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Four Ideas For Reconnecting With Your Spouse

It’s February and for most love is on the brain as Valentine’s Day approaches. Today I’m sharing four ideas to help you reconnect with your spouse this month, not because I’m an expert in relationships, but because this is something I have lived and learned.

Let me be honest; in the midst of caring for our son, managing two careers, and tending to other responsibilities, my husband and I found ourselves in a relationship rut. We weren’t doing the best at staying connected as husband and wife. We had our “aha” moment a few months ago; we realized that we felt like ships passing in the night more often than we desired. It wasn’t because of any one thing that either one of us did, we both just let everything else come before maintaining our relationship. We needed to do things differently. We needed to reconnect and being operating as one again.

Four Ideas to Reconnect

1. Talk about it, whatever “it” may be. Our moment came one evening as we sat on the couch and had a heart to heart conversation. We honestly and respectfully shared our thoughts and feelings about the current state of our relationship. That moment really helped us to dig a little deeper into areas we both could work on to make things better. From there, we developed some specific actions to help us start to reconnect. Starting your journey to reconnecting with a simple conversation might make all the difference.

2. Focus on your spiritual connection. In our family, we value our relationships with Christ. It’s important that we keep Him as the head of our individual lives and in the center of our marriage. One thing that we have often struggled with is sharing our spiritual journeys with each other and we have seen the impact of this on our relationship as husband and wife. We have recommitted ourselves to working on our spiritual connection. One thing that has helped us is doing a devotional together using the Bible app. In the past, we have tried reading devotional books, but we never could establish a consistent time. I’m a morning person, Tommy is night owl. Our schedules never meshed well to make a solid devotional time happen. As I mentioned, we have started using the Bible app’s group feature to do devotionals together. This allows us to read the devotional and accompanying scriptures and record our comments for the other to read on our own time. While we may be interacting through an app this practice has led to more spiritual conversation when we are face to face. For us, it’s been a win-win. Maybe you don’t like the idea of connecting with your spouse on a social platform. That’s fine, the point is to find what works for you, just make sure you are connecting your spiritual lives.

3. Work towards a common goal. Nothing helps you reconnect like finding a common goal that you can progress towards as a couple. We are currently doing Financial Peace University with our small group through our church. This has created the opportunity for more conversation and focuses on working toward something as a team.

4. Plan a date night. Even if it’s one date a month, make date night a priority. Since having Jaden, date night has not happened as often as it used too. When we don’t plan and make it a priority, date night happens even more infrequently. Date night doesn’t have to be extravagant, just make sure you and your spouse to have time alone to really focus on each other. A few weeks ago, Tommy and I went to dinner and movie. It felt nice to sit across from my husband and talk to him face to face, without interruption or having to rush through dinner because of a rambunctious toddler. During our date, I felt like the old Sierra. I remembered why I fell in love with and married the man sitting across from me. It was a great feeling. A simple date night changed my whole attitude and perspective.

I hope you find these ideas helpful and are encouraged to take action to reconnect with your spouse this month.

In love,

Sierra


What’s one thing you can do this month to reconnect with your spouse?

Viva Las Vegas!

A week and a half ago, Tommy and I hit a milestone in our marriage, 5 years married! That’s right, we celebrated our 5-year anniversary. It’s hard to believe that 5 years has gone by since we said “I do.” To celebrate our anniversary, we took a trip to Las Vegas! People who know us may have been surprised by our decision to go to Vegas, but it’s always been on our list of places to see. We decided to seize the opportunity and see what the city is all about.

This trip was our first time being away from Jaden for more than one night. Leaving him wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but of course we missed him while we were gone. It helped to know that our baby was in good hands. He was able to spend time with both sets of grandparents while we were away. Even though we weren’t with Jaden I still felt connected to him, thanks to technology. Our daycare uses an app service to send updates so we were able to keep up with all of Jaden’s activity and his teachers were great about sending us lots of pictures each day. Our parents were great about sending us updates before and after daycare and we were able to FaceTime every evening.

As we were planning for this trip, I have to admit I was a little nervous. I really had no idea what to expect. I’m thankful for my husband because he was really proactive in planning things for us to do. He’s good at that. Below I share a few highlights from our trip.

  1. This trip to Vegas was my first time flying west of the Mississippi River. I really enjoyed the view from the plane. It was cool seeing mountains and canyons as we flew through Colorado and Utah.
  2. Rest. I can’t put into words how good it felt to get away for a few days, taking a break from work and all other responsibilities. I think I took a nap almost every day (mostly because of the time difference), but having the ability to do that was nice.
  3. I didn’t realize there would be so much to see in Las Vegas. We walked a good portion of the Strip and explored several of the hotels. If you’ve been to Vegas, you know there are definitely plenty of other SIGHTS to see. I can’t tell you how many show girls, people in costumes, drunks, and street performers we saw. Vegas was definitely a good place for people watching.
  4. Our favorite part of the trip was seeing a Cirque du Soleil show called “O”. If you ever go to Vegas, I highly recommend you check this show out.
  5. We gambled for the first time. It took us a few tries to figure out how to play the slot machines, but after we got that hang out it I actually won some cash. That was pretty exciting!
  6. On our anniversary, we essentially had a day full of dates. Our morning started with breakfast at a restaurant in a neighboring hotel. We then enjoyed a few games at Top Golf and a visit to Madame Tussaud’s. Later, we enjoyed a nice dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant in our hotel. And after dinner, we took a quick visit to Fremont Street. We had a busy day, but it was fun doing so many activities together.

In all, our trip to Las Vegas turned out to be a fun way to celebrate our 5-year anniversary. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to spend one on one time with Tommy. For the last year, it’s been the 3 of us. We love our son and couldn’t imagine life without him, but it was good for us to get the time away to reconnect as husband and wife. In the end, our marriage benefited from this time away which will ultimately help us to be better parents to our baby boy.

Being Dad

Parenting is hard work. I’m sure most would agree with that. It’s often us moms who get the recognition for all of the work that is put into raising children, mostly because in our society mothers are regarded as the primary caregivers. In conversations with other moms, I often find myself talking about how difficult being a mom can be, the sacrifices made, the energy it takes, etc. All those things are valid; being a mom is hard .

Recently, as I was thinking about how often I have expressed those exact sentiments to Tommy, a new thought entered my mind. Yes, I know that my role as mom has been hard and full of sacrifice, but what about my husband? Hasn’t being a dad been just as hard and just as full of sacrifice? I wondered what Tommy thought of his role of dad. I wanted to know his perspective, a perspective that I feel like often gets overlooked, and one that we have never really discussed as a couple. One day over dinner, I asked Tommy some questions about fatherhood and here’s what he had to say:

What has been most difficult about being a father?

  1. Connecting with both me and Jaden –  Early in Jaden’s life, Tommy found it difficult to connect with both of us, primarily due to breastfeeding. In those early weeks, Jaden was nursing every two hours, sometimes more often than that. Since he couldn’t provide nourishment and comfort to Jaden in that way, Tommy felt like he was’t connecting with his son outside of diaper changes. For him, this led to feelings of inadequacy. In addition, as Jaden’s overall awareness of the world around him increased he has been less inclined to be comforted by Tommy when I have been available to nurse him. 
  2. Time – Tommy feels that he often does not have enough time with Jaden due to his work schedule and the baby’s bedtime. After we established a schedule with Jaden, he was ready for bed around 6 pm. There were days when Tommy wouldn’t get home until right before bed time, limiting the amount of dad time. We have worked our way up to a slightly later bedtime now that Jaden is older, which gives us a little more time with him in the evening.  However, it still seems short to Tommy. 
  3. Illness – It has been difficult seeing Jaden experience so many different illnesses in a short time. You can read more about that here.
  4. More responsibility – We now have a little life that we are responsible for. Tommy realizes that he can no longer just consider the two of us. There is now another person in our family who totally relies on us for everything.  
  5. Providing financially – Children are expensive. No matter how much you try to save or penny pinch, having kids come with a cost. Taking care of our family financially has always been a top priority for Tommy, and it’s no different now. In fact, it’s probably more important now that we have Jaden. We have had to make sacrifices to pay for daycare and other baby essentials, along with making sure we are saving towards our and Jaden’s future. This means that we may wear those shoes we don’t like so much a little longer, we don’t buy new clothes as often as we would like, we eat at home instead of going out, or Tommy takes on a DJ gig so we have a little extra. 
  6. Spiritual growth and development – Tommy mentioned that it has been tough to focus on his spiritual growth while balancing all of the duties associated with caring for a baby and other responsibilities. 

I didn’t want to end the conversation there, only discussing the difficulties. I also wanted to know what have been the highlights of being a dad.

What has been most rewarding about being a father? 

  1. Knowing that the Lord has entrusted a son to him – Yes, it’s a huge responsibility, but Tommy finds that fact that God saw fit to bless us with Jaden as something amazing. 
  2. Watching Jaden accomplish so many developmental milestones – His favorites so far have been watching Jaden learn how to crawl and begin to talk. He currently knows four words, Dada (his first word), Mama, hi, and cat.
  3. Bonding and having Daddy time – Tommy has also enjoyed learning how to bond with Jaden in his own way.  Sometimes Tommy gets in trouble for getting Jaden too excited right before bed.    
  4. Joy –  Jaden expresses so much joy each day. His happiness brings both of us so much joy. 

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I really appreciated the conversation that I was able to have with my husband. Often times, it’s hard for Tommy to share what he’s feeling, but I’m glad he opened up and shared all these things with me. I now have an even greater appreciation for all he does for our family. As husband, father, and leader of our home he carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, but he handles it all so well. For that, I am thankful. I have learned that I need to remember that being a parent is hard, for both moms and dads. Our roles and experiences may look different, but we can’t underestimate the work and effort of dads. I want to challenge you to encourage and support the dads in your life as they strive to be the best fathers they can be. 

Don’t Forget About Us

This year Tommy and I will celebrate 5 years of marriage! We’ve experienced so much together throughout the last five years. From navigating the early days of marriage, surgeries, graduate school, new jobs, buying a house, and most recently, the birth of our son. This last year has been an exciting one, but it has not been without challenges as we entered into the world of parenthood. Having a baby has impacted our relationship like no other thing we have experienced thus far in our marriage.

As new parents, the early days were really just about getting to know our baby boy while functioning on very little sleep and energy. For me, most of my time was consumed with learning the ends and out of breastfeeding and caring for Jaden. When he wasn’t holding the baby or changing diapers, Tommy was doing what comes naturally to him, getting things done. Being the “doer” that he his, Tommy often filled his time with completing household tasks and running errands. At times I found myself getting frustrated because I felt like I was stuck at home while Tommy got a “break.” In addition, I desired for Tommy to just “be” with us, instead of “doing” so much. As time went on and demands on us increased due to work and other commitments, it eventually began to feel like we were operating independently of one another, not together, as husband and wife should. For me, that was a sad reality to come to grips with and it took me a long time to talk about what I was feeling with anyone, including Tommy. 

Having a baby brought significant change to our lives so it was only natural to expect that our relationship would change as well. However, I think I (we) underestimated the impact that a baby would really have on us. As I reflect back on those early months, I realize now that the frustrations Tommy and I experienced after having Jaden were the result of a lack of communication and focus on one another. We were unsuccessful at sharing our feelings, setting set realistic expectations for one another, and spending quality time together as we made the transition into parenthood. 

For me, the month of February was a pivotal time. In my spare time I enjoy reading Christian blogs and websites and throughout the entire month of February everything I was reading was focused on marriage and relationships. In addition, our church went through a sermon series called “Realationships” and even hosted a marriage conference. You may think this was just coincidence because February is traditionally all about love, but the Lord really used all that I was reading, hearing, and experiencing to speak to me. I felt challenged to put forth effort to share what I was feeling with Tommy and do my part to better my marriage. 

As a mom, so much of my attention has been focused on Jaden, which is not a bad thing. My son needs and deserves my attention. However, I now realize that at times I neglected to give my husband the attention he needs and deserves as well. I have learned that managing both of these relationships is a balancing act, one that I’m not sure that I will ever truly master, but I want to make sure I’m doing the best that can.

The past few months have taught me even with this new role of being a mom, I can’t forget about us (me and Tommy). Marriage is our first ministry and we have to take time to truly invest in our relationship if we want to continue to grow together. One of the speakers at our church marriage conference shared this quote by Dr. Gary Chapman,

“Marriages either grow or regress. They never stand still.”

I want my marriage to continue to grow through whatever circumstances life throws our way. It’s important that we are good models for our son. I want Jaden to understand the importance of marriage and commitment and I want him to see love and growth in our household.

After talking with each other and seeking advice from some married friends, one thing Tommy and I have committed to doing is planning time to hang out with one another each week to ensure that we are able to spend quality time together in the midst of our busyness. Each Sunday afternoon we come together to review our weekly schedules and plan when we will set aside time to hang out. So far this has helped us be more intentional about the time we spend together and we look forward to seeing the future impact this practice has on our marriage. 

If you are married or hope to be married one day, I hope that after reading this you are encouraged to remember your spouse. Don’t forget about each other. As you go through various seasons of life, work hard at keeping each other first. Even if it means scheduling in quality time. Also remember, we are all a work in progress. Even if we get off track there is always an opportunity to make things right again.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 Philippians 1:6