Featured Journal Kids Motherhood

We’re Dating Again…

Written by Ashli Brehm

A few months back, I wrote about my marriage. And how my husband and I love being married to each other. And we do. But over time, things, well… Things have changed. We’ve gone from just the two of us to the fab five. And while so much of everything that comes with that, with becoming a family of 5, is absolutely beautiful, we began neglecting something very important… At least for us. 

My husband and I live at the same address. We sleep under the same sheets. Very close to one another. Because we’re the type that like to be touching each other’s feet while we dream. I know… we’re those type of people. We brush our teeth next to one another in the morning. We eat dinner at the same table every night. And we parent together. We are a very coupled couple. Because that’s what works for us. And I believe we are just as made for each other as we were when we began dating. Maybe even moreso.

But about dating. Well. We quit dating. It wasn’t a conscious decision. In fact, it seemed to sneak up on us. And then, just like that, we hadn’t been on an us “date” since since before my chest was full of milk.  

It’s just too much work. You know what I mean? We have had a sitter or family help with the kids only a handful of times over the past year. And those have been for each other’s birthdays and for events that we were either helping with or invited to. Not for a casual night out for one-on-one time. And when we have been out without children, it’s rarely been leisurely. Or included looking into the white’s of each other’s eyes and talking about our next vacation, or his work, or my aspirations. There has been far too little of that. 

I actually didn’t even realize it. I was completely unaware that we’d slowly cut out time with just the two of us. Because we would talk about getting a sitter. We’d go through calendar planning, we’d mull around ideas. We would discuss movies we’d want to see and restaurants we’d want to try and then we would sort of forget about the actual trying of it all. And then the weekends magically appeared and no sitter had been acquired. Not that it really mattered because we’d made it through another week and were content to have down time, sitting on the couch and breathing the same space. We had even made a concerted effort to put babysitting dollars in our monthly budgets. But we were failing at follow-through. We were each knocking the things off our lists by covering for one another… But time with just us was at an all-time premium. 

And then, I had a moment where it occured to me, we need us. It was at our church progressive dinner {yes. My church is fun like that}. All of the children were to stay at the first house with babysitting aged children as we moved on to the second and third {again, my church is cool like that}. And so, with the babe fed and the bigs happily playing, we parted. And by the time we returned, our youngest nugget was splotchy-faced and drippy-eyed. Until he was back in my arms… Then magically, the world was a better place. And I realized, this child gets more of me than my husband does. Way more. And so do his brothers. And while I love them, I also love him. He deserves more of me. And I, of him. So, the minute we had all three tucked in their car seats, I texted our go-to sitter, the one the boys love, the one that is more like family, and begged her to be free and wanting to spend her precious weekend time with three under 5. 

No more excuses. No more being too tired. No more fretting over the babe taking a bottle or the second boy potty training. We needed to start dating again.

We weren’t in a bad place. Not at all. We could have gone on for another year like that, or more, I am sure. Because we still make each other’s hearts go boom boom boom. We still help each other. We still talk, text, and laugh. And we still canoodle {ahem}. But I think, eventually, not giving each other time well, it would have caught up with us and we would have thought how did we get here? Because I know us. And I know that both of us value quality time.

I remember that a few years ago, I heard a statistic that the average married couple with children talk 40 minutes a day. Bogus, I thought. We had one child at the time and I hadn’t a clue how people could possibly not take the time to nurture their marriages and their children. But now, I feel like I could see how couples get there. Because the reality is, no matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day. And when you are parents, or have a career, children and/or work take a good chunk of that time. And so we forget to date. We forget to communicate beyond what’s for dinner and whose taking who to where. We forget that we still require time that is without reminding someone to take bites. Helping wipe bottoms post-bathroom stops. Or doing math homework. We forget that even the strongest of plants need water and sunlight. 

I’ve long been the mother who vows to put my marriage ahead of my children. Yes. You read that correctly. I’ve declared, time and time again, that it is important to us that we nurture our marriage in order to effectively co-parent. I’ve yelled from the rooftops that we were us first, before they came along. But over the last six months, my words, it would seem, have fallen on deaf ears. My own, in fact. Because I can’t always put my spouse first. It’s impossible. But I can make him a priority. Just like I do for our kids. 

So we started dating. 

And, oh my dear, it was marvelous. The whole weekend we dated each other. Three dates. One weekend. To make up for lost time. We didn’t plan for three, we planned for one, and the other two were a bonus. Because once I was in the mindset of dating my husband, I reevaluated, yet again, what dating is. 

The weekend just felt different knowing that Saturday was set for a date. And I think that’s perhaps, why Friday night turned into a date night in of sorts. While we often park our tooshies on the couch next to one another in the evenings usually, there are glowing screens taking our attention. So when the hubs grabbed a bottle of wine on the way home, something that I’ve steered pretty clear of since nursing our third belly-aching babe, Friday night took on a different shine. We decanted. Put the kids to bed. And poured a couple of glasses. We put the phones and laptops away. And we snuggled up on the couch. We tried to decide, for over a half hour, what we should watch and settled on catching up on a series we both like. And we rested. Relaxed. With each other. And Olivia Pope. But each other, just the same. And that was that. {Okay… There may have been a wee bit more to date night. I mentioned the wine, right? wink wink, nudge nudge…} And so, a weekend of dating had commenced.

We were back in the game. And it felt nice.

If Friday’s theme was wining, Saturday was dining, with date day. Day dating, something that I never would have considered a date prior to children. Because doing things, just the two of us, during the day prior to children, well, that was called the weekend. But with kiddos, sometimes you’ve gotta get creative. And sometimes, you want to shakeup from the uzh. And so a day date, which takes you away from being the Meal Sargeant/Planner/Cleaner Upper and the bedtime crew, well, I think sometimes that’s enough to make you feel a little bit wild and free. So we successfully booked our fave non-family sitter and headed out to catch a bit of the football game. And when the game got a little lackluster, we changed it up. We did a little shopping which was a nice change from doing the Supermarket Sweep game with little people. We went out for a meal that the children would have gagged on. And we got to enjoy something we’d not noshed on for over a year+ as it was my first opportunity for sushi since I became pregnant with the youngest. We ran into friends, a welcome addition to an already relaxing day, and shared a drink, and some laughs. And, the piece de resistance… We were home by 9:30 to set the sitter free. I know, we’re two wild n crazy guys. 

And then, we had our third date. Church. Are you calling shenanigans on that one? If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would ever refer to church as a pseudo-date, I, too would have called shenanigans. Well, again, it’s all in how you define a date. And for now, I’m defining it as quality one-on-one time with the hubs. So, for the first time… the first Sunday in awhile that we’ve been to church together and that neither of us had roles in the service… we put the babe into the nursery. With the big kiddos in Sunday school and the babe happily at play, we sat next to each other, and listened. And not only did we get to actually listen, we got to hear. We got to hear the words of the prayers, the sermon, and the music. It was refreshing. 

The whole weekend was. I wasn’t just a mom. I was a wife. A creature who loved intentionally. And I loved feeling that way. I loved feeling my shoulders loosen a bit. And looking at my husband and thinking that I love being married to him for the cool, smart, dreamboat that he is… That I love having conversations with him, and dreaming about our future… that I love the boy he was when I met him and the man he’s grown into… not that I just love what a great dad he is.

On a daily basis, we love each other. But we don’t always date. We don’t always flirt. We don’t always make the extra effort. Not because we don’t want to. But because it’s doesn’t feel like we need to right now. Because of our wash n’ go marriage. And the needs of our 3 under 5. But last weekend, we dated. And it was just what the doctor ordered.

Have you stopped dating your spouse? If so, how will you get back out there? And if you are intentional with your dating life, how do you make it happen? 

About the author

Ashli Brehm

Ashli Brehm = Thirtysomething. Nebraska gal. Life blogger. Husker fan. Creative writer. Phi Mu sister. Breast cancer survivor. Boymom. Premie carrier. Happy wife. Gilmore Girls fanatic. Amos Lee listener. Coffee & La Croix drinker. Sarcasm user. Jesus follower. Slipper wearer. Funlover. Candle smeller. Yoga doer. Pinterest failer. Anne Lamott reader. Tribe member. Goodness believer. Life enthusiast.

Follow me at http://babyonthebrehm.com/

7 Comments

  • I am right there with you! My husband and I try to date too. Since we both love movies we try to do dinner and a movie date as much as possible. With all the theaters in Omaha now that serve adult drinks and meal, it makes the dinner/movie combo easier to sneak away for.

    • What are movies? Just kidding;). I have been known to fall asleep in movie theaters over the last five years so we’ve not been as frequent of movie goers but I think you hit the nail on the head… Finding ways to so things you like together is really the point. Do you two go to Cinedine? Once I can eat butter again, a movie will be back on the docket for sure… Because the popcorn is where it’s at, for me:). Thanks for reading.

  • We have gone to Cinedine before and I really like it a lot. We also have gone to The Majestic out 144th (I think, maybe 132nd) and Maple they also serve food and alcohol, and also have the comfy lounge chairs. Which if you fall asleep in movies already may be too hard to stay awake. ;).
    Omaha is getting a new theater like Cinedine (only so much better) called Alamo Drafthouse. They started in Austin, TX and I have been to one down there and they have really perfected the eat dinner/get drinks movie experience. The ones in Austin also have lots of fun special shows and events. It is going to be off of I-80 by Cabelas.

    • What?! Alamo Drafthouse is coming here? I am so outta the loop these days!! I love Alamo! We lived in Austin and were big fans. Our one experience at Cinedine paled in comparison… The server spilled an entire tray of food during the movie:(. That is awesome news!!! Although, a movie date with the really comfy chairs would allow me to multitask date night with nap night. Win/win!

      • I agree Cinedine pales in comparison to Alamo Drafthouse. Drafthouse is going to be very close to where I live too. We are super excited. I am really hoping they do some of the events that the Austin ones do.

    • I love that you and your husband date! I would love to know if you felt like getting a sitter for three made it harder? I feel like asking one person to care for three is a lot more than two and then I find my pool of sitters shrinking. I am hoping it will feel less anxiety-laden post our youngest’s first birthday. And thank you for your sweet words. I love writing and feel so fortunate that people will read anything I write. Thank you a million and one times over:).