Shortly after getting the kids to bed, which sometimes is as late as 9:00pm, a usual occurrence is for my wife and I to retire to our separate desks. She to the home office, me to the couch. It’s been a long day, and we both need a breather.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time our “breathers” happen apart from each other.
It’s hard to muster the energy and strength to spend time engaging in a relationship after a long hard day fighting spreadsheets, meetings, customers, and expense reports. For my wife, it’s the exhaustion of four kids, each with their own unique way of depleting what little energy she has at the end of the day. So, after the kids go to bed, we’re done.
The two of us meeting together for a budget meeting? Fat chance.
Discussing our weekend plans? That can wait.
Pursuing each other sexually? Unfortunately, sometimes that too dips too much into the reserves.
It’s no wonder that marriages today are ruled by reality television, Facebook (which is referenced in at least one out of every three to four divorces today), and the insatiable appetites we all have for sweets. Ice cream, despite it’s glorious tastes (Häagen-Dazs® peanut butter chocolate, thank you very much), only lasts for a few minutes and usually leaves a full stomach, numbed feelings, and an empty heart.
With or without kids, life takes our energy. The simple becomes complex, and what once seemed so natural turns into the most laborious of tasks. To fight against the relational gravity, which is that mystical force that pulls and pushes us away from those we want to live life with, here are a few suggestions.
- Pursue sex before bedtime. Sexual intimacy is a major adhesive in keeping connections alive. Sex is easy, fun, and exciting in the early days of marriage, yet usually drifts to something more reminiscent of a chore or a responsibility. If one or both of you wait until all the TV shows are over and you’re both in bed to pursue a sexual connection, chances are one will be too tired. Rejections are inevitable when sex is initiated after bedtime.
- Declare some evenings to be media-free. At least 2 nights out the week, refuse to turn on the TV, log in to Facebook, or to play video games (on phones, TVs, computers). Instead use this time to discuss your week, reconnect sexually, read a book together, or to work on something together. If media is present in your home more nights a week than you and your spouse are, you’re marriage will suffer.
- There are three main conversations that must be discussed monthly: Money, Money, and Money. Take one evening a month and do a budget together. I suggest Sunday evening. Then at the beginning of the month, disburse the savings, cash, and pay the bills together. Each of you needs to be involved and in the know about where and how your money is spent. Together is better. Lastly, in the middle of the month, take a look at the first half of the month and review your goals. Talk about what you’re wanting to accomplish, where you need improvement, and what action steps you have for the last half.
Our best energies in the evening don’t automatically go to our spouse, they will usually go to ourselves. If we wait for the other person to bring about connection, both husband and wife will find something else to connect with, be it a TV, computer, or book. Be intentional about giving your best to your marriage.