Please forgive me for what I’m about to say if your wedding or engagement photo looks like the one with this article. I admit, it is beautiful. The bride looks lovely. The filter is dreamy. The couple looks blissful. But what strikes me the most about this photo, and so many others I see, is that the bride is front and center while her groom is merely a prop for her to pose against. It doesn’t seem like this marriage will be about “we” but about “me.”
Now again, I’m sure lots of couples do photos that highlight both the bride and the groom. But it does seem that, starting with the wedding, a lot of marriages get off on the wrong foot — it’s “her big day.” She does most of the planning and gets to make most of the choices. There’s nothing wrong with that as most guys don’t really care which greenery is used in the flower arrangements. But whether a couple is just starting out or they’ve been together for a while, it’s important to be a “we”. So shift your focus (if you need to) to make your husband, and being a couple, a priority. When you do, your marriage will benefit. Here are the four powers of couple time.
1. Power to Communicate.
Couple time allows real communication to happen. Texting your husband about picking up a kid from soccer practice or bringing home a gallon of milk is not the stuff of which intimacy is made. It’s when you get together without the kids interrupting or the cell phones ringing that you can talk—really talk. Talk about the goals you both have for the family and how best to get there, talk about the things that don’t feel right and how to fix them, talk about the challenges and the pressures you each feel in your roles in the family or at work. It’s these kinds of discussions that keep the air clear and your hearts and minds in tune with one another.
2. Power to Shift Gears.
Couple time lets you take your “mom” hat off and put your “lover” hat back on. Let’s face it, it’s hard to flirt with a toddler on your hip. If you spend your days in faded yoga pants and an old t-shirt (what else would you wear to sweep up cheerios and do laundry?), you probably don’t feel the part of the attractive, sensual gal you were on your honeymoon. And when you don’t feel that way, you don’t act that way. Designated couple time gives you an excuse to put on a great outfit and a little lip gloss and get the sexual energy flowing between you and your husband again. And any man will tell you that the physical connection is essential to a healthy marriage.
3. Power to Lead by Example.
Couple time models for your children what a healthy marriage looks like. So many parents sacrifice time together in the name of parenting. But part of parenting is teaching your kids how to one day have a great marriage of their own. I promise you, a few hours a week with a trusted babysitter won’t hurt your kids a bit; they’ll probably look forward to it. But a set of parents who are chronically stressed-out, disconnected, and on different pages in their parenting styles will. Give your kids the security of knowing that mom and dad love each other — a lot.
4. Power to Touch Base.
Couple time gives you a chance to resolve small issues before they become big ones. Often just a brief exchange about a miscommunication, a financial decision or a scheduling conflict can prevent a major blowup down the road. Regular dates allow these little things to get aired out on a consistent, healthy basis.