Saturday, February 13, 2010

Romance with Kids?

My friend Sarah has been asking me several questions about blogging, and she asked why most mommies blog about kids and parenting instead of marriage. I don't think I have a great answer to that question, but this post is dedicated to her question. I can say that it is not just because my kids have no idea what I am writing about them while my husband does. {In case you are wondering, I only had to edit one sentence before I posted this, and it was not something about Daniel, though he wishes I had more flattering words to say of him. *sigh*}

Neither Daniel nor I are very romantic. I used to be a little romantic, but once I had kids, time and finances have made it more difficult to be very romantic. Most birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays pass with little to no gift for my hubby. Sometimes, not even a card. Honestly, his love language is not gifts, so he probably does not care very much anyhow.

My husband is not a planner. But we are very fortunate to have parents who live close by and for the most part like being with our children, so we get to have a date night every now and then. We've never had a babysitter in our home, though if we could fit this in our budget somewhere, it would do us well. Our parents are not planners either, so we usually have to be flexible and say yes whenever they offer to keep the kids. Usually date nights consist of occasionally taking in a movie or getting dinner or chores at home that are easier to do without children underfoot or some combination of the three. When our kids are at home, most of our date nights consist of just sitting on the couch watching our favorite show, "Lost."

Most of the time, I am comfortable with the arrangement we have. I don't usually notice the lack of effort in the romance department and am content most of the time. Sometimes, however, I do have expectations and they occasionally get dashed like any other person with expectations that are not conveyed well. I am more of a planner myself, but I don't want to be the one making the plans for a romantic getaway. I want hubby to have put some time and thought into our romantic plans because my love language is quality time. As a young mom, this is one reason why I struggle with relationships so much. I don't often have much time for anyone other than my children and making time for others HAS to be purposeful or it will be forgotten. I struggle with this since my family members are less planning oriented. (I'm not a great organized planned person, just slightly more than family are.)

Anyhow, I had suggested to Daniel that we use some free travel points to get away sometime in the month of January before the baby comes. (I was thinking to myself MLK weekend would be good since Daniel has an extra day off). January came and went and no plans were made. So now I find that it is Valentine's weekend. Already I am too far into my third trimester and too pregnant for any sort of romantic getaway, so a romantic getaway is no longer on my radar, but I do want something, some flowers, a card, a date, anything thoughtful really. Heck, a phone call in the middle of the work day or an email might do the trick. {A few weeks ago my Princess gave it away at church that she has never seen her daddy bring her mommy flowers. It's just not really his style.} And I know hubby has no plan. Secretly this frustrates me. He wants me to tell him what I want. The nerve! Shouldn't he just know by now what I want? Haven't I told him numerous times what I like? The truth is I cannot really train a non-planner to plan something and thus give me love through quality time spent planning romance. He'll have to choose this on his own, and I know I need not hold my breath.

So I get up on this Valentine's Eve with him asking me if he should ask his parents to keep our kids. He decides that he will call them, and if they suggest keeping the kids, then we will have a date. This is no surprise to me. No suggestion is made by the grandparents, and so, we plan not to celebrate the big Valentine's Day at this house. No big deal really. I've come to roll with the lack of romantic punches.

However, Grandmaw, Daniel's mom, calls and asks to keep the kids for the day, picking them up for lunch and says she'll keep them for a while and bring them back in the evening, so we can go on a date. So we got to go on a date afterall, which was nice and greatly appreciated. It was our Valentine's/6 year anniversary date. This will probably be our last date before baby girl comes between now and my due date in 8 weeks. We went out to a fairly nice restaurant (nice means we did not have to use a coupon), had a nice meal, including an appetizer and dessert, with a secluded table, so we had some quiet conversation as well. I appreciate this kind of date more than I could ever begin to express.

Although semi-important I guess, our marriage was not founded in romance on the first place. It is only when I think about what I do not have in this department that I become unhappy and wishful, but if romance had been important to me in the beginning, I suppose we would not be married. Our marriage is founded on God, and it was He who brought us together and through Him alone, our love can last.

This means I have to purposefully focus on how Daniel does show me love: handwashing the dishes, cooking dinner from time to time, keeping the cars running, taking the trash out, taking care of outdoor chores, and many more things that I may not always appreciate at the time. And I have to purposefully forget that it sometimes takes him longer to do the things I ask him to do instead of on my time frame. Sometimes (okay maybe more often than sometimes) I am rude because I want to insist on my way, but when I let these situations, they teach me patience, kindness, quiet submissiveness, and how to really love - the kind of love that perseveres. Quiet and gentle submissiveness is not exactly easy when you like a plan and your mate is happy go lucky, so I have to choose to love, choose to respect, choose to submit.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (English Standard Version)


  1. Thanks for posting, Jamie! Our Sunday School class talked about bitterness this past week. The couple who teach (and have been married 37 years) wisely talked about bitterness coming up in marriage. I think all us young wives were embarrassed to agree that we too allow bitterness to root regarding things we wish our husbands would change. The couple encouraged us to turn it over to prayer. In their marriage, she began to let go of her resentment and served her husband as if to serve the Lord. And in turn, her husband began to help out more. It was a nice story. But I was thinking, what if I decide to not to try to change my husband, and God doesn't decide to change him for me?

  2. I totally try to serve my husband as if serving the Lord - that is my goal, but I fail a lot. I would say that I have become less bitter and more happy in serving him over our short time together, but moments creep in where I let little bits of bitterness in again. I was a bitter newlywed, I think. As parents, I am more aware of our position as teammates, and I can't let bitterness take hold because it destroys the team effort we've got going on, which is bad for us and for the family too. Usually, but not always, you can find something that your mate is doing to contribute to your marriage and life together - it just doesn't usually coincide with your desires. Sometimes, there are mates who really don't do anything. I don't have that situation, but I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be to truly serve as one serving the Lord, instead of serving out of mutual respect for one another.

    Honestly, we are not promised that our husbands will indeed turn and learn how to serve us in return. I totally understand your question. You have to trust Him that He will give you what is best for you in spite of what you believe to be true. Do you trust God? Do you believe that He can give you what is best for You? Do you believe He is who He says He is? These are the fundamental questions you are asking - can I really trust You with my obedience to You? The answer of course is yes, you can trust God.

    At the end of serving, you will be changed, and perhaps, that is all God desires, but hopefully, your husband would come to change too. It is just that you cannot decide to obey by stipulating to God that He provide you with a specific blessing (changing your husband). He is THE giver of good gifts, and you can guarantee that He WILL bless you with good gifts as a result of your obedience.

  3. I'm a mom with three kids that are now in a different age bracket, 17, 13, and 11. Romance has came, gone, came, gone, back and forth over the years. One thing I would encourage you to do as a mom on the other side of little ones, is to plan date nights once a month or so at home.

    If you have been able to get the little one's on a schedule, plan a night date after they go to bed. We would take turns cleaning up the area said date would be. If it was the living room, we would move all the kids stuff to the hall for the night so it felt "kid free".

    Many times I would cook something (maybe even frozen and use real breakable dishes.) It helped us stay connected in a season of disconnect because of little ones.

    Anyway, congrats on the baby!



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