July 08, 2008,
J.A. asks from Carlsbad, CA on July 06, 2008
Need Ideas on Ways to Spend Quality Time with Husband
My husband I are celebrating our 5th anniversary this month, and have been together for 10+ years. It seems as though complacency has set in already and we just seem to "coexist" and co-parent. We have a son who just turned two, but he seems to be our most common thread. My husband owns his own business (based in LA area), and has to commute at least 3 hours each day (3-4 times/week). He works really hard and is very successful, but is burned out by the time he gets home. He's a great dad and is so involved in helping take care of our son. We are both tired and it seems as if we're giving each other our bottom 10% of what we have to offer. We are aware of it now, but are not sure how to go about changing things. We used to travel together all the time. We would go out of town together every weekend, traveled the world together, and we used to have date night once a week. We moved to Carlsbad before our son was born and still have not found a babysitter (other than family who live 1-2 hours away). We are looking for ideas of things to do on the weekends either while our son is sleeping (he takes a 3 hour nap everyday) or things to do that involve our son as well. We're also looking for ways to connect everyday after my husband gets home from work (believe it or not, usually around 5 PM). We want to have another baby, but feel like we need to re-spark our relationship before that happens. We're best friends and in love, but we need to figure out a new way to keep the romance alive and stay connected.
T.R. answers from San Diego on July 07, 2008
Sometimes it is hard to remember to put your spouse first. It is awsome that you both are willing to work on it and want to make it a priority. Maybe make a weekend getaway and have the grandparents come to your house or drop your child of with them and just stay home but disconnect the phone and do not turn on the computer. My husband and I have made it a point to put the kids to bed early and have some alone time each night. And we try to have a date night every month ( even if it means going out at 4pm for dinner and being home by 7). And when you do not have a sitter you can find a movie or show that you child is really into and take that time to spend just the two of you in the other room. Or even do a little Bible study with each other. Writing little love notes to eachother can spark the fire too. Make little trips with your child that would be fun for the entire family.
For when you need a sitter maybe do a swap with a friend they watch your child while you go out once a month and then you watch their child once a month while they go out.
Tap into your church. They may have some recommendations for a sitter. It is healthy for a child to see that you have a strong relationship and it is important to keep it strong. Good Luck and God Bless.
E.N. answers from San Diego on July 07, 2008
Hi Julia! I am excited for your marriage, that you were able to communicate and work on this together. The Lord is so good isn't he? Now that it light later you and the family could go for walks on the seawall, or on the sand. Bring a bucket and collect things along the way? You could picnic at various parks, there are so many in and around Carlsbad. Bring a big sheet and relax to eat before you hit the playground.
Since you mentioned you are Christians, i am sure you regularly fellowship somewhere. Is there any families you are close with that would be able to babysit, or respondsible teens?
As for growing in your faith together maybe you could start a bible study together, or read from the Word before you go to bed at night together. My husband and i started a GOOD study, though i admit we have not finished it YET. It is called Home to Home, and it is great. If you want info on where to get it, let me know. I pray the Lord will bless you greatly in your marriage as you commit it to Him!
A.F. answers from San Diego on July 07, 2008
Capitalize on the city you live in. There are so many beautiful parks and beaches in Carlsbad. My husband and I (and now our 2 year old) go to the beach every couple of weeks. We usually get mexican food then head down to the beach in Carlsbad. We bring beach toys for our son and we just hang out until sundown. Then head home to put the little one to bed. It's really low key and very relaxing.
The key is to go even if you're tired. I am usually the one that is too tired to go, but my husband always pushes me out the door. He knows how much I'll enjoy it once I'm out of the house! Good luck and there is some good advice before mine!
By the way... we've been married for 9 years this summer and together for 11. Make time for each other no matter what!
S.O. answers from San Diego on July 07, 2008
We have two kids and family about 1-2 hours away as well so I know that finding alone time with each other is very hard.
Do you have any Mommy friends where you could swap babysitting? You babysit her kids for one Saturday afternoon and then she babysits yours the next Saturday afternoon? My good friend and I want to do this once her youngest is old enough (her baby is just 6 weeks old so we will have to wait on this another few months) just so we can have a little couple time once a month or so.
You could also ask your closest relative if they wouldn't mind coming down once a month and spend the night so you and DH could do dinner and a movie one night. My parents or my sister do this once every other month or so.
We are also Christians and one day hope to be able to attend a marriage retreat :). Our church also offers a family retreat and hopefully next year we can do that as well.
And since you have just one child right now, if you can afford it, I would do some travelling. It does get harder logistically to travel with another kid, but it is still manageable. My DH and I would drop my son off at my parents in LA then spend the weekend at Disneyland. When he was about a year old he stayed the week at my parents while DH and I celebrated our anniversary at Club Med in Cancun. We just called every night right before his bedtime to talk to him. We also took our son on trips with us to South Dakota, San Francisco, San Diego (before we moved down here), Disney, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, Maryland, Texas and numerous camping trips. And now with our daughter we have gone to South Dakota and numerous weekends visiting my parents. With two kids it is harder to travel long distances and since we live here in San Diego we spend a lot of our weekends enjoying all that San Diego has to offer. We are planning a camping trip to Carlsbad State Beach for later this year and possibly a trip to San Francisco. And next year we will most likely go to Disneyland and Hawaii with family.
I have also heard that the Disney Cruises are nice for families. And they have babysitting onboard so you and DH and can get some alone time. I also saw that the Club Med in Cancun is now a family resort so they also offer day camps and day care for the kids. If we don't go to Hawaii next year, we will definitely be going to Club Med with the kids.
To spice things up a bit, since your DH spends a lot of time in the LA area, could you surprise him one day and drop off your son with your relatives, arrange for a hotel in the area where your hubby works, and have a night to yourselves?
Another idea would be a "Date Night In" where you and DH take turns planning the night and stay in. Dinner and a video. Lunch and a massage for your DH. Or something different like apple pie ala mode for dinner and a nice soak in the tub together.
Sometimes just to connect and talk, DH and I will split a winecooler and sit out in our spa with all the lights off and just the glow of the moon after the kids go to bed.
We also used to work out together in the garage when we only had 1 kid. It gave us a chance to do something together, get a good work out, make fun of each other, and talk.
Good Luck. Use your imagination and I am sure you and DH will think of fun things to do together and as a family.
B.F. answers from San Diego on July 07, 2008
I Know where you are coming from.
Do not lose touch with "date night" and dress like you did before the baby. You need a babysitter and restaurant reservations, that's all. Stay away from shows like Oprah and Dr. Phil and open up that Victoria Secret catalog fot that "after dinner" time when junior is down for the night.
E.N. answers from San Diego on July 08, 2008
You've already got some great suggestions for dates and things to do. I would also recommend "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. If you and your husband know each other's primary love languages and "speak" them, that will help you to feel much closer. This helps to keep the romance alive, or the "love tank" full - as he calls it. My husband and I like to read together, and that would be a great way for you to read the book together, and talk about it as you go along. There are also lots of good couples devotionals - that's something you could do together after your son is asleep and it will help you grow closer to each other and to the Lord at the same time.
Hopefully, you are connected to a good church - you could talk to the youth pastor or one of the youth workers for any recommendations for sitters. Also, get involved with the women's ministry or see if there is a mom's group (if your church doesn't have one, my church, Calvary Chapel Oceanside has a "Moms and Tots" group - you don't have to be a part of our church to come to it - we're on break for the summer but will restart in September). It's not only a great thing for you and your son to be involved in, but you might get some good recommendations for sitters, or find another mom interested in a trade.
You could also see if your church has a couples mentoring program. My husband and I are in a similar place as you and we have just signed up for a mentoring couple to meet with. We have 2 kids and it seems like life revolves around taking care of the kids and we just co-parent and coexist (like you said) so much of the time. We're hoping this will put a spark back in our relationship and help us remember how to be husband and wife, and not just mom and dad.
I live in Oceanside and if you want another Christian mom to hang out with, let me know (my boys are 3 and 2 so they're close in age). It seems like our summer got busy since I started trading care with another mom, but we can figure something out if you're interested in getting together. I wish you all the best!
J.C. answers from San Diego on July 07, 2008
I feel like I can identify with you because this is also my fifth year of marriage and we have a 3 year old. I think one thing that actually helped my marriage was not having a job so far from home. During the early part of our marriage, I traveled about 4 hours per day back and forth to work. I think maybe (since you say that your husband's business is based in LA), you should discuss the possibility of moving closer to his work. That way, he would not be so tired out by commuting and you could spend more time together. There is also a company that does a really wonderful job with babysitting and comes to your home. It is called Seeking Sitters and can be found at www.seekingsitters.com We started using them a few months ago, as we don't know any of our neighbors well and our family is all geographically distant. Also, something else that might help you is Marriage Encounter or Retrouvaille. We were not having really serious problems but went through something like that a few years ago. It really helped us communicate better. Both of them have information in the internet. Good luck in your situation.