Every morning the world comes knocking on my door, whether I am ready or not. Kids needing fed, lunches needing packed, and Barbie’s needing hair combed. My husband can’t find the keys, even though he was the last one that drove. E-mails are starting to come through, and business is starting to take off. I got to the point where some days felt like I was just existing in a shell of my former self. I was suffocated by my own life. I thought I needed a break, a vacation. But let’s be real… vacations are never just vacations when you have kids! What I needed was a reality check. I needed to sit down, sideline myself from the game and refocus.
I needed to make sure that in all my multitasking, my focus wasn’t spun off into a million different directions. I found that for me, there are 3 things every relationship needs to keep my world in check.
I am not cut out for the rat race. I want and I need to always be working to better something in my life. I need a purpose to work for. Early on in marriage, it was to save enough money to eventually stay home when we had kids. Then my purpose was taking care of those kids while we put my spouse through school. Now we have other goals, including furthering his career so we can provide a certain lifestyle for ourselves and our children. I need an attainable goal. I need purpose. When my children grow up and move out… what am I left with? These are the things that help keep me grounded, so that the everyday rat wheel doesn’t keep spinning out of control.
Our favorite way to make goals in our house is with the very visual, dream boards. They are simply pictures and ideas of where we want to be. They can be short term or long term. We have a dream board of the house we want to build in the next 10 years. We have vacation dream board, and while my husband and I dream of white sandy beaches, our 3 year old has decided a Disney cruise is a much better allocation of funds. This is hung up in our office. I see it every day. It helps me to keep my focus and remember that there is more to life than a day to day rut.
As I mentioned in point 1, we make dream boards. As cliché as it is going to sound, we like to Dream BIG! I love dream building with my spouse. It’s a bond that has kept us moving forward and kept a line of communication open when all others failed. Dreaming with my spouse opens us up to be vulnerable, but that also means we get to see the creative and technical side of one another that usually gets put into a box. My spouse is very artistic –while I could sit on Pinterest for hours and give ideas of what I want, he can sit and draw what is in his mind, and his creations are breathtaking. Especially for someone that never draws! Each time we dream together, I get to fall in love again with his mind, creativity, and talents. Dreaming doesn’t always have to be realistic. Sometimes we just sit and talk about “what ifs”. Sometimes we throw a random card on the table and discuss it “If you could own a business what would it be? And how would you make it happen?” There is more behind my husband than meets the eye, and getting him to verbalize it is a way we both can communicate.
Control of your Self-Centeredness.
I forget sometimes that just because I had a bad day doesn’t mean I need to crash everyone else’s day. One thing I have learned is to never compete for who had the worst day. You each will start trying to one-up each other and it never ends positively. Things will fester and before you know it, you have brought work home. When I agreed to marry and when I agreed to have kids, I agreed that life wasn’t just about me anymore. Am I saying don’t take time for yourself? NO! In fact here is my favorite list for ways to treat yourself. But I am saying that I agreed to a team. If I quit, I’m not just quitting on myself: I quit on my team. What message does that send my children? That when the going gets tough, it’s ok to quit? I don’t want them to see a quitter, nor do I want them to see a fighter … I want them to see a conqueror. Someone who can stand on their foundation and find a way to rebuild, despite everything thrown my way.
Now before you try and conquer a country…. let me give you a suggestion. I start by choosing the little things to praise my spouse about or my kids about. Even if it’s not doing the dishes. I will praise him for things like “Thanks for updating the software on our computer” And seriously, I have never had to do it. I will choose to build up instead of constantly tear down. For my kids, even if their room is a wreck and I am at my wits end, I try to find a compliment. For their sake? Maybe. But more for my frame of mind. A heart of genuine thankfulness, instead of self-centeredness.
Every couple is different, every household is different. You have to find what works for you. Maybe it’s a date night every week, or it is a vacation! That is perfectly ok! We all need something that we use to help remind us there is more to life. Need Date night ideas? Here are 175+ Great date night ideas!