This past week, my husband and I dropped our two kids off at my inlaws so my boys could go to an outdoor day camp in the mountains. That meant that, after 10 years of marriage, we would be alone together in our house.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but I was worried about what it would be like at home without the kids. Last year, we spent our 10-year anniversary alone together traveling to Paris and London, but we were on an adventure and our conversation never got deeper than should we have red or white?
Our week together would be a mini test of what it would be like after our kids grow up leave home. Would we argue about the dishwasher (I never unload it) or dinner (he never cooks it)? Or would we have nothing to say to each other now that we couldn’t argue over who would take the boys to school or how much time they should spend playing video games?
None of these things happened and after a week of being together there were a few important things I realized.
1) There was a reason I married my husband. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of daily life. We spend so much time talking over details that we don’t really talk to each other. We had several really good, uninterrupted talks that made me remember that my husband is a smart, funny, interesting man that I’m happy to be married to. I learned new things about him when I thought I knew it all.
2) We need to put our phones away. Part of getting to know him again was to actually listen to what he was saying. That meant I had to put my phone down and really put it down, not glance at it under the table. It’s hard to have a meaningful conversation when the phone is buzzing with a text or new email message. When I put my phone away I could concentrate on what he was saying and honestly, it was better than any email, text or Facebook message.
3) Date nights need to be a priority. Every time we have a date night we say we’re going to plan to have one every week. This is unrealistic because babysitters are expensive and we can’t always do babysitting trades with friends. But saying we’ll go once a week means we’d do it at least every couple of weeks. Spending time alone together is key for keeping up communication.
Even though we know we probably won’t have that kind of time alone together anytime soon, it’s reassuring to know that after 10 years of marriage our relationship isn’t just about the kids.
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