My husband and I are just as deliriously happy now as we were when we met almost a decade ago. In that decade, our toddlers have become a tween and two teens and we added another child into the mix, who is in the midst of her threenagerdom.
So our delirious happiness, that once stemmed from the joy we found in each other, is still there. We are, however, somewhat more delirious due to years of broken sleep. But even with temperamental toddlers and moody teens, it’s possible to keep the romance alive. Here are the 3 ways we maintain the balance:
Relationship experts often recommend regular date nights every couple of weeks or so. The idea is to find someone to look after the kids, dress up and go out somewhere nice. You maybe have a drink, something to eat and flirt with your partner as if you were a young, child-free couple without a care in the world. The reality can be quite different. This is one of our more recent “date nights” for you:
The time was 2 pm. The teenage kids had engaged in an x-box session. They had provided the toddler it a controller of her own (not plugged in) so that she could be part of the fun. When we announced we were going to Woollies, no one wanted to come, least of all the 3 year old who was clearly winning. As it would be a quick trip, we decided to leave the elder kids in charge. We made sure they had a mobile phone (charged) with all emergency numbers on it. They knew what neighbour to run to if the house spontaneously combusted. They knew not to answer the door, not to use the stove, not to touch the thermomix and not to try to drive the other car. We were set. It wasn’t night time, but we take what we can get around here. We threw on our thongs and I pulled my hair back into it’s customary mum-bun. We were “dressed up”.
A short time later, we parked the car and strolled into the supermarket, hand in hand. We took our time selecting toilet paper; I like the recycled, eco-friendly kind but my husband is fond of the best quality one that happens to be on special. He agreed to the eco-friendly one- there you go, “flirting” was covered. At the checkout, we eyed off the soft drinks and smiled knowingly at each other as we grabbed a couple- there was a two for the price of one special, after all. We made the short trip home and sat in the driveway for a minute, finishing our drinks so we could put the evidence straight in the bin without having to put up with the outrage when they realised we’d gotten a drink but they hadn’t. We didn’t even have to communicate it; our eyes met and we just knew. When we went inside, it was like we shared a secret. Little smiles, winks here and there- we were like teenagers ourselves. It was the best 25 minutes we’d had together in a while.
The magic words
A poll in America revealed that saying ‘I love you’ and being able to apologise were some of the most important things you can say in a happy relationship. I remember my own mother telling me it was important never to go to bed cranky, so I can see how this should work. And reminding your partner that you love them is essential. It shows them how highly you value them and illustrates how comfortable you are with your feelings because you express them often and freely. Another thing this poll revealed was that many people swear by having at least three arguments per month, which I guess makes it much easier to make up the apology quota.
We tend to fall down when it comes to the arguing. I’m pretty passionate about many things but my husband is non-confrontational by nature, so we have to annoy each other in different ways to get enough apologies in there, which are always made better with a declaration of love. Things like “I’m sorry , I know you have your period, but I still ate all the chocolate. But I want you to know that I love you.” Or “I forgot to tell you, I said I’d work an extra shift on Saturday. So you get to take the kids to two different soccer games and a basketball match. Miss 3 will have to tag along. Sorry. I love you. Bye!” You know, that kind of thing. We may not argue, but we know how to make up for it, because our happiness is important!
The one thing that people who have been married/partnered for a long time will list as a key to a successful relationship is keeping things going in the bedroom. Some will suggest weekly trysts between the sheets but others will suggest that it’s quality and not quantity that’s important. We are, as parents of 4 children, usually not in a position to go for quantity, anyway. So we aim for quality. It may not happen often, but when it does, well… Let me just recount one of our recent encounters.
We were both at home on a rare weekday. The big kids were all at school. The 3 year old has been down to a “sometimes” day nap for some time now, however, the night before had been particularly restless due to the heat. She’d been up late, then tossed and turned and as a consequence, so had we. It was 11 am when she passed out on the couch. I laid her down and tucked a light blanket over her because she was right under the air-con. My eyes met my husband’s eyes. I winked and quirked one eyebrow towards the stairs. Should we? His face lit up. “I’d know those bedroom eyes anywhere!” he said. We raced up the stairs and fell into bed… Where we napped for a solid hour and a half before Miss 3 woke up. Bliss.
How do you keep the romance alive?
This originally appeared here on Kidspot as 10 years and 4 kids: This is how we keep our relationship healthy.
#FYBF @ With Some Grace.