Genesis 2:18: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him’” (NIV).

In honor of my husband’s birthday, and us just celebrating our 13th anniversary earlier this month, I want to take you on a stroll down memory lane with me today.  Not so much so that you get a glimpse into our lives, but so that it will make you stop and think about your own journeys with your own loved ones.  

When we were dating, it was very easy to make our relationship my number one priority, second only to God.  I would anxiously await the mail every Tuesday because I would get letters or cards letting me know that I was being thought of.  The weekends were spent hanging out with my now-husband and his best friend.  We would rollerblade, go to the park, and spend time at the beach…building memories to last a lifetime.  

It was fun to listen to all their stories, learning some of his “favorites.” I loved getting a chance to surprise him days or weeks later with a surprise.  One time specifically I went to the mall and had fun buying him stuff “just because.”  I guess I went a little crazy in Bath and Body Works since he started to question whether or not I thought he smelled bad.  He didn’t - I just went wild with their great sale.  Being together was definitely my favorite thing.  

Then we got married…first one, then two, and then three kids came.  Work got busier, schedules filled up, and then we added the kids’ activities too…well, I don’t need to remind anyone about how crazy life can get.  And, even though my husband is still the most important person to me besides God, I don’t always do such a great job showing him that.  By the time the kids’ problems are resolved, laundry and other chores are completed, dinner cleaned up - where is there any time to make the one I love feel special?  

There are many articles out there talking about how there needs to be regular date nights to keep the spark alive, but in all honesty, I can’t seem to schedule regular haircuts, let alone find the time or money to schedule elaborate date nights even once a month.  Our idea of a date night is dropping the kids off at his parents’ house (next door) and running a few errands together. 

Even though I agree that date nights are important, I don’t think it has to be elaborate all the time.  Sometimes, depending upon the kids’ ages, taking a walk down the street and leaving old-enough children at home with a walkie-talkie is spontaneous, cheap, and a fun way to reconnect with your spouse.  If the kids are too little, strap them in a stroller and take the walk, while your little one(s) eat a snack or read a book.  We love to go hiking.  When our oldest kids create adventures far enough ahead of us, that gives us uninterrupted time to laugh and talk keeping them safely within eye site.  Sometimes, sending our kids to their rooms an hour or so before bedtime to watch a movie gives us some alone time to enjoy a favorite sitcom.  That is little, but it speaks volumes.  It shows my husband that I am putting him and our relationship before our children.  It doesn’t matter so much what you are doing as the fact that you are purposefully doing something.  

I used to worry that I was sending a message to our kids that they weren’t important and only their dad mattered.  But I’m finding that there is quite a bit of research out there to contradict that false mom guilt.  An excerpt below proves what I’m saying:

Marriage is the foundation upon which your entire family is structured…In addition, your children will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel secure when they know that Mom and Dad love each other…When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference” (“How to Have a Happy Marriage When You’re Busy Parenting” by Elizabeth Pantley).