Are you wondering how to reconnect with your husband after a long day of parenting?
You’ve been wiping butts, refereeing sibling fights, dishing out snacks, picking up toys, kissing booboos and hunting down missing shoes. When your little blessings finally hit the hay at the end of the day, you breathe a satisfied sigh of relief. Finally, nobody needs you.
I don’t know what your evenings look like. Maybe you do your nighttime chores. Maybe you sit back and watch a bit of TV. Maybe you have a cup of tea and a chocolate bar while scrolling your socials. But how often do you use that time to work on your marriage?
Marriage after kids can be subject to a few challenges.
When you’re tired and desperate for a bit of space and down-time, it can be tempting to fall into unhealthy patterns with your husband. Choosing me-time over shared quality time. Spending all your time together doing something passive, like watching Netflix. Functioning a little too well as two separate people under one roof.
We all understand that marriage takes work, but when we’re exhausted and in the thick of parenting, it’s often the first thing we stop working on. I’ve certainly fallen into the trap of thinking “Luckily our marriage is fine, so we don’t really need to work on it.”
This is why so many Mums and Dads end up drifting apart from each other! We stop fighting so hard for each other, we let cracks form without realising, and only really wake up to the situation when there’s some tangible damage to the relationship.
Complacency in marriage really is a killer.
I’ve fallen into complacency a few times since having kids. It’s easy to do. When I have so many things to focus on – the kids, the house, my business, my hobbies – Chris has, at times, been less of a priority than he should’ve been. There have been many evenings when we’ve high-fived each other for getting the kids down, then slunk away to spend our evenings separately – me doing chores and writing, him studying or playing video games. And while this is perfectly okay to do some nights, we have to be so careful not to get in the habit of spending every night like this.
Reconnecting with my husband needs to be a regular choice that I make, or it won’t happen.
There’s nothing passive about a good marriage. Chris and I are proud of our marriage, and we love spending time together. Sometimes we just need a little reminder to keep the wheels spinning.
Evenings are our one regular time that we get child-free time together. So a few times a week, we make sure to optimise that time. When we do this, we feel less like roommates and more like a team doing life together.
Here are some simple ways to reconnect with your husband after the kids go to bed at night.
1. Cook together
Chris gets home too late for us to eat dinner as a family (yes, this makes me super sad, but it’s our life right now). Sometimes I eat with the kids, but other times, I wait for him. Then once the kids are down, we cook together and eat together. Spending that time in the kitchen is a light, easy way to wind down together. We choose meals that take 30-45 minutes to cook (HelloFresh is often our go-to!) and we work as a team, chatting as we cook. It’s a bit nicer than simply heating up leftovers.
2. Cup of tea and chat
I have a friend who does this with her husband every single night, and I love the idea. They sit across from each other at the table, hot drinks in hand, and download. They catch up on each other’s days, they talk about the kids, and they check in on each other to see how they’re doing. It’s usually a 15-minute timeslot before they move onto the rest of their evening, but it syncs them up and keeps their connection strong.
Stuck for conversation topics? Try picking a few questions from a list like this one to get things rolling.
3. Dream together
Chris and I always get carried away when we dream together. We’ve spent hours of our marriage looking at real estate listings when we were in no position to buy, discussing big vacations we hadn’t yet started saving up for, and making “someday” plans for everything from jobs to finances to kids to retirement. 90% of the things we discuss don’t eventuate, but it’s a cool way of getting to know each other. We’ve learnt little things about each other, like I now know that Chris dreams of living on a big rural property someday, and he now knows that I’m hoping to be earning a full-time income with my business by the time the kids are in school. It’s less about goal setting and more about imagining the “what ifs” together.
4. Go to bed at the same time
This is one we struggle with – Chris is a night owl who happily functions through to midnight and beyond, and I fall asleep on the couch if I’m not in bed by 10pm! But it can be quite disconnecting if we’re always going to bed hours apart. While we definitely don’t make it work every night, we do try to head to bed at the same time most nights, and it opens the passageway for little chats before we drift off, and cuddles under the covers. These little things are actually instrumental in keeping us connected.
5. Sit outside
There’s something about sitting outside that opens the lines of communication for us. Maybe it’s the open space and the cool night air, or maybe it’s simply the act of removing ourselves from our usual environment inside our home. We find when we sit side by side outside at night, in the patio or under the stars, we have some amazing conversations. Try it!
6. Work through a TV series you both love
This has to be done carefully. I don’t find that spending every evening binge-watching the same show on Netflix does much for us. However, if we spend that time physically touching (lying back on each other) and we keep it to just 1-2 episodes in an evening once or twice a week, it becomes less habitual and more like quality time.
The current show we’re enjoying together? Gilmore Girls. Don’t tell Chris I told you.
7. Spend the evening in bed
Just hang out in bed together! Take a shower, brush your teeth, apply your night cream, and then bundle up next to your husband and spend some easy, chilled out time together. Chris and I often have a bunch of funny posts on Instagram and Facebook that we save for each other, and we lie back and take it in turns to share them with each other. Or we plan out our weekend. Or we vent about tough things that are going on. It’s a super comfortable way to hang out.
8. Play a game together
A card game, a video game, a board game… it doesn’t matter! The light-hearted competition creates a fun and healthy connection. Alternatively if games aren’t your thing, a jigsaw puzzle is a great shared activity too.
9. Create some physical intimacy
Sure, there’s one obvious way of doing this, and it plays a BIG role in creating a strong connection between a husband and wife. But sex ain’t the only way to create a little physical intimacy in your relationship. Snuggle on the couch. Dance in the living room. Give each other relaxing back rubs. Hold hands while you read. Have a tickle fight or a light-hearted wrestle.
10. Work on a project together
If you’re creative types, why not create something together? Make something unique and beautiful for your home, or build something practical. Create some DIY cleaning products or mix some killer spice rubs to add to your spice shelf. Write a song, or a silly bedtime story for the kids. Declutter your wardrobes and fold your socks Marie Kondo-style side-by-side. Find a way to combine your talents, or bring one (or both!) of you out of their comfort zone with an activity that’s totally left-of-field. But do it as a team, and have fun along the way – even if it doesn’t work out the way you envision it to.
11. Pray together
Decide in advance what you’re going to pray for, or pray as you feel led. Read a Bible passage or do a devotion or put on worship music. Prayer with your husband can be done in so many ways, so if you’re already doing it regularly, mix it up. It will only deepen your relationship with each other, and with God.
I hope these simple ideas have helped you to see that reconnecting with your husband doesn’t need to be a difficult thing.
Once you start creating small ways to connect with your husband in the evenings, you’re going to see the fruits of it in your relationship. It will put you on the same page, it will foster your enjoyment of spending time together, and it will create lots of sweet little moments between the two of you.
How do you reconnect with your husband in the evening?
Have I missed any major ideas on my list? Let me know in the comments how you guys like to keep things fresh!
And if you’re looking for more marriage tips, be sure to follow my Marriage Advice board on Pinterest – I’m always pinning new ideas over there.