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Monday, January 31, 2011

Romance - man style!

To put it bluntly, Papa comes by romance more easily than me.  Sad but true.  It's easy for me to get wrapped up in the kiddos, packing lunches, PTO meetings, IEP meeting, and even the neighborhood Bunko game, and I can forget to make time for this man and this marriage that is the ultimate foundation for it all.

But oooops!  This is his post!  I'll just fall head over heels into those baby blues and let him blog for a bit!
Papa here.


I thought I would take a moment and be a guest contributor to the blog.  I picked one of the suggestions from the sidebar on the blog that I thought I could speak to. 


How do you and Papa keep the romance alive?

That is a very fair question, and at this time it does not come easily.  Most importantly Mama and I make our time together a priority no matter if it is sitting together watching a baseball game on tv (I am so lucky I have a baseball fan for a wife!) or going to the movies or just sitting and talking.  We are a couple first and parents second.  I know it does not always look that way from the outside, and honestly it doesn't feel that way all the time on the inside.  However, I know by what she does and what she says, that {after God} I, and we, are the the most important things to her.

Logistically all of this can be rather tricky.  When we tell our friends or neighbors what the bedtimes for the little ones is, often their jaws drop, and usually there is some utterance like, “how do you do that?” or “don’t the kids fight you on that?”  Then we explain that we are the “Parents” and it is not cruel and unusual punishment to have a schedule and stick to it. (This works for us.  Other families do it other ways, and that is great if that works for them.)   The little ones are in bed at 7:00, 6:30 when the nap times stop around age 4 or 5.  The middle ones are in bed at 8:00 and the older ones go to bed around 9:30.  For the older ones, Sunny, Liv, and Patch, we have a second rule after 8:00 is "quiet time" for Mama and Papa if we are watching TV, they can sit with us and watch as well, but we are not doing homework, fixing printers, or going to the store for supplies to finish the school project that is due in the morning, etc...  It is time for Mama and Papa to do what they want to do, including enjoying one another's company.  Then the friends/neighbor/nosy lady in the produce isle will say something like, “My kids would never put up with that.”  I still to this day do not know how to reply to that. I guess I shouldn't reply at all.  

We still date.  To us, this is just as important as our daily time alone.  It has become much more casual as the years go by, but we will go to dinner or a movie or if we’re in desperate need of getting some shopping done, we will make a “Costco run.”  I know there is very little romance to be found at Costco, but it is far more about being together than anything else. 

All of this would never happen if we did not have very understanding, helpful, caring, and loving older children.  Sunny, Liv and now even Patch, all understand our need to be a couple and to have our time. We have a "date night" about once a week.  The older kiddos watch the little ones about once a week after the babes have gone to sleep, thus giving us the freedom to be a couple.

PS - It helps to be in love, and I love my wife more and more each day.  I stand in awe of who she is and what a wonderful woman God gave me as a wife.  


God bless all of you.

PPS - I don’t know the first thing about blogging so if there is anything other than words included in this post, my wife did it.      

I could go on and on with the practicalities, but I agree with Papa that making our marriage and each other a priority is our biggest strategy to keeping the romance alive.

We may get some backlash here, but we do prioritize our marriage over our children and parenting.  My children's basic need for stability and a firm foundation are a priority.  It's SO easy to go overboard with parenting volunteering for the PTO, homeschooling, pediatrician and orthodontic appointments, packing lunches, reading countless books on parenting, soccer and little league practices, and the list goes on and on and on...  But how often do we find we ourselves committing this amount of energy in our marriages, spending this amount of time and thought to our spouse and our relationship?  I'm so guilty of this myself.

Papa and I do go out weekly and are so blessed to have the built-in baby sitters to accommodate us.  Often on our dates, we will find ourselves talking about the children nonstop, and will purposefully change the subject to refocus on us and our lives together.  Even prior to our babysitters, it was important to find time for us on a regular basis.  I have friends that call it "couch time,"  regular time for just mommy and daddy to sit together, uninterrupted, to just talk and connect.  Recently Papa and I have started going out to breakfast, after the littlest ones are off to preschool.  Over the years, the ways we have found to spend time together have changed, but since children have come, we have always made it a priority to have plain ol' time together.

It's easy for our marriage to get lost in the overwhelming task of parenting 6 children.  I want my marriage to be intentional, and to be honest, it's something I'm still working on.  Despite the myth, and even with 2 people God intends to be to be soul mates, marriage isn't easy.  It takes work, and it's work that never ends.  But with this work comes the biggest reward of all... the other half of my soul.  

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Consistent bedtime is a lifesaver for us (though Daddy is helping with science project right now because we were all sick all weekend and it is due tomorrow--oops!)

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  2. Cedar- You know we lay down the law and all, but you're SO right! Things come up and sometimes we do find ourselves with kiddos up past bedtime, working on a forgotten book report, missing a date-night, (like this week because Papa's business partner is coming in town.) It's important to be flexible with all the rules but still balance priorities.
    That's clear as mud.
    Nancy

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  3. last year shook our marriage a bit. you know almost all the reasons why. but take away preemie and adoption stresses, the mere fact that i've spent a total of two whole years of our marriage in bed either at home or in a hospital, and not wanting anything to do with him frankly, is no small thing. add in a career where he has traveled pretty much since we've been married, you've got some catching up to do.

    we are in recovery mode. trying to find each other again. dating is our key right now. and once a month isn't enough.

    we are doing on a date every weekend almost, sometimes both nights. grasping for air.

    we need sheer time together. i say i need one night to be pissed and to have the hard conversations, and then the next night to actually have fun and breathe easier.
    and yes, the hardest part is not talking about the kids the whole time. :)

    thanks for sharing, Papa.

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  4. Staci- I agree, once a month isn't enough. Daily to connect just the two of us, eye to eye, to talk and be together if only for 10-15 min, and a weekly date. And the flexibility to adapt. This is what works for us at least.
    Nancy

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  5. that was a good post. I agree that early bedtimes are a great thing for the kids. We have recently lost our available sitters and have gone way too long without a date night. It has taken a toll on us! Sure, we have been able to relax at home after they are in bed but it is not the same as getting out without the kids.

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  6. Thanks to both of you for being willing to share your perspectives on marriage and romance (I'm going to get my husband to read this post too when he gets home!) It is inspiring to those of us on the beginnings of this parenting journey and I appreciate the reminder and reinforcement that alone time together is not only OK, but necessary for our selves and then too our family! Nicole

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  7. It's so important to put the two of you as a couple first...that is what I think helped us recently celebrate our 25 year anniversary...and vow renewal.

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  8. I can really relate to this bedtime discussion. Since our biggers always went to bed at 6:30-7:00 I saw many a jaw drop! But it was salvation for us. Our little ones are now in about 7:30 and it's just enough time to have some alone time with our biggers before they crash - As for alone time for us it sometimes happen's in the middle of the night:) and
    I recently purchased a year's worth of coupons from restaurant.com so that would HAVE to go out alone once a month. I too LOVE having the olders to babysit. It's part of growing up and being family members. They love it too!

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  9. PS> We are planning on renewing our wedding vows too at an upcoming Sweetheart dinner that our church is hosting. It will be a sweet time to officially dedicate our marriage to our Lord and to lay it into His hands. We've not lasted almost 19 years on our own!

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  10. These are the exact things we do too! L is in bed at 7 each night. We also do the breakfast thing too. We love when we can go on a date and even considered parent/teacher conferences a date (okay so we stopped for a drink afterwards...shhhh....). Glad to know we are doing things "right". It works for us.

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