How to Find Time for Your Marriage After Four Months of Life on the Road

September 4, 2017

Yesterday marked exactly four months since we left NYC. I made it a goal before we left to share a reflection here at the end of each month. I wasn’t really sure how they would take shape, but I wanted a way to track my honest feelings on each month away.

In Paris I dealt with a lot of self-reflection, in Berlin I grew tremendously as a mother, in Hvar I redefined home and this month in Montreal I’ve learned the true importance of showing up in my marriage each day.

As I read through each months reflections prior to this one I can’t help but feel proud. I hear a different version of myself through each piece, which proves that regardless of the harder moments, these last four months have brought such growth.

Prior to leaving New York our friends and family politely made comments like, “Don’t you think you and Zack will get sick of each other with no one else to spend time with?“, “Aren’t you worried about little to no alone time as a married couple?” and the little more bold friends asked, “Are you nervous this could affect your marriage negatively?“.

We had every bit of confidence that our relationship would not only be okay, but that it would thrive while we were away. To be honest the hardest part about maintaining our marriage while traveling has been the lack of one on one time. We severely underestimated how tough it would be to not have a single date or beer together in four months. That part was hard. Really hard. But it taught us a valuable lesson that we feel lucky to have learned.

We don’t need a lot of one on one time, but we do need some one on one time.

Sure we have evenings after Owen goes to sleep, but there’s something to be said for getting out in the real world together without a stroller. To freshen up and treat ourselves to a good meal and to have conversation that doesn’t revolve around Owen. We love him more than anything, but it’s important to remember that before Owen it was just the two of us.

Luckily, we had the opportunity to have not one, not two but three dates this month in Montreal. My parents made a last minute visit and I requested a date night which they we’re more than happy to give us. We also flew Zack’s cousin, Molly, out from NYC to babysit for two nights so we could visit a couple restaurants we’ve wanted to for YEARS. I realize that sounds fancy, but flights from NYC are under $200 roundtrip and it was worth it to us.

After making sometime for each other this month we are spending our final days in Montreal feeling refreshed and connected, making it clear that we have to make time alone a priority together. That being said we are well aware of the struggle of finding the resources for date night and since up until this month those dates were limited I thought I would share some ways we made time for each other without a designated date night.

1. Take advantage of stroller naps. Since becoming parents we’ve never had family live in the same area as us so we’ve always relied on these on-the-go quick naps as a way to reconnect over a cup off coffee, glass of wine or beer. We’ve learned that this isn’t doable everywhere, but in Brooklyn most restaurants and bars don’t mind a sleeping toddler in a stroller. This way you get to be out and about with your significant other without the expense of a babysitter.

2. Make date nights in a priority. We really have to make a conscious effort to make this happen since we’re both freelance and often times our evenings are used to work. I believe we can both tell when it’s a night that we need to put down our laptops and phones and just hang out together. To be honest my favorite way to do this is just by watching a movie or TV series. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s so nice to just relax after Owen is down for the night.

3. Face-time with friends. Part of our regular routine for date nights in NYC was to run around Brooklyn or Manhattan with our best friends. It’s been tough to be away from everyone we know, but Face-time calls have been so helpful. I always feel so refreshed after we get to chat with our friends and see their faces, it feels like a mini hang out and we love that.

4. Work on a creative project together. Zack and I started the podcast before we left NYC and it’s just as much a way for us to connect today as it was then. We don’t have script so it’s really just a time for us to chat. A lot of the time we will open a bottle of wine and talk about our travels, family and whatever is happening in our world. It’s such a fun way to connect and create something. Plus, since it’s part of my business it’s one of the funnest ways to feel productive.

5. Encourage friends & family to visit. We’ve been so fortunate to have some friends and family members visit us throughout our journey this summer. We haven’t always had nights away from Owen when we’ve had visitors, but Zack and I always feel refreshed after sharing each of our “homes” with the people closest to us. Plus, when there are more folks around that means more hands to help with Owen which is always appreciated and helps to relieve some of the responsibility.

6. Take long family walks. I don’t know about your kids, but Owen LOVES his stroller. We’ve been so fortunate to have stayed in very walkable cities since May and when we’re all feeling a little stir crazy it’s our best bet to get dressed, put Owen in the stroller and take a long walk. This gives Zack and I fresh air and some time to chat. Some of my fondest memories in Brooklyn are early morning walks just like this with Zack – we would grab coffee and game plan how we could both be freelance a reality.

7. Take advantage of independent play. Owen has always been super great with playing independently. When we notice he’s entertained with a puzzle, his Legos or cars we try to take advantage. Maybe that means starting dinner together, getting some work done, listening to a podcast or just chatting. We’ve learned it’s essential to take advantage of these little moments in order to get small breaks throughout the day.

How do you guys make time for your marriage without breaking away? We could always use more tips!

Leave a Comment

  • Hi! I am listening right to your podcast, I am the person who made the comment on IG you relate to and I live in Montreal, Mile-end) Man, you should have ask about places to drink during the day haha. A lot of breweries open at 3, and you can go with your son. I don’t know how many days you have left, but take a look at Réservoir (Duluth and St-Laurent, NICE food and place, brew their beers, etc.), Laika just on St-Laurent same corner, open all day, very cool place, drink what you want, no food, with the kid; there is also a brewery Alexandraplatz (it is in the Mile-Ex, north Mile-End, close to Petite Italie), I went there with my son when he was a baby, it is great there, take a look also. And you can drink in all parks (yes if you “””eat”””, but you know…) Ok I will continue to listen to the podcast haha.

    • Oh my gosh! I wish I would have asked earlier. We leave Wednesday morning and tomorrow we will be packing and what not! Thank you so much for these tips though ❤️

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