Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How do YOU keep the flame burning?

Jon and I have been asked to be part of panel in one of our church classes this Sunday. We have been asked to share some practical tips on how we can keep the love alive in a marriage through the years and kids and trials.

I know what we have done and some things we could and probably should do better. One of our main ones is to take alone trips every couple of years. We have done one between every birth of a child (except between Noble and Harrison.) I guess we are needing 2 now. :) These trips have really helped us reconnect on a Jon and Steph level and not a Mom and Dad level. I always remember who I am and why I like Jon so much on these trips.

Jon and I were wondering if any of you have found things that work for you. Anyone got some good tips we can share?

Also, Dance party at my house tonight at 8:30. Hope to see you there.

11 comments:

mckenna said...

Funny you are asking this today. Jason and I had a talk just this week about how to keep that flame going. We've felt a little like we've been in the "mom and dad/nuturer and provider" rut for a little while so we talked about ways to get out of the rut.

One thing we definitely talked about was a little trip. We hadn't gotten one in last year since we had a baby and I've been nursing all year and couldn't leave him. So that's on our to do list now that he is one (today, actually!). We talked about trying to get to know each other again like when we were dating. Jason even went online and printed up a fun list of random questions, things we haven't talked about ever or in a long time, so that at night in bed after the kids are asleep we can talk about those questions together and feel like we're getting to know each other again.

Intimacy has been another topic of conversation. Physical and emotional intimacy. I've been reading a book, "Between Husband and Wife: Gospel Perspectives on Marital Intimacy" by Stephen Lamb and Douglas Brinley,that has been reminding me of the spiritual importance of physical and emotional intimacy in our marriages. As we've talked about the book it's been good for both of us. It's so easy for us (me, especially) to let that aspect of marriage slip because of the day to day of raising young children. They make finding intimate moments extremely inconvenient at times. Sometimes the only way to find those moments is to sacrifice something precious...like SLEEP...and I have a hard time with that. But making it a priority has improved our moods and has just filtered into our parenting roles as well.

Putting in conscious effort has been another one. Purposefully doing something for the other person. Jason works out of town and has done things as simple as calling just before I go to bed to say goodnight, even if he's working nights and we've already caught up for our day earlier. Knowing he's thinking about me makes me smile before I climb into bed alone. I've sent him off golfing on a day he was home that he wasn't planning on it just knowing he could use the escape/break from the chaos of kids. :)

We also talked about mixing up date night. We get into the habit of dinner and a movie way too often, so we've talked about just going for a drive and taking some good music and a list of those fun questions, heading up the canyon to go for a hike or a walk, taking a picnic to the park. Anything where we're not zoned out staring at a screen. One of my favorite date nights was when Jason took me to an arcade. I felt silly going with all the young kids there, but we ended up acting like kids again ourselves and having a blast together. I always leave date night feeling like Jason's girlfriend again and I love being his girl. :)

Hope that's helpful at all! Sorry if I shared too much. :) I tend to be long winded. Good luck with the panel! I hope you'll come back and share some of the discussion, because I'd love some more insight!!

Mindy said...

I would assume getting married in general could help the flame keep going ... I am still working on that. ;)

Lee said...

We enjoy getting away together but even more love having the house to ourselves. The best thing for us is to have the grandparents take the kids overnight. We're often too exhausted to out for date night but we'll drop the kids at a parents' night out, pick up take out and enjoy some quiet time.

Anna said...

Our schedules are super crazy and we aren't always home together in the evenings. When we ARE home on the same nights we make sure to have a sit down dinner together with the tv off. This helps open the lines of communication and can be surprisingly intimate. Cooking together helps us feel a sense of togetherness and teamwork. Pretty simple, but has helped us :)

Karol said...

Each morning before either of us leaves the house we hold each other and pray together. And in the evenings before we turn in for the night we spend about 20 minutes of quiet time together, usually with my head in his lap or vice versa. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we just keep silent, sometimes we will read an inspirational book together. Both of these are so simple but keep the lines of communication open and both are very intimate.

Anonymous said...

We don't have many tricks - but it has helped me to realize that having young children means there will be a waning period in any marriage. It won't last forever, so just go easy on yourselves and understand that that is part of the experience of being a parent.

Jessica Taylor said...

There are two things that have made the biggest difference for us (married 7 years). First, I try to be available for sex almost every morning. That might seem like a lot, but it's been so worth it to start nearly every day having connected in that way, and when it's morning and happens often it doesn't need to be a long drawn-out thing. Second, we keep a small white board in the kitchen where either of us can write down things we need to discuss, and those discussions have high priority so that they happen asap. This really helps my husband and I feel heard when something's bothering us or we want a decision to be made.

I run the http://cairnparenting.org website and we've asked a couple of questions on marriage (we survey long-time parents on questions involving parenting and sometimes marriage). Some helpful posts are http://www.cairnparenting.org/2012/07/marriage-while-raising-kids.html and http://www.cairnparenting.org/2012/04/modeling-marriage.html.

Sounds like it will be a great class!

Amber said...

I read on a blog link from pinterest of a way to pray for each other that I had never considered before. I've always thanked my Father in Heaven for providing me with a husband who is so wonderful to me and I've always asked that He will help Zach to stay in love with me but it was always in my personal prayers. This blog instructed that during couples prayers each spouse should take turns thanking Heavenly Father for specific things about their spouse. I thought it was a good idea, especially for me as I am really bad about saying praising words.
So I tried it. And I blushed THE ENTIRE TIME. You'd think after 9 years together I wouldn't be embarrassed in front of Zach but I totally was. I hadn't mentioned this blog to him, nor have I, and he hasn't done the same thing in prayer, but he has started to thank me during our days for specific things that he never mentioned before.
This practice has been really beneficial for us both because 1) Zach's love language is words of affirmation and as I mentioned, I suck at doing that and 2) it makes me take time every day to focus on the good that he has. In general we are happy, but everyone has those days where their spouse is just grating on their nerves!

We also have been focusing on being affectionate in front of the kids. G-rated of course. The reason we started was to help ensure that our kids had confidence in our marriage, but an unexpected side effect was that we are taking time to be "Zach & Amber" while in the middle of being "Mom & Dad". Sometimes even being "Amber" for 2 seconds amid dishes, dinner, and diapers has recharged my capabilities in all my roles.

Wish I could go to your class! It sounds like it will be really great. Actually... when is your class? Maybe I will sneak in!

Kaci Uipi said...

Sorry--this doesn't have to do with your post...I'm trying to find your email to get an invite to the Angel Blog. I'm already a member but my friend wants an invite. Can you email me your email address at kaciuipi@gmail.com THANKS!

Maren said...

I think you should sing Johnny Angel to him every day. :) Don't know if you even remember me (formerly Maren Ogden), I lived in Township in 1996-1997, I think we were downstairs from you and Kathryn (I lived with Lynne Colton, Vanese Van Wagoner, Amy Pierson, and Emily Gardner). I'm also from Las Vegas and my sister Melanie was good friends with Jon's brother Nathan. I totally remember you and Kathryn singing Johnny Angel to Jon one night, I think it was maybe on his birthday? Anyway, it was fun to stumble upon your blog and see that you had married him. But so heartbreaking to read about your darling Camille. Anyway, thanks for the things you write. They help me to be a better mom and wife. :)

Joe and Kirstin said...

I don't comment much, or ever. But I think this post is just what I needed to read (and I love if you wrote more about this after to do the class :) ) We just recently became parents, he was early and it has been really stressful, he is doing good now, but it has sure changed the communication between my husband and I. We were just talking last night about how to reconnect, what we can do to keep our marriage strong and keep communication lines open. Thank you again for this post.