This post is written by guest contributor Brittany Smith. She’s sharing five ways you can keep the spark alive in your relationship (even if you’re busy as heck)!
My husband was the first long term person in my life to receive most of my attention outside of my immediate family. Our relationship started when we were just teens, and now nearly 13 years later, we have two beautiful boys and plans to continue growing our family.
Lucky me that I truly have an incredible husband, but that’s not to say we don’t navigate seasons, areas of adjustments, and times where we have to be honest with our needs, too.
Especially being a homeschool mom, the time I create for him for us can definitely be lacking.
Here are my tips for keeping the spark alive in your relationship, coming from a homeschooling mom. I speak to myself in this passage, but also to other wives/moms navigating this area of sometimes unspoken honesty.
Time is vital. Time alone with just your partner... I start with this because none of the following I will say will hold any value if you are not making time for one another, just the two of you. This is something we work hard at on the surface level, making plans, but hardly follow through. Finding a sitter, planning a date, ah it all seems daunting, but time alone doesn’t have to be outside of the home. Personally, my free time is often spent planning books to get for the week, what we will need for our next craft, future programs, reading blogs, curricula, etc etc, so when our children are playing or asleep, we have our deepest conversations. My husband is a great conversationalist; me, not so much. This time makes him feel attended to and prioritized, even if it's coming at the end of the day. Note to self that I really should get a sitter for an upcoming weekend, so we may go on a real date. I think time is the best gift you can give someone to say, “Hey, I care.”
Sometimes you want to show “I care” beyond your time and actions, so a thoughtful, tangible item to commemorate your relationship can be the perfect surprise for your partner. Some of my favorite Smiling Tree Toys keepsakes for this purpose are the wooden anniversary block (super customizable to make it unique to your relationship), personalized heart ornament, and the “I Love Us” and “Our Happily Ever After" wooden wall buntings.
Two: Include One Another
When you do have down time, or you are finding more of your time is going toward planning, I encourage you to include your spouse. I used to take on all of the roles with planning our homeschool days, selecting resources, and purchasing books. What I have found is that including my husband in on these decisions and my daily findings keeps him feeling like he is a bigger part of our adventure. Since he works full-time and can’t be super involved in the day to day learning, this keeps him feeling equally involved in the schooling part, but also in my little world of planning.
And vice versa! Since his job is so vital to his day, I involve myself more with his work. Little things like asking about his day, any new projects he is working on, offering new ideas to his realm of business, asking about co-workers… It keeps us feeling more like partners in the areas of our lives that typically wouldn’t overlap much.
I feel like communication goes without saying with any relationship, but what I mean here is communicating when something is lacking - communicating when something is great, too! If my husband does something that I find a huge help (ahem, picking up dinner), I do my best to let him know my appreciation. A little thanks goes a long way! When my husband needs more time from me, he is very good about letting me know, especially when my head is clouded by the school day and children.
When I am feeling overwhelmed, it does take me a little more effort, but I let him know. Talking about our needs reminds each other of how deeply we are invested in one another. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and heard.
Four: Speak Your Partner’s Love Language
This is a tough one for me, but I think it is key. Again, identifying and meeting your spouse’s needs. My love language is words of affirmation. It fuels me when my husband encourages me, supports me, (how could it not)!
I am not, however, a touchy feely person. My husband’s love language, physical touch: cuddling, hand holding. Go figure! Opposite spectrums. This is something we constantly work on because our brains and idea of expression of love are totally different. One way to keep the spark alive is to find your partner’s love language and do little things that meet those needs throughout the day. Going for a car ride? Hold his hand. The kids are finally occupied with their toys? (Smiling Tree’s Educational Toys are great for that, btw!) Snuggle up on the couch.
I also think it’s super important for our children to see us showing affection because it will help them visualize and express love in different ways in their future relationships.
Five: Get Creative
Want to do something super fun that captures your love, gives you time to yourselves, and savors those moments literally forever? Book a session with a photographer for some lifestyle shots, just the two of you! Seriously!
How many times do you take family photos with your entire brood? We did this very thing this past summer and it was honestly one of the best “dates.” Ever. We cooked, we cuddled, we chased each other and laughed. It was one of those moments where we didn’t know what to do with our hands (what even do you do without kids around lol), but it was one of the best afternoons with just the two of us.
We have those memories to look at forever now and remind us that the school days may be long and plenty (another 15 years of homeschooling, at least!), but our time deserves just as much effort as the effort we put into other areas of our lives.
Here’s to reminding you (and me) that your partnership requires just as much attention as the time you put into your littles and their learning.
What are some things you and your spouse do to keep the spark alive?
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Brittany Smith is a homeschool mom to two sweet boys ages 2 and 4, and the wife of her longtime love, Brian. She spends most of her days deep in the realm of everything that comes with homeschooling, exploring nature with her children (and local wild+free group), and running the socials over at @HabitatSchoolhouse. Her IG (@thesmittyfamgram) chronicles their daily learning, travel adventures, and reflections of a homeschooling mom.
Photography Credit: https://kateandjill.com
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