Tuesday, February 4, 2014

COUPLE TIME! ARE YOU EXCITED?


Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  1Corinthians 13:7  NLT

Do you want to be like this couple above and still holding hands when you are older?  I know I do.

 

Like yesterdays blog, this one is primarily for wives again.  Can I just say before we start that many husbands get a bad rap.  We complain that they don't get what we deal with.  This is true, but on the flip side we don't get them either.  So before we begin let's not assume we know what they are going through.

 

O.K.  Let's begin.  First of all you may be thinking you don't have the help, time, or resources to create couple time.  After all, much of the time you are in survival mode.  I'm here to tell you with a little creativity and a lot of possibly getting out of your comfort zone, it CAN BE DONE.

 

A. Help, or should I say HELP.   This is actually hard in the beginning, but usually becomes easier. 

 

       1. Write down every person or entity that could possibly help you.  Neighbors, acquaintances, friends, family, church, organizations...  Write them down even if they don't really know your child yet.  If your list is small, call your church women's ministry and/or an organization and ask.  Hint: An older neighbor or friend may be a good candidate for this.  Find two people if possible.

 

     2.  ASK FOR HELP.  Once you have whittled your list and found at least one person, be prepared to offer "training" for your child.  Don't expect perfection, but do expect appropriate care and competency.  Don't be afraid to informally "interview" them.  You may train someone and find that they aren't qualified.  Don't be too picky though. 

 

     3.  If all else fails, maybe you can find someone that also has a special needs child similar to your child's and offer to swap help.  This can work if the kids are compatible and you know the other family fairly well. 

 

B.  TIME

 

     1.  Start out small.  One or two hours is a good start.  You will probably have trouble being away from your kids longer with "someone else" taking care of them. 

 

      2.  Add more time slowly.  Don't do two dates at 1 hr. and then plan an overnight.

 

     3.  Add more frequency.  Work to get up to a regularly scheduled date night every one to two weeks.  This is where having more than one person available is helpful. 

 

     4.  See where you can steal time from so that you are not too tired for date nights.  Examples:  Do you really need to research your child's disability as much as you are?  Do you really need to stay up late watching mindless shows?  Do you really need to ....?

 

     5.  Make time with your spouse part of your routine, not just on date nights.  You make time for your kids, so make time for him.  He takes priority over those "Do you really need to ....." questions. 

 

C.  Resources/MONEY    Special needs families are often strapped for money.  Here are a few things that don't cost much or are FREE.

 

     1.  Picnic at a park.

 

     2.  Take a walk.  (Holding hands is required!)

 

     3.  Budget movies.

 

     4.  Rent a movie or get one from the library, bring snacks, and ask a friend that goes out regularly if you can use their house as a date location periodically.  This would obviously have to be coordinated with them.  You may be thinking that you could never do this.  Step out of your comfort zone and ask.   Make sure your husband knows you are doing this, cuz he may have to step out of his comfort zone with this one too.  We did this for a season and it was super. 

 

     5.  Go to a restaurant just for dessert and talk.  We will even go to get a cone and just sit, plan, share, pray.... 

 

     6.  Plan a staycation.  One of our friends mentioned this to us and it's awesome.  Farm your kids out for a weekend and relax.  Ground rules are required here.  Like don't call us unless....  Don't answer your door.  Let some people know that you are on "vacation".  Note:  Often two nights are needed to really relax a bit.  You could also switch this around where someone comes to your house and you go to theirs.

 

    7.  Watch for local venues that have free days and plan your date around the event.  Examples: Local historical sights often have free days.  So do zoos, YMCA's, ....

 

    8.  Local church and community fairs are often free. 

 

    9.  I've started the low cost list to get you thinking.  If you can think of others you can post them in the comment section.

 

D.  Miscellaneous tidbits -- Ways to give your spouse more attention.

 

      1.  Leave him love notes.

 

      2.  Make the bed every day.  This may seem like a little thing, but if you can only have one room looking ok make it be your bedroom, followed by whatever room he normally would relax in.

 

     3.  Greet him when he gets home with a hug, kiss, and or other form of public affection. 

 

     4.  Tell him you appreciate him and love him periodically.

 

     5.  Overlook his quirks.  You know you have quirks that annoy him too.

 

     6.  Encourage him.

 

     7.  Don't talk negatively about him with "your lady friends". 

 

     8.  Try to NOT talk about your kids for a part of your date.  This can be really hard in the beginning. 

 

I'm sure there are many more, but I think you get the idea.

 

PRAY:  Lord, Help me to implement couple time with my spouse and date him again.  Ease my worries about the kids when I am on these dates.

 

Ann Gapinski 

 Photo courtesy of SciencePhoto.com

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