For a Mother’s Day gift, I carved a block of wood into the bold letters MOM, to honor my wife’s role as a mother. The neat thing about this block of wooden letters is that either way you look at it, front or back, it spells MOM. When you turn the word upside down, it also spells WOW.
While carving this block of wood, I reflected back on my courtship and marriage. I married my WOW! Our courtship and the first couple of years of marriage was a delightful time of affection, playful outings and getting to know one another. Pam was attractive to me in so many ways, and all I could think about was how we could get together and spend time together.
Then came pregnancy, with its nausea, tiredness, and discomfort. Pregnancy was kind of hard on our marriage, but we both wanted a family. Eventually, our delightful first baby was born. Boy, did our life change. Crying and diapers can control your world and absorb all of your time and energy.
Pam had wanted to become a mother her whole life, and she is a splendid mother and grandmother, even to this day. But I realized with the birth of our first child, my WOW had become a MOM. Sometimes I wanted my WOW back. Sometimes I needed WOW time.
Couples tend to stop doing what they did when they fell in love, then expect to have those same feelings. Couples need WOW time.
Statistically, children can be hard on marital satisfaction, but not for all couples. Couples can make it a point to maintain and strengthen their marriage relationship, by making “WOW” time for each other.
Of course, it is not just children that can become distractions to your relationship focus, time and energy. Household duties, hobbies, television, sports, video games, emails and other social media get in the way. Even church and extended family can take their toll.
It is easy for your marriage to drift into the background and get your leftover time and energy.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Make your marriage and time together a high priority.
2. Create blocks of time designated as “couple time” and make them daily, weekly, monthly rituals. Then protect your relationship time.
3. Create a boundary around your marriage. Make time to be alone together. Turn off the TV, put the cellphones and laptops away.
4. Create some “getaway” time, away from home — simple dates, evening walks and overnight retreats. Women especially need to get away, to take off the MOM hat for a while and put on the girlfriend WOW hat.
5. Put a lock on your bedroom door and get the kids out of your bed and bedroom.
6. Take time to play together. “Play” is the secret ingredient to marriage satisfaction. Shared, positive experiences develop bonds.
Randy Chatelain is on the faculty at Weber State University. Opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WSU.