10 Tips for Staying Connected as a Couple – and Preventing School, Sports and Kids’ Activities from Taking Over Your Life!

Couple hands heart with textFor most families, life is about to get crazy.  If you have children from preschool through high school, you’re probably bracing for the onslaught of homework, projects, sports, lessons and activities.  Even if you don’t have school-age children, you know that many activities – work, church, community and volunteer – swing into high gear in the fall.

Are you worried about losing the “couple” part of your life for the next 9 months?  Here are 10 tips for staying connected as a couple when things get a little crazy:

  • Establish your marriage as the primary relationship in your family.  Have you and your husband set your priorities for this school year? If you value your marriage and want to keep it strong in spite of a hectic schedule, set a priority to establish it as the center of your family life.  You won’t be taking anything away from your children; you’ll be adding to their sense of security and helping them understand what it takes to create a lasting marriage.
  • Control your family’s schedule, rather than letting it control you.  This doesn’t mean your children shouldn’t do activities, but it does mean you and your husband should talk and decide which activities are reasonable in terms of your family’s time, energy and finances.
  • Make time to talk every day.  When things get busy, it’s easy to go for days without talking about anything other than schedules, carpools, pick-up times and errands.  Be intentional about taking at least 15-20 minutes every day to really talk with your husband about what’s going on in both of your lives.  You can do it in the morning, right after work, before bed – whatever works for the two of you.  My husband and I drink coffee in bed for about 20 minutes every morning and talk while we’re waking up and preparing to face the day.
  • Go to bed at the same time, every night if possible but at least several times a week.  Going to bed together allows you to talk and unwind together and paves the way for sex and intimacy.  Speaking of which…
  • Make love regularly.  Yes, it takes time, and you’re often tired.  But it’s critical if you want to stay connected as a couple.  And it doesn’t always have to take a lot of time – while a long romantic interlude is great, sometimes a quick romp provides all the connection you need!
  • Set one evening a week as “parents’ night.”  Pick one evening each week and let the kids know you and your husband won’t be available for extracurricular activities, homework help, school project disasters, or anything else (other than true emergencies) that evening.  Put young children to bed as early as reasonable, and let older children work quietly on homework or other activities.  Then spend some time relaxing with your husband.  Ideally, this should be a set evening every week – you want your kids to learn to say, “No, I can’t ______ tonight.  It’s ‘parents’ night.’”  But realistically, it may need to change as work and school schedules change.
  • Plan at least one face-to-face activity (which many women prefer) and one side-by-side activity (which many men prefer) every week.  So, for example, you might enjoy a cup of coffee and some conversation at the kitchen table on Saturday morning, then paint a room together on Saturday afternoon.
  • Do some everyday tasks or errands together.  Once children come along, couples often “divide and conquer” the mundane tasks of everyday life.  She gets groceries and runs by the post office, he drops off the dry cleaning and picks up a prescription.  It’s efficient, but boring.  So once in a while, do some of those tasks together.  If you have grandparents or a teenage neighbor who will watch the kids for a couple of hours, use them!  And when your kids are old enough to stay home for a short time, let them!  Run some errands together, then do something fun, like stopping by a coffee shop or frozen yogurt bar.
  • Exercise together.  Walk, jog or bike together.  Train together for a charity walk or race.  Take a hike.  Anything that gets you moving together, preferably outside.
  • Plan regular dates.  At least once every two weeks, enjoy a date with your husband.  It doesn’t have to be the typical “dinner and a movie,” just something that gets you out of the house and lets you have fun together.  If you need some inspiration, check out these fun and healthy dates or ideas for adding some adventure to your marriage.

(And check out 8 more ways to stay connected as a couple!)

How do you and your husband stay connected as a couple when life gets crazy?  Please share your ideas in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.  Gaye

Sharing with Making Your Home Sing MondayLovely Ladies Linky, Mercy Ink, Medical Mondays, Six Sisters Stuff, Ladies Only Blog Share, We Are That Family, Pin It Saturday, Get Schooled Saturday, My Favorite Posts Weekend Blog Party, Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Pin It Forward Friday, Messy Marriage, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Mercy Ink, Fluster Buster, Pin It Tuesday, Happy Wives Club and Pin It Monday.

Comments

  1. says

    These are awesome! I love the “divide and conquer” one because that’s often what we used to do too, But I loved it when he would go shopping with me – still do! ;) Sometimes it may take longer to get something done together but it’s just so nice to have that “you and me” time. Also love the parent’s night! Thanks for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday!’

  2. says

    Such great advice! Thanks for sharing this list. While my kids are not school age yet, I see how easy it is to let raising babies come in the way of my marriage. My husband and I have been really intentional about carving some time aside for us so that we can also be better parents to our kids too.

    • GC says

      Hi Victoria – You and your husband are smart to recognize the potential problem and take steps to avoid it. I think that a lot of people don’t even recognize the problem, sometimes until they have drifted far apart.

      Gaye

  3. says

    Thanks for linking this article up with Medical Mondays. You always have such great advice, I should follow it more! I see several things I could improve on:-)

    • GC says

      Hi Melinda – Oh, I think a majority is great! I’m thinking that if people do 4 or 5, they are doing really well – lol!

      Gaye

  4. says

    I love your list here! It’s very real and ideal for every couple to get on board with. Staying connected is one of the hardest things to do when you have kids and crazy hectic schedules getting in the way. However, you’re right every little thing you can do throughout the course of your days and weeks makes a huge difference.
    My husband literally calls me on his way home from work and tells me all about his day at work and when he’s done he gives me the chance to talk (even if that means I’m chatting his ear off when he gets home.) Plus since I’ve started blogging, he’s become actively involved too. Now he’s been dictating blog posts too for our site. He makes darn certain he passes out our business cards for it. So, it’s become our family project, but it’s our business together. In a way, that has helped us stay connected.
    We have set nights a week already that we have set aside that we will make sure we watch shows together. It’s a lot more fun during the fall/winter time of year because we have more of them and we’re not up so late. Yet, we make it a point to find shows to watch each season together, and plain what days of the week we are going to have “our date nights.” Those are usually the night we have more fun together also.
    If you read my marriage posts, I talk about our relationship a lot. I love reading other people’s marriage posts too. :)

    • GC says

      Hi Crystal – Great idea about connecting by phone when your husband is on the way home from work. And I love the idea of your blog as a family business, with him involved with you in writing it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

  5. says

    Great tips! I often have to remind myself to invest in my marriage since it’s so easy to get swallowed up in the lives of our children. I’m stopping by from Ladies Only Blog Share & this is the prefect post for the theme this week!

    • GC says

      Hi Carrie – It is so easy to “lose” our marriages, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. We definitely have to focus on staying connected.

      Gaye

    • GC says

      Hi Summer – Thanks so much. And I love your post about questions that can help us connect with our husbands!

      Gaye

  6. says

    It all reads so simply and yet in the busy day to day of my life i forget to do most of these and we do suffer as a couple. Thank you. Found you on Pin it Forward Friday.

    • GC says

      Hi Karen – I know – it’s easy to say (or write), but not so easy to do! I think that if we pick one thing that will help us stay connected and do it consistently, our marriages will thank us!

      Gaye

  7. says

    Face-to-face activities vs. side-by-side activities. What an important distinction! I don’t think I’ve ever heard it expressed just that way before. THANK YOU!

    (PINNING THIS!!!)

    • GC says

      Thanks Daja. I can’t take credit for that idea. I’ve read it in a couple of places, and can see from the men in my life that it’s generally true.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

  8. messymarriage says

    These are great ideas, Gaye. I especially like the idea of getting up and having that cup of coffee in bed while you and your husband chat and slowly enter the day together. Sounds blissful! And I wholeheartedly agree that we need to be intentional about scheduling and seizing these opportunities to connect, otherwise we will drift–there’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it! Great words, my friend! Hugs to you!

  9. says

    Gaye,

    These are wonderful. I’m going to pass them along. My husband just came home the other night and said that so many people were talking about school starting up again and that meant they wouldn’t have free time or see their spouse anymore. ??? There is something wrong with this logic. Linking with Wedded Wednesday. Kim

    • GC says

      Hi Kim – I know – that’s crazy, isn’t it?! Like soccer, Cub Scouts and piano lessons are more important than having time with your spouse? Not at my house!

      Thanks for stopping by.
      Gaye

  10. says

    I better print this list because as you well say, it’s about to get a whole lot of crazy here in a few weeks. Good points throughout the list, in particular…Talking! at least 15 minutes a day! Thanks for sharing this insightful post at the Fluster Buster Party, I’m co hosting today, have a great week, Lizy

  11. christinemhutchinson says

    Love all these tips! Perfect reminders as things get hectic. Thanks for reminding us that it’s ok to put our marriages first.

  12. says

    Thanks Gay for all these tips. Very helpful. I like the “Control your family’s schedule, rather than letting it control you.”

Trackbacks

  1. […] Devote time and attention to your marriage.   Your children, job, house, church, school and social activities all clamor for your time and attention.  As a matter of fact, they are willing and able to devour all of your time and attention, and then some.  Don’t let them!  Your marriage desperately needs your time and attention too.  As a matter of fact, as long as your children are safe, secure and healthy, I’ll go out on a limb and say that your marriage needs more of you than anything on that list, not only for this season of your life, but also to lay a foundation for the season when your children are out on their own.  (Trust me on this – you want to have a good foundation in place when your youngest child goes off to college!)  This year, consider giving more of you to your marriage and less to things that don’t matter nearly as much.  (Here are some ideas to help you get started.) […]

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