His primary love languages are touch and acts of service. Mine are gifts and quality time (i.e. let me verbally process with you).
So how do we both keep our love tanks full while parenting 5 kids 12 and under, doing ministry, and managing multiple business together? Oh, and did I mention we're expats, and we currently have no trusted babysitter?
It's been years since we had a night away alone together, but yet we love each other now more than ever. How does this happen?
In this post I'll dispel 2 myths that you might be believing about true love and married intimacy. And share 5+ ways to find alone time even in a house full of kids! (Note: you might blush at some of these, but they work! You've been warned!)
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Myth 1: It's inappropriate for kids to see you enjoy each other.
BUSTED! It is necessary for your kids to see you enjoy each other. They see enough inappropriate touch and kissing in the real world an on tv, they need to see real life love. They need to know that mom and dad love each other even if they don't always agree. That they can “fight” and still love each other on the other side of the argument. And that real love is a daily “I love you anyway” kind of love, not just just the heated passion of the lustful moment that the world so worships.
Make a practice of touching when you pass each other in the home. A pet on the head, a peck on the cheek as you pass, trailing fingers up the back, or even playfully “bumping” into each other on purpose. All of these touches keep the physical attraction alive, and will not be lost on the children either. I am not touchy. I have had to learn these habits so that my husband is confident that he is loved.
Kids have no place in your bedroom during intimacy there, but don't try to hide your daily life caresses, your kisses, or your kitchen dancing from them. They may complain or cover their eyes, call it gross, or leave the room, but it can be one of the best things you ever do for their emotional well being.
Myth 2: Since we had kids, we can't get alone time.
BUSTED! If you mean you haven't had a night away together by yourselves in 5 years, then maybe you're right. We definitely understand that as we live countries away from helpful family members and trusted friends. However, alone time is there for the taking if you embrace it!
Here are 5+ Intimate Dates that can Happen even in a Full House
Creative Intimate Dates with your Spouse don't usually just happen, you have to make them happen on purpose.
- Make your nightly shower a date. He's happy to get to look at me, and I have a captive audience as I verbally process my day. I'll admit this was not easy to do in the early, more self conscious days of our marriage; but after birthing 5 kids I've gotten over that and truly look forward to this special time. (Love language: touch, quality time)
- Make a midday date, say Wednesdays at 2pm. Be sure the littles are napping, older kids safely occupied in some activity. Go in your room, lock the door, and enjoy each other for a while. (Love language: touch, quality time)
- Have a certain phrase or physical object sign for one another when you're in the mood for love, so you'll both know what to expect and be ready to get everyone to bed a bit early that night, so you'll have some extra “date time”. (Love language: touch, quality time)
- Practice snuggles before sleep. No clothing required. Turn off the tv and phones, and leave them out of reach. Put the book away. Focus on your spouse and being near them. Even if it doesn't “go anywhere,” regularly cuddling and talking before sleep goes a long way to keep the love alive. (Love language: touch, quality time)
- How about Saturday or Sunday mornings… can you sleep in a bit? Have a “do not disturb mom and dad until 9am” rule, then set your alarm for an early morning “date” and enjoy waking each other up. (Love language: touch, quality time)
Other Ideas for Meaningful Connection:
- Are your kids old enough to stay in the house unsupervised for 30 min? (Find state age rules for that here). Take a quick walk together or run a quick errand. Be sure to hold hands and take advantage of any opportunity to talk or kiss as necessary. Be sure to leave a cell phone with a kid who knows how to use it so they could reach you if an emergency arose in that time. (Love language: touch, quality time, words of affirmation)
- Take the family to a movie. Be sure you two sit together to hold hands – I was gonna say cuddle, but have you sat in those seats lately? Not usually conducive to cuddling. (Love language: touch, quality time)
- Hold hands in the car when you're driving somewhere. (Love language: touch, quality time)
- Keep a journal of love notes back and forth to each other. You write one for him and leave it on his pillow and he writes one back and leaves it for you, etc. We did this one year and it was so special! (Love language: words of affirmation)
- Write notes to your spouse praising their greatest qualities. Leave them to be found in unexpected places. (Love language: words of affirmation, gifts)
- Pick up some trinket or other gift. An item that says “I love you” or “I was thinking of you” or “I remembered you” to your spouse and gift it to them. (Love language: gifts)
- Do a chore for your spouse that they usually take care of. This may surprise them. (Love language: acts of service)
- Plan to get up 20 min earlier to enjoy coffee and a devotional reading together before the kids are up. Gift your spouse a unique coffee mug just for the occasion (Love language: quality time, gifts)
- Get the family involved in volunteering somewhere together, especially in an event or cause your spouse is passionate about. (Love language: acts of service, quality time)
- Take a massage class together and practice on each other. They have these online, so you don't have to leave home to do it. (Love language: quality time, touch)
- Join your spouse in a chore they usually do alone (cooking, cleaning, laundry, washing the car, lawn work). They know you don't always enjoy that activity and will appreciate you doing it to be with them. (Love language: acts of service, quality time)
- Find a book to read together or a hobby you can both enjoy whether the kids are hanging around or not. (Love language: quality time)
- Install a hammock or porch swing and set a date to spend 15 min there together daily, over coffee in the morning, or after dinner at night… (Love language: quality time, touch, gifts)
Just like with a budget, (you will have $ for the things that are important to you) you can find time alone to nurture your relationship if it is important to you.
What other things have you done to find alone time in a house full of kids?
Need more ideas? Check out this series by 11 other blog friends of ParadisePraises.com:
12 Creative Date Ideas for Busy Parents was created to inspire tired and busy moms to be intentional and carve out one on one time with your spouse.
Come back and check out all of the great ideas these awesome bloggers are sharing. You can find an updated schedule over at Inspired by Family.