When my husband and I first met and started dating, we spent as much time together as we could, outside of college classes and our jobs. After around eight months of dating I moved in with him when the lease was up on my apartment. We could talk for hours, take road trips to see concerts, leisurely walk in the park, or sit and binge watch shows like Battlestar Galactica on Netflix.
Now though, if you’re anything like me, most of your time not at work is spent running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Between work, activities, daily responsibilities, taking care of the kids, and everything else we do, I rarely get to spend quality time with my husband like we used to.
In the morning I might see him for half an hour before we both head to the opposite ends of the house to shower and ready for work. After 5:00 p.m. when we pick up the kids it seems we’re always in a race to run errands, fix a meal, play with the kids and get them to go potty, brush their teeth, put on pajamas, and get them into bed (and go to sleep!) It’s not often that we can have an uninterrupted adult conversation. Between me taking care of the teething little one multiple times a night, my husband staying up late to code a new project he’s been working on, me sitting down to write, or going to bed out of sheer exaustion, I feel like we don’t get a lot of chances to connect.
I’m sure many of you out there who are parents can relate. Sometimes it feels as though you are two ships passing in the night. It is sad and frustrating.
When I can, I try to let my husband know how much I care and appreciate him. How do I do this?
Schedule a date night
This is probably the most obvious suggestion, but also one of the hardest. If we are lucky enough to coordinate a date, time, and plan with someone to babysit it is great to be able to go out for dinner and have a conversation (even though usually we end up talking about the children anyway,) and maybe see a movie. When you have littles this can be tough because they may have separation anxiety or not want to go to bed for anyone but Mom and Dad.
I leave my husband little notes all over the place. Most of them are just silly little things. I will hijack a to-do list of his and write something such as, “kiss Sarah” or “be awesome today.” I will put a post-it note on his mirror in the basement bathroom or hide a note in his wallet.
Leave a surprise
My husband and I work at the same company, although in different departments, and I will occasionally buy his favorite cookie (snickerdoodles) in the cafeteria and leave it on his desk to find after lunch.
Send an e-mail
Periodically I will e-mail my husband a favorite photo of us together, a, “remember when we…” question about some concert we went to or road trip we’ve taken, or send him an article that I think he may be interested in.
Just say it
When you are together, tell your partner how much you love and appreciate them.
Sneak a kiss
When you pass each other in the kitchen or on the way to the car sneak some quick PDA.
Be present and really listen or engage in conversation. Looking at Twitter or browsing Reddit while conversing does not count.
Take a break
Even if you have to sneak away for a few minutes under the guise of “going to take a shower” or something, take a quick break from the kids to have some alone time with the door locked.
Hold hands in the car or when you’re watching TV.
Send a text
Let your partner know you are thinking of them out of the blue.
Pickup a favorite
Bring home his favorite kind of beer or her favorite ice cream, just because.
Take a selfie together
Snap a quick photo every once in a while.
Do something nice
Give a back rub. Throw out a compliment. Wash the dishes without being asked. Talk about them positively in front of someone (“Did you know that Kyle did this awesome thing last week…)
When I pour my coffee in the morning I pour my husband a cup too, even though he wakes later than I do. I do so because he doesn’t like really hot coffee; this lets his coffee cool to the temperature he prefers when he is ready for it.
Before we lived in our current house, the small house we lived in was old did not have central heating or air. The bathroom was added on in the 1940s and was not well insulated so it would get quite chilly in the winter. I would turn on a small space heater and shut the door so it was nice and toasty before my husband needed to shower.
Both small things, but nice to do for him.
Make an effort
You don’t have to make any grand gestures or spend any money. Just showing your partner that you are making an effort to let them know you love and appreciate them shows that you care.
In an ever-busier world with distractions galore, it is easy to drift and disconnect, so take a minute or two to show your partner that you care and do so often. I believe in never missing a chance to show your love. Life is short and time passes quickly. You’ll never regret it.