as well as some ideas from some wonderful friends, we are ready to invest some more time in each others' well being:)
2. Dating on a budget Date at home : We alternate weeks and take turns surprising each other with our genius dating plans (confession--we were going strong for about a month...and then, well excuses, excuses!...we are ready to start again THIS week!)
3. Playing a game called our Our lovely little Jar. I'm looking for the link to this but I can't find it right now. Basically we have a little jar and we are supposed to each choose one (keep it a secret) and perform that service during the week. I'm sure some people think it doesn't count because the idea wasn't he/she's idea. Well, I don't care about that. We are having fun and here is what we chose this week (we decided to just choose one to do together): "This week issue a romantic report card. Grade each other A-F in the following categories: intimacy, creativity, gifts, communication, thoughtfulness. Be sure to talk about this one! As you are honest with each other, this can help you enrich your marriage in many ways. Keeping the lines of communication open is very important in every marriage." Other ones have been...leave message in his/her lunch every day this week, compliment your spouse at least 2x a day this week, (Kyle) cook a special dinner for your wife (Emily). --Another thing I have learned over the years and that I keep on learning--men think differently than women, sometimes when we think they are being rude, they are CLUELESS!! Because, thank goodness, men and women have different brains!! FYI--I am TOTALLY beating Kyle on this report card thing. He is SO far behind, I don't think he can EVER catch up:)
4. Just plain talking. We have been spring cleaning around here in the last summer days (I guess we are closer to fall now) and I have come across some old letters and cards that we have given to each other. It has made for some fun subjects to talk about! Like how the cards that Kyle gave me in the beginning of our marriage were actually cards purchased at the store that had fun and loving and witty messages--But now, a few years later I am getting b-day messages written on computer paper...and this past year written on the back of some junk mail. We actually have a good laugh about this and I think it is just too funny! Kyle and I haven't really had a hard time talking (well hello, those of you who know me, know I never have a hard time talking) and Kyle DOES participate when he knows he needs to:) Sometimes we just talk about the yesteryears because it is always fun to talk about how we were smitten back in the day with no kids and how we are smitten still but with a little more baby drool and peanut butter fingers in between. I know some people have a hard time conversing in their marriage--you can always make a jar for this to help give you topics to talk about. A little more work, but I'm sure it is worth it!
Through the year of talking to others about their relationships, reading, and yes, Enrichment, I have found one thing that is key to doing any of these games. Humility. If I'm angry with Kyle because he didn't remember to choose a note from the jar and think, "why does it always have to be me who remembers this stuff? Doesn't he care? Doesn't he realize we are supposed to be a TEAM?" The games aren't fun. It doesn't matter whose idea it was, just that it is a GREAT idea. Woo hoo if it is you/me every time! Points for you/me! I have also found that TIME is an issue...is it the right time to work on these things? I am too busy, I just had a baby, we just moved, we don't have a job right now, etc. etc...there will always be excuses! We have to start now and continue to do the things that will strengthen our marriage and our family.
What do you do to keep the relationship growing so that when the kids stop growing, you aren't stuck with a stale mate?
Over the years I have done many "programs" and "systems" in our family...I have tweaked and twisted them over the years to find what works best for us. I am still trying to figure it all out but here are some things we do in our family to STRENGTHEN our family. Read more HERE
Roo you are 8 months old now! You are still a sweetie and so much fun. Getting teeth is not so much fun though. You have 2 but I'm sure you have a whole mouth load just wanting to pop up--because you have been a little fussy and a lottle drooley.
I am still learning to juggle all the different parts of my life. I know most people do this throughout their lives but I am out to master this one NOW. I want to have that happy balance that works for me and my family.
I've been really thinking about what that is for me....asking myself a lot of questions.
Do I spend enough quality time with my children? no
Am I spending enough energy on "dating" and "appreciating" my husband? no
Will my house ever be free of clutter? no
How many programs, chore charts, schedules, family cheers is too many? not sure yet...still working on this one.
Does blogging have a place in my balanced life? yes!
Well, at least I'm doing one thing right!
All joking aside, I'm excited to get this balance in my life. I'll let you know when I do. Hopefully very very soon. But until then...