There’s a lot of marriage advice out there, yes?
Most of it’s well-intentioned and based in pragmatism. Plan regular date nights so you don’t forget why you became a couple in the first place. Put sex on the calendar. Try to talk about something besides the kids while you’re out to dinner.
But in our marriage, I’ve broken all these “rules.” Because while I think sometimes tips like these can be a helpful starting point if you are really disconnected, or can’t seem to agree on the right time for romance, or never speak to one another unless you’re discussing the kids’ school schedules, they have always seemed, to me, to miss the big picture.
Date nights are a lovely thing, but they won’t save a marriage that’s crumbling at the foundation. And if your foundation is strong, talking about the kids over dinner can actually be a satisfying date. After all, who else besides your co-parent loves your kids as much as you do – and loves making fun of their foibles as much, too?
Like I mentioned in my post about real married-with-kids romance:
“If I’ve learned anything about marriage, it’s that the “special” days, the dressed-up dates, the anniversaries, the dinner-and-a-movie nights are nice…but they aren’t what really matters, what really makes a marriage.”
At the same time, the dinner plans, the planned hanky-panky, and the connecting over current events or literature or the Real Housewives can be a big part of the joy of a healthy marriage – when combined with trust, consideration, shared goals, friendship, forgiveness, and being willing to put the other person’s desires before your own.
So how do we make room for all of it in our lives, and build those strong foundations while also embracing the fun stuff? Last week Danielle Smith and I shared our thoughts about love, romance and keeping the marriage strong as part of The New Having It All show on Google+. You can watch it here, and then please let me know your thoughts in the comments: do you “do” date nights? Do you talk about the kids over dinner with your spouse? How do you keep the foundations strong while also making room for fun in your marriage?