Dear Husband, Do You Still Love Me?

Dear husband, it’s been 9 years and 6 months that we’ve been married. A lot has changed, and I have changed a lot. I am no longer the person you fell in love with. Do you still love me? 

Dear wife, it’s been 9 years and 6 months that I get to see you grow into the person that you are today. A lot has changed, but you’re still my wife. I’m glad that hasn’t changed.  

Dear husband, I’m sorry I haven’t been holding your hand a lot lately. 

Dear wife, thank you for always holding onto our children and making them feel they’re in the safest place in the world. 

Dear husband, do you mind that there has been more take-outs and less home-cooked meals recently?

Dear wife, it’s not what I eat that matters but who I get to eat with. Thank you for always waiting to eat with me.

Dear husband, what do you think of my flabby tummy?

Dear wife, does it matter what I think? I want you to love yourself regardless. And for the record, I adore that tummy. It’s gone through so much to bring happiness (babies) into our lives. 

Dear husband, it’s not beautiful when you see me yell at the kids, is it? 

Dear wife, you’re not a saint. You’re human. And no human can tolerate our kids every single time.

Dear husband, I snap at you sometimes. I never did that when we were still dating.

Dear wife, we live together, we’re bound to show our childish sides and our flaws. I married you for all the good and the bad in you, not only the good. 

Dear husband, I admittedly spend more time on my phone than with you. Are you mad at me?

Dear wife, I do wish we would spend more time together. But when you need to be alone, I respect that need. 

Dear husband, regarding the decline in business in bed…

Hm……

Dear husband, do you still love me?

Dearest wife, I still love you and will love you forever although I do hope the business in bed could get better.

Dear husband, we shall talk about that during our 20th anniversary.

?????!!!!!

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3 Steps to Prioritising Your Spouse Above Your Schedule … And Your Kids

When most of us entered our marriage, we couldn’t wait to spend the rest of our lives with our partner. At least that was the dream. But as life went on, our spouse began appearing in the backseat in our lives. Work had to come first. Then kids. At the end of the day we barely have the energy to connect with our spouse.

Why are we doing this to the love of our life? Why did we push them to the backseat? Maybe they had pushed us to their backseat as well, but how did we all come to this point?

063015_Touch-Is-An-Emotional-Connection

Modern living is funny. As a species, we’ve never had as much as we do now. We’ve also never had as many choices in life as we do now. But ironically, we’ve also never been busier. We’ve never had lesser time with family. Most of us leave home early in the morning, barely having time to have breakfast with our family. Some don’t even get the chance. We all spend the majority of our days at work and at school, with colleagues, teachers and friends. By the time we reach home, it’s time for a rushed dinner. And honestly, no matter how much we love our kids, we can’t wait to send them to bed.

Everyone wants their downtime at the end of the day, considering so much had been going on from morning till evening. So husbands and wives end up doing their own things. Some might be playing games on their devices, some read, some watch movies on their television or some just waste time away on Facebook and Instagram. We’ve all done these things. We’ve all been there. This is what being in a relationship mindlessly looks like. We let our level of energy and the flow of the day dictate how we spend time with our partner.

This has got to stop.

We need to be in a relationship mindfully – knowing and planning what we want to do with our spouse. We have got to be in control of how we spend our time, especially so when that time is spent in the presence of our partner.

Step 1: Agree 

Talk with your partner and make sure both of you agree to want to put in more effort to plan your couple time. If not, this is not going to work. Together, decide how much time you want to at least allocate for just the two of you in a week. Remember to be realistic. Also, agree on the type of activities you both would want to engage in.

This is to prevent situations whereby both of you will be at a loss as to how to spend time together.

Step 2: Schedule It 

I know love comes from the heart, but to keep that love going, it has to be inserted in the calendar just like any other important thing in your life. Most of the times, the heart just can’t win your schedules. That’s just how it is.

Step 3: Commit

This is the part most people fail to act on. They either tell their friends or colleagues they’re free for a business even though they have the appointment at the back of their mind. Somehow we think we can treat our spouse as less important than work and colleagues. But why should we? They are the ones that will last with us.

Or both husband and wife are just too exhausted to even bother to spend time together.

Now, hold on a minute…

Do you both want this marriage to be happy and last till death do you part? If yes, don’t be lazy.

For your information, that sentence is for ME. I know how difficult it is. I am an introvert and all I want to do every evening is be by myself. But I know that’s not healthy for our relationship.

So let’s just do it! At least once a week, a few minutes, give your spouse your whole attention. Talk, massage, laugh, etc…

Till next week,

Lili is a wife and a mum to 3 boys. An aspiring writer. Adores creativity, art and beautiful creations. Dog lover. Gentle-parenting follower. Follow her parenting journey at http://www.happywehappyfamily.com where she writes about family happiness and how to stay connected to our spouse and kids.

Dear Husband… A Wife’s Humorous Open Letter

Dear Husband,

One of the happiest days of my life was the day we decided to be together for the rest of our lives. Since then, you’ve been an amazing partner.

Your embrace loosens my tensions,
your kiss on my forehead assures me that you are here for me,
your hand holding mine lets me know that I still have you by my side…

But dear husband, no relationship is perfect and neither is ours. Let’s get real here…

You are only safe every time I see ANOTHER pair of socks at the doorway because you helped me take out the trash that morning.

Seeing you SOUND ASLEEP whenever I had to feed the baby for the 5th time at night really made me want to murder someone but you’re still alive till this day because I still remember how you went out at 3 A.M. to take-away McDonald’s French Fries for me 5 nights in a row when I was pregnant, and you didn’t complain one bit. (I will forever be grateful… but if I had to wake up for the 6th time… well.. we’ll talk about that when it happens)

You ignoring me while you’re playing your games is a real turn-off but I let it be because I see how you willingly shop with me for hours on end when I needed to find the perfect dress… and yet I didn’t get any after 5 hours of searching…

That toilet seat? I’ll just live with it because I don’t put the seat back up for you anyway. We’re even on this one.

And you looking at that girl that just walked past… wait, what? no, there’s no forgiveness there, no matter how perfect you are. So DON’T LOOK.

And lastly, I want you to know that …

Best Date Idea With Your Kids!

My 7-year-old said to his 5-year-old (soon to be 6) brother: “It’s really really fun Oliver! This Geocaching thing is really fun!”

And as any parent would expect, my 5-year-old didn’t wait for his actual date day, he wanted to go the next day! So we did. He too enjoyed his first experience Geocaching.

So what is Geocaching? I’ll talk about that in a minute. But first, let’s talk about dating.

In our family, we have had this tradition of individual parent-to-child dating for almost 2 years now. What we do is that:

  • each month each child gets to go on a date with one parent on the date of his birthday. For example the child born on the 7th of June will have a date on the 7th of every month of the year with either parent.

 

  • Mom and dad go on dates with the kiddos on alternate months. If Mom goes on individual dates with 3 boys on 3 separate days in January, dad has his turn in February. And then it will be mom’s turn again in March and dad’s in April and so on. This way, each kid gets his undivided attention at least once a month. And mom and dad only has to commit once in two months!

Our dates started off simply with an evening out with the kids to have a McDonald’s ice-cream, a walk around the many toy shops in the malls nearby, sometimes we take a ride on our scooters or bikes to explore parts of the neighbourhood that we don’t usually go to.

A ride around the neighbourhood with stops at playgrounds
Ice-cream!

The objective of the dates is to allow time for parent and child to talk and be involved in an activity together.

So clearly, things like watching movies are not in our agenda. But going to the museum can be.

But as the kids grow, stuff that we have been doing are now becoming rather “boring” for them, except for our littlest one, he’s still enjoying simple dates =) So planning for dates is becoming more and more challenging but we’re not going to stop the tradition. It’s something we would want to continue doing for as long as they feel comfortable doing it with us.

Tips for Bigger Smiles on Your Child’s Face when going on Dates with them:

  • Try your best to make it an “experience” date rather a “shopping” date. Experience last longer in the memory than material things do. Spending on 3 kids (or any number at all) every month for 12 months a year is not financially sound and it might give them the wrong signal about how they should be spending when they grow up.

 

  • Do something THEY enjoy. I enjoy going to the museum but that doesn’t mean my son would. So when I go on a date with each of my children, first I let them decide where they want to go or what they want to do. Only if they run out of ideas then I give suggestions. I never force them to go somewhere or do something they don’t want to. The purpose of the date is for them to feel special and loved. 

 

  • Be More Affectionate than Usual. I love seeing the smiles when they notice that I hug them more and kiss them more, hold their hand when we go on dates. I am happy I can make them feel special. Being one out of three children is not easy for the kids. They have to share one mother and one father, often times they don’t get the attention they deserve because life and responsibilities get in the way. Bigger kids get even lesser touch from the parents because we have to spend more time on the smaller kids. So this is especially an important component of our dates. Hug, kiss, pat on the head and hold hands often.

 

  • Keep Your Phone in Your Bag. C’mon it’s a once-a-month chance for your child to have undivided attention from you, not having to share you with their sisters or brothers! Don’t let your phone take that attention away. Please. When you have a meeting with your boss, you would most probably ignore your phone. Give your child-on-a-date that same respect. Tug the phone away in the bag and use it only in case of emergency or when you need to, but definitely not for fun or just scrolling through Facebook or instagram.

 

  • Have more than one mini-activity. To make the date more special for the kiddos, let them have their “special moments” two or three times throughout the date. Something that we do is incorporating ice-cream into the date (that’s one), sometimes we go in for a “race” in the Arcade – that’s two – (which kid doesn’t love to race a parent?!) and have a heart-to-heart talk – that’s three – ask them anything, kids just love to talk and share with us as long as we are interested.

 

Ok, so back to Geocaching. Last week I was due to have my December date with my eldest. One day before the date we still had no clue how we wanted to spend the date! So that night I searched online and found a very interesting date idea. A TREASURE HUNT! And one that someone else has already left the “treasures” so you just need to go and find it!

 

The moment I suggested it to my eldest, he was super excited.

Courtesy of Geocaching.com

So what is it and how did we go about Geocaching? 

Step 1: Download the Geocaching app. You can sign in with your Facebook account or set up a new account 

Step 2: Search for your preferred location to treasure-hunt. Click “Start” and the app will guide you to the exact location the treasure is hidden, in this case they call it the “cache”. 

About the game: 

  • For each cache, there will be a description of where it is hiding and hints given. Also, they will describe the surroundings if there’s something special around the area.

 

  • When you find the cache, you are supposed to put it back exactly where you found it so that other Geocachers can look for it too.

 

  • On the app, inform the community that you have “found it” or “did not find” and give a little comment!

 

  • You can also hide your own cache but it has to be waterproof

Why Geocaching Might be the Best Dating Idea With Your Child

  • Chance to Practice Map-Reading Skills: By “map” I meant GPS. Nowadays we use Google Map a lot to navigate cities that we are not familiar with. It’s a good chance for us to let the kids learn how to read GPS maps and follow directions.

 

  • Chance to Lead: I let my sons lead the way. I make them feel in charge and feel that this is their game. It gives them the chance to make decisions based on what they know and where they need to go.

 

  • Knowing the Importance of Perseverance: On our date, we decided to look for Geocache at 3 different locations. With my 5-year-old, we found the first one but we gave up on the second one after spending around 20 minutes to no avail. We also found the third cache just as we were about to give up. So it was a good chance for me to teach him that if we give up, we won’t find anything (as in the 2nd case) but if we kept on believing that we could find, we will find it.

 

  • The Excitement Factor: Each Geocache is different from the next. It’s fun to look forward to finding something you don’t even know what it looks like. It’s a total blind search (with hints of course). It’s also fun to want to be able to actually find it.

 

  • Kids Love Technology: I let my kids hold the phone whenever we need to refer to the GPS map to see how close we are or which direction we need to go. Kids and gadgets, they’ll never say no =) and they love to be given the authority to hold our phone!

 

  • Kids Love Going Somewhere New With a Parent Alone: The most special thing about Geocaching is probably that they get to go somewhere new, find something together with a parent and doing things like go into bushes, crawl under the staircase on overhead bridges and climbing up to somewhere high together. They will remember it for a looooong time.

 

  • It will Not Get Old. You can go Geocaching every other date and the kids wouldn’t mind as long as you choose a different location, or go back to the cache that you did not manage to find the last time. They love challenges!

Tips for Geocaching with a Child

  • Do not go when it’s dark. My mistake was to go out after dinner with my eldest. The sun has already set but luckily we chose locations that were near the train station, in a shopping mall and near our house. But it was difficult to find the Geocaches when you can’t see much of anything.

 

  • Follow their speed. Don’t rush them and also don’t stay too long if they do not want to look for the geocache anymore. Remember, it is supposed to be a pleasant experience, not a survival training opportunity!

 

  • Let them hold the phone. Bonus points go to parent who let the kids hold the phone and navigate the search for Geocaches. They just love to do it by themselves!

 

  • Be vigilant. As with any other activities, safety comes first. If you feel that the location you are at might not be safe, you can gently explain to your child why you need to change the Geocache you’re looking for and head to the next nearest one.

Well! That was a long post! But I really do hope you try this out with your kids. They’ll love it! And you will too!

For readers who are living in Singapore, there are 647 geocaches to be found on this tiny island! So get out and going!

12 Ways To Have Fun With Your Spouse Without Breaking The Bank

My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years. And believe it or not, we went without dates for the first 8 years. It took a toll on our intimacy, it took a toll on our mental health and it took a toll on the kids. We didn’t have time to be ourselves. We didn’t have time to be there just for each other, to listen to each other’s problems. We didn’t have time to unwind and relax as a couple. We didn’t have the chance to do romantic things. And that slowly turned us into grumpy parents for our kids.

Fortunately, both of us decided we needed our way of life to change. For the past one year we have gone out on weekly dates, sometimes twice a week. It was a breath of fresh air! We couldn’t fathom out how we survived the first 8 years of our marriage without dates! Now we’re addicted to time alone together.

The reason that we didn’t have dates is because we are both living in a country that’s not our own, so that means our parents/in-laws are not in close proximity. We didn’t have help. We didn’t want to leave our kids with friends, it just didn’t feel comfortable because most of our friends were still single and childless. We were the early ones to become parents.

Lucky for us, we had help the whole of last year and it was such a good investment. It seemed like a waste of money to hire help but when it gives you back your time and sanity, I would say it’s worth it.

So if you are struggling and coping without help, please consider hiring a part time baby sitter. If you have family close by, don’t be afraid to ask for help at least once in two weeks. I’m sure they’d be delighted to take care of your kids for a few hours. You really need those free hours!

Here are some of the very fun things to do with your spouse that does not cost much at all:

Go night-cycling and enjoy the lights of the city. Have a stop-over at a cheap place you can have a drink or light supper. Super fun way to spend time together, and even get some exercise in the schedule! Kill two birds with one stone! if cycling at night is out of the question, then cycle during the day. Just get your wheels and your helmet ready and pedal away!

Create your own Photo-taking Session! Grab a tripod, your camera-phone and your smiles and you’re ready. Choose a location that has meaning to you, or simply because you like how it looks and feel. Take couple photos together, set the timer on your phone and get your smiles ready while you’re in each other’s arms. If you are both camera-shy, you can still have a date going around new places to capture beautiful shots with your camera-phone, compact camera or a DSLR. The joy is in spending time together, doing something different together and having something as a memory keepsake.

Hold Hands and Go Window-Shopping. Now now, ladies don’t get too excited. I don’t mean shopping for clothes or shoes. I mean shopping for something that is important for the two of you. Window-shopping gives the same delightful feeling as does planning for a vacation. You don’t actually have to buy anything, the process of looking at products and items that interest you gives you something to look forward to when you can finally make the purchase. Some of the things you can go window-shopping as a couple are to shop for house furniture, perhaps a new car, and in-house entertainment systems (the guys would love it!).

Have a Lovely Breakfast. You have no idea how liberating it was for us on our first breakfast date! Imagine this, I was able to put food into my mouth without having to feed anyone or listen to anyone go on and on about their newly found game from the App Store. It was just us, enjoying our food and each other. We could look into each other’s eyes and talk! No kids to interrupt and no spills to wipe! That’s as close to heaven as it gets!

Dance date. Put your portable speaker into your bag, head outside, choose a secluded spot and turn on slow romantic songs. Hold each other and do the slow dance like you’re the only people in the world. When was the last time you danced with your spouse? Most probably at your wedding! Why not do it again?

Volunteer at an animal Shelter. Aww those paws and wet nose will not only be therapeutic for your soul but you will also get to do something fun together with your spouse, without having to run after the kids!

Get Outdoors. Do you love a good hike? Do you like a stroll at the beach? How about just sitting near a lake, enjoying the peace and quiet? Choose whatever and wherever you love, just be there together and cherish the moment 🙂

And if you really can’t find help to look after your kids, then date at home! It doesn’t make it any less fun. Just get the kids to bed early and begin your date!

Play the Newlywed Game. Search the internet for questions that you would like to have each other’s answer. Write your answers at the same time and have a good laugh while getting to know your spouse a little bit better.

Give each other a spa-standard massage. What’s the key here? Soothing music (you can easily find them on YouTube), scented candles, massage oil and a slow massage that is not rushed. Guaranteed, both of you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated. You might end up wanting to do this for every date night because it feels SO GOOD!

Chat about the future. Daydream together. Tell each other your hopes and dreams, your plans and wishes. People change over time so what you knew about your spouse a few years ago might not be true now. It’s time for an update!

Movie Night. Nothing beats cuddling up on the sofa watching a movie you both love. Sometimes you don’t need to say anything, but being together while enjoying the same thing, is enough. That’s what partners are for isn’t it? To spend time with while you do something you love.

DIY together. Choose a furniture in your home that you both want to give a make-over. Get your spray-cans of paint and tools ready. Get to work and create a new masterpiece for your living room or bedroom all while having fun together.

(featured image: courtesy of Mo Riza – Flickr)

Why I Put My Husband Before My Kids

Even my husband will be shocked reading this title. The thoughts “Who? Lili? Puts her husband first?” will probably run through his mind. Mind you, if you are reading this dear husband, I do try to put you first even if you might not feel it (yet).

There is no doubt that I can never quantify my love for the people in my life and put them in order. It just doesn’t work that way. My parents are special to me because they have been everything to me and still is. My sister has a place in my heart because I watched her growing up. My husband is the one I chose to spend the rest of my life with. My kids were wanted by me and given to me by god’s will, fate, nature, you name it. I love them all the same, no more, no less.

Yet, in life, we have to make choices. We can’t have it all, we can’t get everything done. That’s just how it works. We have to choose. And I make it my life philosophy to put my husband before my kids.

Anybody who knows me well enough, including my husband, would have thought that I love my children more than I love him. But no. I love them all the same and it is my intention to always put my husband  before my kids.

Kids, if you are reading this when you’re all grown up, I hope you will understand what I mean and always know that our family – every single one of you – mean the world to me.

Here are my (very good) reasons (I would say) for making my life philosophy to put my husband before my kids:

We Chose Each Other

Out of all the people in my life, I get to choose one person to spend my life with. I get to choose one person to love. I get to choose one person to be my partner in everything. He doesn’t deserve second place after the kids come. After all, he’s still my first choice. I have to remember not to take him for granted. I have to remember to show him the love that I have for him. I have to remember that he was here before the kids.

There’s No-One Else Who Will Put Us First

If we don’t put each other first in our family, there is no one else who will. We vowed to be there for each other through thick and thin, till death do us part. Why not be the person to always have our partner’s best interest at heart? My husband is the type that puts everyone else before himself. That is one quality I admire in him. However, it can be his strength and weakness at the same time. So I want to do my best to make sure he is well-taken care of and that his wants and needs are not ignored.

We Are the Foundation For The Kids 

My life goal is to have a happy family above material possessions and financial status. Family comprises of my husband, me and our children. We can only have a happy family if all of us are happy. If I put my children first, will my husband be happy? Of course he would be, he loves the children too. But, he might feel neglected and less important, and that’s not how I want him to feel. When he feels that way, there will be a strain in the marriage, when that happens, the family is no longer a happy family. Thus, by putting each other first, we are doing our children a very big favour. There’s no doubt that we will love them the best we can, but it’s even better when we keep the family closer and stronger by putting our partner first.

So As To Not Groom Self-Centred Children

We are the first generation of parents to really put our kids interest first. We read hundreds of books and consult thousands of other mamas on Facebook groups that we join. All because we want what’s best for our children. It is easy for the kids to feel on top of the world. It is easy for the kids to feel they’re entitled. It is easy for the kids to feel their needs are more important than other people. But that’s not how we want them to feel. We want them to know their place.

We want them to know that everybody has their own place in life and that sometimes they can be on top, but other times other people will come first.

So Our Sons Will Learn and Put Their Wives First

My husband and I are the closest marriage couple to our children. They will learn what marriage is, how it’s supposed to look like and what works and doesn’t work by looking at my relationship with my husband. There’s no doubt we want them to have their own happy family in the future, that is why it is important for them to know the importance of putting their spouse before their kids. It keeps the family together.

In The End, It Will Be Just US “Again”

When the children are all grown and leave home to have their own lives, it will be just me and my husband together. By then it would have been too late to rekindle any spark of love and without kids we might not feel the need to be together anymore. So, to prevent that scenario, I intend to keep the love going strong from here onward.

Putting My Husband First Does NOT Mean My Kids Will Lose Out At All

If you’re still thinking I am a little crazy to put my husband first, I can understand where you’re coming from. You want what’s best for your children, so do I. But we have to remember that by putting our husbands first, it does not immediately translate to our kids being neglected, ignored or overpowered.

Instead, it just means that while making decisions inside and outside of home, I remember to take my husband’s feelings into consideration, and not only my kids’.

If you want to tell your husband how much you value him, share this post with him to make his day 🙂

Reconnect With Your Spouse With This Daily Routine

I’ve already admitted that my husband and I once felt like roommates rather than soulmates and I also shared with you the 3 habits that actually saved our relationship. Today I’m going to write about a daily routine that all couples should follow in order to keep the love going strong, ‘coz who doesn’t want to keep the fire burning?

Create a couple’s ritual

Let’s get real. Going out on a date once a week is a great idea, but are you really thinking about giving your time to your partner for ONLY once a week? That’s not going to cut it.

If your relationship is already rocky, a once-a-week date won’t be enough to save it. Relationship is a time-consuming and energy-consuming equation. And people in a healthy relationship are willing to put in that time and energy because that relationship is important to them. Is your relationship important to you? I already know the answer. You do too.

So, together with your partner, come up and agree with a daily couple’s routine. It doesn’t have to take up as much as half an hour or one hour each day, but if you’d prefer that, then that’s great! If not, schedule in at least a 10 minute couple daily routine. What do you both want it to be about? Do you want to have a couple jog in the morning or evening? How about a couple shower everyday before bed? You have to invest at least 10 minutes in each other, otherwise, who else is going to invest in your spouse?

Give importance to Hellos and Goodbyes

In my house, we have a habit of giving each other a hug and a kiss when someone is leaving the front door and when someone comes in through the front door from somewhere. Make it a habit to celebrate the return of each other so you both feel wanted. And it’s also sweet to make a habit of slow goodbye. Don’t rush out the door. Kiss, hug and wish one another a great day ahead and mean it. These are the moments that happen everyday.

These are the points where you leave each other for the whole day and come back to one another after a long day. Make them special.

Bring out the smiles and laughter in each other

What was it that you enjoyed  doing with your spouse before you had kids? I’m pretty sure you enjoyed having fun together, laughing about something together and you probably adored that smile whenever you saw it. Revive that positive feeling when your spouse is in your presence. Make each other smile. Watch a comedy show. Have an inside joke…

If you are able to do all 3 things everyday, I can guarantee you can feel that affection for your spouse again. A happy couple makes a happy family. Now go and make some love! I mean, like prepare breakfast or something :p that’s love.