Are you one of those married individuals (with kids) who refuses to buy into the commercialization of Valentine’s Day? Paying an inflated amount for a bunch of flowers, though pretty, is really too much. With three children, I can think of better ways to spend my husband’s money. Dinner? Forget it. Clutching a bouquet of flowers and going to a fancy restaurant decked in your finest is really a show. Look out for the influx of pictures on Instagram—I rest my case.
Ok, I hear the word cynical floating around those reading this. Well, I don’t deny the significance of Valentine’s Day but I’m of the thought that Valentine’s Day should not just be one day in the year that you commemorate your love for your better half. It should be an every day affair. This can be challenging with the work culture that we have, and trying to balance family and ministry commitments. So how do you bring the romance into the daily humdrum of life?
1. Exercise Together
Both the husband and I are getting more health conscious. We are in our early 40s and take our health pretty seriously (ok, we try). Since last year, we have started on weekly walks and though I am huffing and puffing most of the time trying to keep pace with him, we still have large pockets of the time where we are able to talk to each other about our life goals, ministry, or simply gossiping about our kids. It’s become our time together, away from the kids, away from the hustle and bustle and going into the pockets of greenery, which can truly be a magical time for us to reconnect with each other. It is one of the activities both of us look forward to.
2. Eat Together
We both have hectic schedules. Though I work part time, juggling three children, taking care of the husband and the household can mean that our schedules are hardly in sync. We have the luxury of eating together as a family. That is the only time of the day when we can all catch up on the day’s events. We have, on most days, the benefit of eating breakfast together before going to work. This has become a routine and much to be treasured because we rarely get alone time together
3. Surprise Each Other with the Small Things
It is nice to do big things on big occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries. It is almost a given, and definitely suicidal, if one forgets such big occasions. Yet I feel it speaks more from the heart when you do something out of the ordinary on an otherwise ordinary day. A bouquet of flowers to bring cheer to your wife on a day when she is feeling overwhelmed speaks more than on any given day. It shows you care and love her even on days when she’s having a bad day. Perhaps a movie treat when your husband is having a tough day at work would be a nice surprise. Most times, it is the small gestures that count, more than the big ones, because those are the things that we take for granted. I almost fainted when my husband offered to take two days a week to prepare my son for his morning school routine. It is these little things that stir my heart, and he definitely scored brownie points for them!
4. Connecting Emotionally
It is easy to lose that emotional intensity of the relationship, especially when career, kids and life in general, take precedence. Men are often guilty of devoting their time to their career, and the women, the kids. It takes a great deal of discipline to not lose focus of each other when life becomes demanding. And it doesn’t even have to take a lot of time to connect emotionally with each other. When we become stalwarts of our marriage, only then can we be the model to our kids on what marriage should be and can be. We can all take at least half an hour a day to connect with our spouses on a daily basis.
5. Putting Christ at the centre
It may sound cliche but really there’s no other way around it. This may be my last point, but it is the most important point. Going to church on Sundays is definitely the highlight of the week for us. We work so hard during the week, but Sunday is when we can come to the Lord and surrender to Him all that we are. Whatever we have failed to do, or have done or need, it’s all in Him. Even when our spouse fails us, God never will. In fact, He is the One who sustains us, giving us the daily bread to get through each day. He gives us the strength to forgive ourselves and our spouse on a daily basis. He gives us the wisdom to know what to do, when to do and how to do it.
It is only when we can care for our marriage, and for ourselves, that we become better parents. Sparks don’t have to fly for the relationship to work. Most times it is the little things that matter more to our spouses. Take the time to ask your spouse today—what are the little things that matter to them and work it into your everyday life.
Inexpensive activities you can consider to strengthen the bond between you and your spouse:
- Get a cookbook and conquer a recipe a week together.
- Plan a staycation at the many boutique hotels that dot this country and make it like a marriage retreat.
- Cycle along East Coast Park or the newer park connectors like Punggol Waterway.
- Conquer a trail on Henderson Waves or Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
- Movie marathon on Netflix, complete with popcorn and nachos!