Lets’s face it, keeping a house and family running is a job. Fortunately, BJ and I both agree it is the most rewarding and worthwhile “job” of our lifetime. It’s not our day jobs that we’ll count as the greatest blessing in our lives. Raising a family will be our legacy.
Meanwhile, we have a marriage to nurture, which is quite different from nurturing our family. We have multiple roles in life as person, parent, and spouse. As parents, we relate as partners. We make decisions, compromises, and maintain responsibility for the “whole” family. As a spouse, we relate as a part of a couple.
That’s why we made it a goal to give ourselves opportunities to be a couple by taking date nights or even overnight date-aways. Do you remember when you first met your spouse and could dedicate your undivided attention to that person? We have tried to keep that alive. It’s like taking a day off from the job as parents. We give ourselves permission to be somewhat less responsible and share more of the private things that will only be shared with that one most intimate person.
While I’m certain this would help any marriage, it is especially important for us in a second marriage, or what we call a blended family. We married at a time when we each already had children. The instant family situation didn’t leave much time for courtship as a couple. We were still learning each other when we introduced our children into the picture and were all learning each other. It’s like trying to catch a train that’s moving.
We have averaged one date night per month (and sometimes more). That’s close to the time off accrued at most jobs, lol. Joking aside, my dates with my husband have been wonderful. He is playful and funny, typical of him really, but even more so when we are alone together. His eyes are on me rather than acting as the shepherd and guardian of the family. My attention is on him and being completely relaxed that I have nothing else to tend to as the gatherer and nurturer of the family.
We support each others’ interests, complete bucket list activities, and explore things that we have both said we’ve always wanted to do.
We’ve had date-aways as close as 12 miles from home for a writing conference and as far away as Jamaica for our honeymoon. Each getaway is equally important quality time spent together. Of course, we worried about how the children will accept us taking time away, but they have been extremely supportive and encouraging. Overall, the hope is that they reap the benefits of us returning as a stronger couple. (While we miss them tremendously when we’re gone and can’t wait to see them again, leaving Jamaica was hard!)
We talk about shared interests, and flatter each other with words and attention. This has strengthened our young marriage (we just celebrated our one year wedding anniversary) and pushed us through the hurdle of that first year adjustment. It gives us a chance to balance the adjustment by exercising the role that we have as simply husband and wife. That is why we decided to make it part of our lifestyle.
© 2015 Amanda Bourg