Let’s face it, parenting a bunch of kids isn’t easy. There’s simply no rest for the weary. Taking some time away with your bride will benefit your marriage, and though it may be tough on the kiddos for you to be away, it will benefit them in the long run.
I’ve been married to SuperWife a little over 10 years now. In that time we’ve had two cross-country moves, six kids, countless soccer games, church events, and other meetings. We’ve kept the ball moving down the field, we’ve even managed to squeeze in some regular date nights for the last couple of years. But in all that time, we’ve never gotten away together without the kids for more than one night until this week. As we fly back from our chance-in-a-lifetime trip, I can’t help but think there’s one huge take away from our time together – we have to do this more often. Maybe annually. Why? Here’s a few reasons.
Eight years into this parenting gig, it’s easy to forget how much work it is. When someone is depending on you for food, education, clean clothes, etc. every day, you don’t have a ton of time to think about all that you’re doing. Add in the constant interruptions of sleep from babies and sick older kids and you’ve got a recipe for exhaustion. If you’re not getting away from time to time there’s almost no way to get the rest you both need.
Hit enough potholes in the minivan and sooner or later you will knock your front end out of alignment. No big deal if you’re going slow – but at highway speeds it can be a little uncomfortable. The same thing applies in marriage. There’s going to be bumps along the way – that’s normal. And much of the time you can work through those things without much trouble. But some things can’t be figured out in the time between the kids’ bedtime and yours. For some issues you need a lot more time. And if you don’t take care of it, when life really gets going at highway speed, you’re going to know you’ve got a problem. Spending some time away together gives you the time to talk about some of the bigger issues you may be facing and getting aligned in your approach.
Great families are fueled by joy. Being able to have fun together and simply enjoy each other makes life great for your whole crew. But it’s easy for the ole joy tank to get low when you’re running from work to home to practice and back home just in time for bed over and over again. There’s nothing like spending a few days with high fun and low responsibility to recharge your joy tank.
I know you’ve been here – the kids are in bed, you’ve had a good day, all is right in the world, you and your bride settle in for a nice evening enjoying each other…and there’s a knock on your bedroom door. Kid number whatever just puked all over his bed. He wants to sleep with you now. And the poor kids looks so pitiful… Not exactly the recipe for romance. And the more kiddos you have the higher the odds of these interruptions you can expect. You don’t even need to go to an especially romantic spot. Almost anywhere you go without the kiddos will be great to get the romance train back on the tracks.
Like all the other areas above, it isn’t easy to stay healthy and active spiritually when you’re on the clock 24/7/365. Even if you’re spending daily time with God, reading the Bible and working other spiritual disciplines, spending some time in a beautiful place and getting some extended time with God can add back some missing vitality from your spiritual life as well.
To sum up, spending some time alone with your bride is a great move for your marriage, but you may be thinking, “That’s great. How can I possibly do that?” I’ll write about that in another post. In the meantime, what are some lessons you’ve learned by spending some time away from the kids with your bride?