Who would’ve thought that a film about British retirees, some old photos, pizza in the park and reading the paper without talking to each other could reignite the spark between a couple who’d simply forgotten that their relationship, not just their children, needed nurturing. Sometimes couples simply need some good old-fashioned time out together.
During my recent new-mum meltdown, which I talked about in last week’s post, my girlfriend Betty phoned me to see if I was okay. I was touched by her thoughtfulness, but I wanted our chat to be brief as it was the middle of the day and I’d assumed she was calling during her work hours. “No, not at all,” she’d said, “Michael and I have taken a week off work to reconnect and Ethan is in day care.” Reconnect? Concerned, I asked her if everything was okay. “Yeah, we’re fine, we just realised that since we had Ethan we’ve barely had the time to ask each other how our day went, let alone read the paper and chat about world affairs.”
Betty and Michael welcomed their little man into the world nine months ago and, considering how down I’d been feeling, this got me thinking about my husband and I – we currently have our two-year-old son in bed with us at night (but that’s another story for another post) and our three-month-old daughter in a bassinet in our bedroom, so lacking intimacy is certainly one way to describe our relationship at present.
Listening to Betty, I realised that I wasn’t just missing adult conversation throughout my days, I was also missing my husband. As clichéd as this sounds, he’s always been my best friend and we’re usually pretty good at finding our way back to each other when the road gets bumpy. Betty and I’s chat ended with a laugh when she admitted: “The funniest thing about this week… we’ve taken time off work to reconnect, but we sometimes sit in cafes reading the paper without saying a word to each other… and it’s so nice!”.
When little ones come into your life it’s easy for couples to get stuck in a rut and forget that your relationship needs more than just a chat about what little Johnny did that day. Here are five ways to help you two reconnect:
1 Break routine and do something you wouldn’t usually do midweek: call in family, friends or a babysitter and duck out for a spontaneous date night. We roped in my parents to babysit and drove off into the sunset (literally, daylight saving just ended here) to our local cinema and saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A film about British retirees relocating to India didn’t sound like the best option to reignite the flame, but it was all that was showing at the time my parents could help out. Thankfully, it turned out to be a quality comedy about how important it is to take risks in life to be happy.
2 Go through your computer, albums or box of old photos from when you first got together: you’ll be surprised how many places you went to that you’d forgotten about (for us it was a stop-off in Koh Samet, Thailand). Memories can be a great reminder of how much fun you can have together. It will be 1am before you know it and you’ll have passed many hours with nostalgic comments like, “O.M.G…. remember that, when we…!” and “That was the best day!”.
3 Go to a cafe and read the paper without saying a word to each other: thanks to Betty and Michael we tried this and she couldn’t have been more right – it was heaven! Again, ask family, friends or a babysitter to have the children while you catch up on what’s going on in the world – even if you only read the fashion and beauty pages (because any thoughts you’ve had about your hair or make-up these days have been along the lines of: ‘Where is my mascara? I hope it hasn’t gone out with the rubbish, along with everything else my toddler loves putting in the bin!’).
4 Book a holiday, even if it’s several months away: give yourselves something to look forward to besides Christmas. Even though it’ll be with the kids (unless you’re able to go on holiday with just the two of you!), holidays are usually, for the most part, relaxing (if you choose a destination that doesn’t require too much stress to get there). The Little Hip Traveller is a great blog to refer to for destination ideas and tips for travelling with kids.
5 Go out for dinner and meet at the restaurant: this last tip comes from much-loved Manhattan-based blog A Cup Of Jo. I love this idea, so we tried it this week (although our restaurant was takeaway pizza on a picnic rug in the park). Read Jo’s Keeping The Sparks Flying post and you’ll soon see why it’s a good idea to meet at your date location rather than at home!
Image: Pinterest via Bri Emery