Every year since my oldest was small, we’ve had a tradition of letting her go to her grandparent’s house for a week.
I’ll admit, at first, I struggled with it.
This was my BABY we were talking about. I couldn’t live without her for a WEEK. She was a little over one when we first started the tradition and have continued it for the last 15 years. My “baby” is now 16, and her sisters are 13, 11, and 7. And yes, they take all 4 at the same time every year!
My inlaws are heros, I’m just saying.
But that first year, I had this huge feeling of guilt. What if she forgot me? What if she got hurt? What if she needed me and I wasn’t there? What if she thought I didn’t love her because I sent her away?
After the first few years though of struggling with this, I realized something.
That week away from us? It was GOOD. Both for her AND for my husband and I. SHE was a super well-adjusted kiddo who knew how much we loved her, but could also easily adjust staying with family or a babysitter on date nights. She got to spend much needed time with her grandparents that otherwise, she would rarely see. It is a relationship we are so thankful now, 15 years later!
And for Scott and I, we learned to welcome our “week” break from parenthood. It is a week to rekindle a romance then tends to get buried under the weight of to-do lists, finances, kids activities, and a constant threat of interruption by children. Every couple years, we go somewhere on a small trip, just the two of us. But most years we just stay at home and enjoy spending kid-free time with each other.
I’m convinced our marriage is as amazing as it is because of that one week a year we allow ourselves to take a break from parenthood and focus on each other.
Some may say that is selfish. But if investing time into my marriage is selfish, then I guess I am. I’d argue that neglecting your marriage and ending up in a divorce is MUCH more selfish. (Note: Please know that if you’ve gone through the heart-ache of divorce, this is not to cast judgement. Only God knows your circumstance, but I think we can all agree how difficult a journey that is for the kids involved.)
It isn’t just about taking that week a year, though. I know that isn’t an option for many parents. But we also have been pretty diligent about at least once-a-month date nights, and now that the kids are older and we don’t have to worry about the high cost of babysitting, once a week outings. They aren’t always fancy. Goodness, half the time it is breakfast at Hardees on a Saturday morning on our way to grocery shopping, or a 11pm run to Walmart where we just walk around slowly, hand in hand, enjoying being “out” with each other. Or even a fancy dessert after the kids have gone to bed and snuggling on the couch watching Netflix.
It doesn’t have to be grand, but the investment of TIME in a marriage/romance is SO worth the payoff.
What about you? If you’re married, what things do you do to make “time” together possible? If not, what are some fun ways you’ve seen couples around you invest in their relationships, or fun ways you’ve seen couples in BOOKS make time for each other?