Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Intention: Marriage

What I want seems simple. I want to strengthen my marriage and feel closer to G. Rachael said it perfectly in her "new year" post: "...we're still relatively strong, but the day to day business of taking care of young kids has made our connection less personal somehow." But how to rekindle the connection? I'm not quite sure.

One of the major sticking points for G & I is bedtime. Not the kids' bedtimes but ours. I like to go to bed early, G likes to stay up late. Thus, for the past few years, I've almost always gone to bed alone. I hate this. With life being so busy and chaotic during the day, their is no time for us to talk or connect. Then I get a quick kiss good night and lather, rinse, repeat. The few times we have gone up to bed together we've always ended up talking about topics light and heavy, laughing together or reassuring each over the events of the day. I just feel more relaxed and open alone in our room (especially when we have guests/family) than elsewhere in the house. And we can be physical (and I'm not even talking about THAT)...foot rubs, back scratches, cuddling to sleep...that's what happens when we go to bed at the same time (and yes, THAT may also happen more often!). I see this is an important opportunity for connection; for making me feel like I'm married and not just living in the house with a coworker in our parenting job.

Yes, we've talked about it, and usually after we have the talk and I cry and express how important this is to me, he'll come up to bed early for a few days and it'll be great. Then he'll start getting antsy again, sighing when I mention going to bed, mentioning that he's not tired, complaining about "never getting any time to myself". And I start to feel like a nag---and I back off and we are back to "good night see you tomorrow".

I wrote all this to convey how much I value and miss daily connection with G. "Date night" a couple times a month, or even a weekend away isn't what I feel our marriage needs. I want to talk to G (again) and really come up with a daily time to talk and be together for even 15-20 minutes. (Maybe he can stay up late a few days a week and come to bed on others? Or he can come upstairs for a few minutes when I go up, to chat?)  And I'm going to try to be more open and honest during those talks...to really discuss what's on my mind rather than planning next week's meals or reminding him to call the roofers.

Now I have to find a time for us to talk about finding a time for us to talk!

I know this is a very individual and personal issue, but any advice or tips you have on staying connected with your partner during busy times is quite welcome!

5 comments:

  1. This post really resonated with me. My husband needs to go to bed early because he gets up at 4:40 to go to work. I... do not need to get up that early (thank GOD). I still try to go to bed with him since -- as with you and G -- this is the only time during the week when we get alone time. I recently had to bad the Kindle Fire from the bedroom because he had started watching it after we went to bed. Which, can I say, completely destroyed together time.

    Recently during a bout of pregnancy induced insomnia I also experimented with getting up with him and talking in the early morning (he's much more awake and able to talk in the morning than when he's passing out on the couch in the evening), and it worked out really well. I am hoping that one of the side effects of having this baby will be that I will have to get up early with him more often, and that we'll get more quality time to talk then.

    I was also thinking that I used to really love preparing meals with him. Maybe one day a week, we can do something more elaborate than our usual. We'll see how difficult that becomes when the offspring arrives.

    I'm not sure how helpful any of this is. I think all couples struggle with this problem over time, and it's so easy to fall into trap of just trying to get things done, and not spending quality time together.

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  2. I know that we have exactly the same struggles. Ours are made worse by the fact that g doesn't go to sleep until 11:30/12:00, when we do.

    I could use some advice in this dept myself but it strikes me that maybe you guys could find a small window before you go to bed. Perhaps you could stay up just a bit more with him and institute a little ritual - a night tea/glass of wine/milk/whiskey/whatever and a chat or something. I think something like that would make an enormous difference to us, even if it doesn't address the cuddling, etc.

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  3. OMDG, It's great that you recognized the issue and go to bed early with Luca. I think you'll find plenty of opportunity to talk during the early newborn days--you'll both be up at all kinds of hours--but these will disappear once the offspring becomes more demanding of your complete attention (and even more after (s)he can understand your conversations!)For us, B is our alarm clock so the mornings are not prime couple time.

    slowmamma: I like that idea a lot. A nightly glass of wine & chat sounds lovely.

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  4. Seriously. When I go back to med school in a year, and start residency, I have no idea when we'll ever talk. Unfortunately, I think this is part of "becoming an adult" which makes me a little sad. Hopefully we'll still find a way to make time for one another.

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