How is it that Hubby and I can live in the same house, have mostly the same friends, work often from home, raise the same kids, and feel like we haven’t had a real conversation recently?! It seems silly that we could spend a lot of time together, and not feel like it’s quality time. I’ve actually heard, in the past two days, two other couples say that same thing: we haven’t gotten to really talk recently. For Hubby and me, it goes like this: sometimes, by the time we are alone together, it’s 8:30pm, there are dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, and we are bone tired. Other times, it seems that we have so much to talk about that we can’t stay on one thing for very long. We’re trying to talk about life and feelings and opinions, but we end up talking about grocery lists and “don’t forget EK has preschool tomorrow.”
As a wife who needs some connection and conversation from her Hubby (who also craves that connection), I’ve thought of a few things I’d like to try.
First of all, Hubby’s going to be out of town this weekend. That means that the only way to connect is to talk. We can’t snuggle, we can’t do things for each other, we can’t share a meal together. But we can ask some of those questions, or share those feelings over the phone. It’s definitely a different beast to talk on the phone rather than in person (can’t see the body language or facial expressions, can’t get hugs or see smiles – aka the worst) but it’s a start. Sometimes, conversations can be started on the phone and finished later.
Secondly, I’m going to try to keep the “housekeeping” items concise and necessary only. I have realized that I can use up all of Hubby’s energy and patience on what needs to be cleaned, where the kids’ this-and-thats are, and what we are doing for dinner tonight. I can clean it, I can find it, I can make a plan, and require much less of him in that department. I’m not saying he won’t have input about dinner and that he won’t have to clean anything. But I’m saying I’m going to nag less and communicate more intentionally.
Thirdly, I need an attitude adjustment. Sometimes my role as nag (see #2) can drown my role as wife. I neeeeever want that to be the case, but my OCD and planner’s brain take hold of me, and all I can see are to-do lists and calendars. It’s a vice, for sure, to always think this way, especially because I really do love spur-of-the-moment activities. I love when my sisters-in-law call me and invite us to dinner or to a play date on the spot, and I love when Hubby wants to go out for drinks or to hear music in two hours, leaving me scrambling for a last minute babysitter. I am okay with it! But sometimes doing that too often creeps into the “I never know what’s going to happen” realm, and I freak out.
Last one… speaking of going out for drinks or to hear live music, Hubby and I often go on dates with friends or to places where we know we will run into people we know. We have wonderful friends that we love, and we really like going out on dates to places we can’t take our kids. But it has dawned on me that we need a few dates soon that are just the two of us. Luckily, we aren’t one of those couples that those words (just-the-two-of-us) scare us. We love time with just us, we have great conversation, and (at least) I always feel fuller and more complete when we’ve had time to connect and talk by ourselves. So that’s on my radar for the next week or two, also. At least one date. Hubby and me, out together, alone. That’s it.
How do you reconnect with your spouse during a busy season? If you’re a parent of small kids, how do you find time for adult conversation, past grocery lists and holiday plans?