A Little Romance
Work for it
"This marriage isn't working for me," said a friend's husband (and so many husbands before him) as he was on his way out the door for the last time. Talk about misguided notions. Who said marriage was supposed to work for you? Maybe you're supposed to work for it, just as you work for everything else you value in your life.
"Unless you make the effort to connect with each other -- talking after the kids go to sleep, taking walks together whenever you can, having dinner dates as often as you can -- then the little time you do have together may be spent fighting because you'll feel like opponents," says Weiner Davis. "When you spend time and attention on each other and connect emotionally, the little irritating things can get written off."
Georgia Galanoudis, a Dix Hills, New York, mom of two, says she stays connected to her husband by playing games. "Once the kids are in bed, Steve and I get out the trivia games or play a computer driving game together -- just hang out having fun like we always did."
But for many of us, television and the computer suck away precious evening adult time when we could be reconnecting but don't. Meghan Kendall, a mom of two in Los Angeles, tries to solve the problem by multitasking. "I ask Joseph to sit and read next to me while I'm catching up with e-mail -- it's nice and quiet and we're close." They also have a standing Friday-night date, with their son's former preschool teacher booked to babysit from now to infinity. "Occasionally, we have to use the time to get stuff for the house or do errands, but these days it's romantic to walk through a store holding my husband's hand and not have a child pulling at me," she says.
Elaine Stinson, the mother of a 3-year-old and a 23-year-old in Northampton, Massachusetts, says that having any kind of a romantic life with her husband now requires "recruiting a sitter to take Emma for Saturday-morning walks in the park so that Dave and I have the morning to do whatever." When my husband and I have a weekday lunch date or, every once in a while, take what we call a "marital health" day while the kids are in school, it feels a tad illicit, like I'm having an affair with my husband -- which is a nice way to feel about your spouse.