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Ask Ellie: Rekindling the spark in a busy marriage

Block off your first hour of the day, walk the dog together and see where those lead.

Dear Lisi: I love my husband and my husband loves me, but we are so busy with our kids and the dog, and his ageing parents, and our house that’s falling apart, and my new job, and his health — and that’s only the top six — that we have no time to enjoy each other, to relax together, to have intimacy.

We wake up happy to see each other, but usually he’s already showered, half-dressed and heading down the stairs. Mornings are chaotic, as anyone with children can attest, and then we divide and conquer to get our kids to their respective schools.

He goes straight to work; I go straight to work; and somewhere in there the dog gets fed, let out and walked. By 6 p.m., we’ve both been putting out fires at work and home, gather with our children to eat and then race them to their evening activities.

He’s much better about getting into bed early, but I have so much to do before day’s end. By the time I fall into bed, he’s snoring, the dog has made his way up and at least one child is spread-eagled in the middle of the bed.

How do we rekindle the spark that we once had in a toned-down version? I’m not looking for headboard-banging nights, but how do we carve out some “us” time?

Disconnected

The same way you manage to get your daughter to soccer, your son to karate and make sure you’re home when the electrician needs to come over. Schedule the time.

Yes, it sounds too easy. And you both sound stretched. But make it a priority. Block off your first hour of the day, walk the dog together and see where those lead. You’d do it for the dentist.

FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who was walking her outgoing baby (Oct. 21):

Reader – “Reading about the mom whose baby is ‘too social’ for her, what jumped out at me is that this mom puts her child in the stroller and goes out ‘to listen to a podcast.’

“Buggy time was always about talking with my babies, showing them things, interacting face to face. It astounds and offends me how often I see mums strolling, plugged into earbuds with the baby turned away from them.

“Lost opportunity in my opinion and very sad.”

Lisi – I appreciate your thought process because I too spent time chatting with my babies in the stroller. But sometimes it was the only place they would fall asleep. So, on those occasions I wouldn’t talk to them because that was counterproductive. I wanted them to sleep, not chat.

I understood this woman’s plight because as every mom knows, a tired baby is a cranky baby.

Reader No. 2 – “To the unfriendly mom with the baby seeking interaction: I see too many moms paying attention to their phones instead of interacting with their children while out with them. If she gave more attention to her child, she would not have to worry about having to put up with other people.”

Lisi – Please don’t label this letter writer as “unfriendly.” She said she was “shy” and labelled herself “not-so-friendly” as compared to her baby. That’s not the same as unfriendly.

And see my response above. I think it applies to your comment as well.

Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

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