Spending Time with Your Husband: 4 Moms

For this week’s edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids we’ll be sharing ways to spend some time with your husband without spending money.   Be sure to check out what the other moms have to say.

As our family has grown and changed, so have the ways in which Mark and I spend time together.   It used to be nearly impossible for us to leave the house without all of our children and now it happens nearly every week.  We used to be able to have a ‘private’ conversation over dinner even with 3 small ones hanging around, now with older children, that is impossible.  God works things out like that.

I don’t think that we’ve ever left our children with a baby sitter.  We have occasionally left them with my parents or sister, but for the most part we’ve chosen to take care of them ourselves and we’ve waited until they were old enough to take care of each other.

I’m going to do a bit of a time line of how we’ve found ways to spend time together starting with ideas that work with even the smallest children and working my way up to where we are now with a 14 year old.

Put the kids to bed early

One of the easiest ways that Mark and I have found to spend time together is to regularly put our children to bed early.  Our children’s bedtime is 7:00pm and after that Mark and I are able to play games, tackle projects (rarely happens because I’m not an evening person), read or talk.  Early bedtimes have provided a reliable and regular opportunity for Mark and I to spend time together.

Plan a date night in

These are some of our favorite times.  We feed the children a simple meal and then put them to bed with a story on CD.

Sometimes I prepare a nice meal for the two of us, but often Mark picks up something ‘to-go’ while I get the kids down.  Then we take our food into the family room (I don’t know why, but it feels more like a ‘date’ if we’re not sitting at the table where we eat every day), eat and talk, watch a movie or play games.

Check out this fun option for a date night in. This is our new favorite.

Wake up early

For a time Mark and I would get up before the children and Mark would lead in a time of Bible reading and prayer.  Those were times when we were really able to focus on the needs, weaknesses and strengths of each of our children and spend time praying for them and for each other.   Now we have children who get up quite early so this is not something that we do regularly anymore.

Little babysitters

As our oldest got to be about 9 or 10 years old Mark and I began making use of her budding abilities and would give the children a specific task or activity  (i.e. clean the kitchen, play a game, etc.) and then go out onto the front porch to spend some time together.

Big babysitters

As our kids have gotten older (and more numerous) with some waking early and some staying up later, we’ve found that it is more necessary to leave the house to spend time together.  Sometimes we go for a walk around the neighborhood or to a nearby park.  Sometimes we will go grocery shopping or run a few errands, but the best time to sit and talk is during lunch.

Since the end of my pregnancy with Isabella we’ve tried to get together for lunch about once a week.   With a 14 year old it’s simple to leave the children at home.

I think something that’s important to mention is that while going out regularly with your spouse is nice, it’s not necessary.  Mark and I spent the first 13 years of parenting, taking care of our own children all the time.  Spending time with your spouse does not require leaving your children or your home, it simply requires making good use of  the time that you have.

How have you carved out time to spend with your husband?  How do you spend time together without spending money?

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24 Responses to Spending Time with Your Husband: 4 Moms
  1. Annie @ Beauty In The Surrender
    September 30, 2010 | 7:25 am

    Kim, my husband and I also employ the early bedtime rule in our home and I must say I love it. Not only do they actually fall asleep within 30 minutes of laying down, it enables Tim and I to have that time together. I, like you, am not an evening person. I wake up daily around 4-4:30 a.m. for Bible and prayer time and to get Tim ready for his day. Those precious evening hours mean a lot to us since there aren’t kids to interupt us.
    Also, like you guys, we make nice meals at home for the two of us and will feed the kids a Kid Cuisine (they love those things for some reason) when we have a “Date-Night In”. We also utilize our library DVD section as a free way of having entertainment if we don’t want to watch what we have at home.
    Great post! Can’t wait to read other ideas! I may have to use some!

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  2. Melanie
    September 30, 2010 | 7:35 am

    My husband and I have three children 4 years old and under. We enjoy reading in bed together after the children are in bed. We try and set our routine to have the children in bed by 8:30pm. Most of the time this is accomplished with the exception of our 22 month old. She is in a big bed with her sister and tends to wander out of bed. We pray at 9pm and then head off to bed to read together.

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  3. Jenna
    September 30, 2010 | 8:15 am

    As your children become older (like with your 14 year old now) do you still plan on having them going to bed around 7 pm?

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Our 14 year old still goes to bed fairly regularly at 7. I’ve read from several sources that teens actually need as much sleep as toddlers.

    That said, I can certainly see a time when this will change. Even now we sometimes keep the older kids up a bit later to talk and visit or allow them to read or work on projects that they have going on.

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  4. Elizabeth
    September 30, 2010 | 8:22 am

    We use to do the getting up early thing. It didn’t last long because as soon as we started, there would be one kid that would get up at the same time. Then we started getting up earlier, so would the kids! We even tried getting up at 5:00, which is way to early for me, but I tried. Can you guess what I’m going to say next?! We stopped trying the morning thing. ~sigh~
    Now we have our dates in the evening as we have early bedtimes for the kids. We always have put the kids to bed early, but never utilized that time after the kids were in bed as well as we should.
    Also, the kids are getting older so we are able to go to town for short times and have uninterrupted time.
    Great post! Always enjoy reading your blog.

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  5. shannon
    September 30, 2010 | 9:29 am

    We have 3 little children and like to do car dates on errands. They are strapped in their seats with toys and for the most part don’t interrupt us when we ask them not to. We are able to talk on the way to do simple errands. Running to the bank, pharmacy, etc. My family use to tease us about going everywhere together but it is actually a nice, mini-date. 🙂

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  6. Stephanie
    September 30, 2010 | 10:55 am

    What do you do about a child who will not stay in bed during your date? The two year old conks out by 8pm and is generally content to stay in the girl’s room, our one month old we expect to keep with us since she is nursing and be interrupted as needed. The nine year old boy will pop out of bed and come downstairs needing “something” every time at least 3-4 times. If this were one of my girls and they were that age I would expect them to stay in their room after bedtime unless there was an emergency. My husband will not just send my stepson up to bed after making sure there is nothing wrong but will take 10-15 minutes to deal with the drink of water, etc… I am at the point where at home dates or adult evenings do not make sense.
    My stepson is a good kid but not being able to have adult time in the evening half of the month gets old and I am beginning to feel like the wicked stepmother and I do not want two sets of bedtime rules in the house even though his siblings are young.
    Any ideas?

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    Christine Reply:

    Stephanie,
    I would pray and pray and pray some more. Every time I try to interfere with my husbands discipline decisions we end up fighting, as I am trying to take his God given authority for myself (this happened last night, so I am not perfect with this.) I would imagine this would happen doubly in your situation since the 9 year old isn’t your son.
    Do communicate with your husband until you feel he understands your position, but let him decide whether to act on it. If he’s spending the extra time with his son, use that time to push in to God.
    I hope this helps, and I’m sorry for your situation.
    Christine

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    Kath Reply:

    My dd does this at 6yo when she’s not tired, or she’s wound up or something. I’m still trying to find the magic formula too, but I think it involves a number of factors: don’t let them sleep too late in the morning, lots of outdoor activity during the day, cut out sugar/desserts past 6:30 or 7 in the evening, keep the bedroom dark and cool. Then you might try getting the jump on him, before he makes an appearance, go up to his room on the pretext of passing by and ask if he needs anything. Keeping him in the quiet, dark room, in bed even if you have to fetch the glass of water may help to break his habit.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I would definitely follow your husbands lead on this one. God knows exactly what you need and He will provide whatever that is, whether it is time alone with your husband or grace to do without it.

    I pray that God will pour out His blessings on your home.

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  7. Rebecca Burgener
    September 30, 2010 | 8:03 pm

    I want to institute the early bed time and early wake up time. How do you get there if you didn’t start that from day one?

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Rebecca,

    Here is a brief response to this question from another reader. You Asked.

    Hope that is helpful.

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  8. Michele
    October 1, 2010 | 1:46 pm

    I *love* date night and so does my husband. Every so often we get to actually go *out* on a date when a relative offers to watch the children. But for the most part we do “in home” dinners where I’ll feed the children something special like corn dogs (LOL!) and french fries. For our meal, I make a truly out-of-the-ordinary dinner like filet mignon or tuna steak or something else elegant. For $20 I can do an amazing restaurant-like dinner at home.

    Great post!

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  9. Heather
    October 1, 2010 | 7:40 pm

    thak you. Sometimes I feel like I’m abnormal for never leaving my kids.It’s like peer pressure; everyone else is doing it. Our society also spends so much time telling us we need “me” time; scuh an emphasis on this that I’ve seen first time moms of 6 wk old babies leaving baby to go out clubbing, because “don’t you know, Mama needs time for her self too?”
    We are military, and this is hard for me because we are really expected to have a certain amount of social involvement with those in our spouse’s unit. In our unit, this always means doing some activity where children are not welcome, and since I refuse to leave my children with a sitter (other than their own Dad, and on 3 occasions their grandparents…) I have no involvement with this,and I do feel like it has hampered my husband’s career in unofficial ways.
    Anyhow, the point is, we do not leave our children, but by simply making each other a priority, as in dropping everything when he comes home just to hug him, or staying up late talking, we don’t feel starved for time with one another. Your suggestions are great, and I wish that more people in the world thought of raising families this way.

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    Jaime Lynn Braden Reply:

    Gosh I totally understand! People even in my church try to make me feel weird for always showing up with my 5 month old. Why do I need to leave her? If she isn’t welcome somewhere then that is not a place that I need to be!!!

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    Neena Reply:

    You’re right. After all read about Islam and you’ll find the real religion from Holy Qur-an

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  10. DeAnn
    October 2, 2010 | 11:19 am

    Love the ideas. I think its fun and important to continue dating your husband. Sending or placing notes of appreciation. Small simple treats to be found unexpectedly. We all like to be thought of and appreciated. Its a nice way to keep the magic in between the real dates.

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  11. Heather (Creative Family Moments)
    October 5, 2010 | 11:14 am

    Exercise! No one else wants to walk the dog, and now that our daughter is old enough to babysit we do it nightly. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to our daily walks.

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  12. Amy
    October 5, 2010 | 4:19 pm

    All great ideas! I always try to remember no matter how busy life gets that spending quality time with my husband is the one place I can go to recharge.

    I’m visiting from the hop. 🙂

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  13. Multi-Tasking Mommy
    October 6, 2010 | 9:16 am

    About once a week we will feed the kids separately and have a date night. Because we are on a tighter budget so that I can be a “stay at home Mom” with the children, date nights out aren’t always an option for us. But honestly, call me a homebody, I prefer to relax and stay at home anyhow.

    We like to go out once every few months, but we often take advantage of the fact that we don’t have kids with us and we go shopping together or something in peace!

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  14. Jessica Hilliker
    October 21, 2010 | 8:06 pm

    What a great post! I continue to learn so much from you, Kimberly, thank you!!!

    One thing I appreciate so much about your “parenting style” is your ability to adapt and change your schedule/methods as your family grows and changes–I am gleaning so many great ideas from you!

    So far, hubby and I don’t really have any “date time” besides talking before bed unless the boys are with their grandparents. We are hoping to formulate a more workable schedule–and earl[ier] bedtimes are DEFINITELY #1 on our priority list for that (and countless other) reasons!!

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  15. Rebecca
    January 28, 2011 | 11:45 am

    I’m a follower of Raising Olives on facebook too. 🙂

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  16. Lindsey
    May 11, 2011 | 4:43 pm

    Hi Kimberly,
    I just wanted to let you know that I have been devouring your blog every spare minute this last week. I love it! I think we might be kindred spirits…:) I am so encouraged by how you trust God, pray, and respect and honor your husband. Thank you, thank you, thank you,
    lindsey

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  17. Charlotte
    November 1, 2012 | 4:34 pm

    Thank you for this post! Now that we have 3 children I’ve been feeling like I rarely spend alone time with my husband. I thought the answer was to find a good babysitter and go out every once in a while. But now I see there are better ways to do it. Thanks for the ideas!
    – Charlotte

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