Week 3: Loving Your Spouse Better
If you're just joining us, you can catch up on weeks 1 and 2, here and here.
You made it to week 3! How is it going? Are you feeling a little more centered & content? I’m sure there have been some frustrations along the way and perhaps some days where you just had to throw it all out the window. That’s okay! In fact, it’s part of the process. Sometimes as adults we are way too hard on ourselves. When we’re teaching our kids to ride bikes, we expect it to take a several years...YEARS. We start with training wheels, teaching to pedal, then we convince them to take off those training wheels. They’re scared and nervous, but we reassure them that we know they can do it. We hold that bike seat for them, running down the street, cheering them on. Then we tell them they just need help getting started and we give them push after push. We expect them to fall and keep telling them to get back up and try again.
Most things are like learning to ride a bike. We fall a couple times before we catch our balance and really take off.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Change is not meant to happen overnight, or in a week, or in a month.
Pat yourself on the back for WANTING and DESIRING a happier home. Let that want and desire plant itself in your heart. Let the thought and idea marinate in your mind. As you do, you’ll begin to see opportunities to make little changes that will yield big results.
This week we are focusing on your relationship with your spouse or significant other. If you don’t have a spouse or significant other right now, I have two different suggestions. One would be to choose another valuable relationship in your life that you could enhance or grow. Perhaps it’s with your mom, sister or best friend — someone you recognize could have a positive impact on you and your families life. If that isn’t an option, I’d take this week as an additional time for self care. Tweak these ideas or go back to week one to delve a little deeper.
And now, onto week 3!
Sunday: Take some time today to talk with your husband about this 28 day challenge, fill him in on the details of the previous 2 weeks. Tell him the parts you loved, struggled with or just didn’t like all that much. Let him know that this week, it’s all about you two and your relationship.
While you’re at it, get his input on how he thinks home could be a happier place. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I automatically discount my husband’s idea, because well, in all honesty, he’s not here all that much. Hour to hour, I blow him out of the water, so shouldn’t my opinion be weighted a bit heavier? The answer is no. While our husbands might not be home as much as we are, their input is crucial. They can bring a bird’s eye view to the situation, which is invaluable. Hear him out.
Monday: Send an unexpected text or note of appreciation. After your talk last night, hopefully you both opened up a bit on what’s working and what’s not. Take the opportunity today to send him a little note telling him some things you appreciate about him. Appreciation will get you miles and miles of good will while criticism will build a brick wall. Try to spend this week noticing things you appreciate.
Tuesday: Look at old photos together. Grab that old shoebox from way back when we still printed actual photos and pull it out. This can be done with your kids or just with your spouse, take a little walk down memory lane. Remember those awkward dating years, your first house or college graduations and first babies. As you do this, you might be shocked to see how far you’ve come together. Go ahead and be proud of yourselves for tackling and overcoming hard things together. As you take time to appreciate where you’ve come from might give you some perspective about where you want to go.
Wednesday: Take a 20 minute walk together, hold hands. Wake up early, or go out late, but find 20 minutes to take a quick walk together. While you’re walking, discuss a goal you could set together as a family. Maybe it’s reading a bedtime story together. A couple years ago we read Wonder as a family. Tucking each kiddo in their bed, I sat in the hallway so everyone could hear. How fun when the movie came out just recently when we all had read the book! You’re family might want to run a race together or do a service project together. Brainstorm some ideas, but don’t feel like you need to decide tonight — let the different ideas marinate and develop a bit for before you commit.
Thursday: Make his favorite dinner. I know this sounds so old fashioned and ‘housewife’ to say, but seriously, make his favorite dinner. Here’s the thing, if he came home with your favorite take out or ran out late to pick up your favorite ice cream or cooked you your favorite dinner or tackled that yard project you’ve been dreaming of without being asked, you’d be delighted. So do that for him. Serving someone you love is not insulting, it’s affectionate, so let’s not confuse the two. Since you’re going to the effort, give him a head’s up earlier in the day that you’re making his favorite dinner, that way he’ll try to avoid getting stuck late at work. If you does happen to get stuck late, remember he didn’t mean to. Dish him up a plate and leave it on the counter for him when he gets home.
Friday: Find a show/book to watch/read together. Life is busy and often times as spouses we divide and conquer. It’s not a bad approach and one we implement often in my house, BUT we want to create some opportunities for us to come together more often. Whether it’s a quick 25 minute episode of The Office each night before bed or a page-turning thriller, do it together. Not only will you have those 20 minutes together each night, you’ll have those witty one-liners from your favorite show start popping up in your text thread.
Saturday: DATE NIGHT! Whether this is Friday, Saturday or even Tuesday, find one night a week for a date. This literally saved my life when I was a young mom and not joking, we spent $400 a month on date nights. It sounds extravagant and had you told me the number we’d spend beforehand I would have told you we couldn’t have afforded it. Truth is, we couldn’t afford NOT to. Our dates were simple, dinner, maybe a movie, probably an errand. We always tried to eat at a more casual spot to keep costs down, but between babysitters and the like, it really was $400 a month. Even when we knew that was the number, neither one of us was willing to give it up. Not for savings, furniture or new clothes, we both needed that date night. As our kids have gotten older, we occasionally skip a week here or there, but for the most part, we find a way to sneak in a date night. Some weeks it means staying close and letting my oldest babysit on a Tuesday night, other times, we’ve got a babysitter locked and loaded and we can head out for the night. Regardless, make date night priority.
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.