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Keeping the Fire Burning

A Speak Your Mind essay

by Florinda Pendley Vasquez  |  3654 views  |  0 comments  |       Rate this now! 

What do you do to maintain (and put the spark in!) your marriage or relationship as you juggle work and taking care of kids and other responsibilities?

One of the lessons from the breakup of my first marriage was that if a couple doesn't make it a priority to build and grow their relationship together, at some point there's not much left to work with. My first husband and I became a family of three very early, and we were very focused on that, as well as getting our educations and developing our careers. I think we did well as parents and in relating to each other in the context of our domestic life, but as a couple - that kind of got lost. And it's not something I want to have happen a second time.

I've been married to my second husband for almost a year now (together for nearly 2-1/2), and I'm his second wife, so we're both trying to apply what we learned the first time and not make the same mistakes (most likely we'll find new ones to make). We're interested in many of the same things and enjoy sharing our new finds with each other. We make sure that we talk - a quick phone call or two during the work day and conversation at bedtime, at the very least on busy days. When one of us has had a particularly rough day, the other usually takes care of dinner and tries to ensure a relaxing evening - and if it's been unlucky enough to have been a tough day for BOTH of us, we'll often end up crashing on the couch with a light dinner and a comedy on DVD.

Due to the fact we're only "part-time" parents to my stepchildren (two nights a week and alternate weekends), we actually get more time alone together than many couples with kids do, and we try to use it well. We watch movies and shows that we consider unsuitable for the kids, we go for weekend drives, we go to the movies, we have long conversations over meals...we enjoy just hanging out together. We both like to read, and this weekend we holed up next to each other in the living room, each of us reading our own copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (which we both finished by Sunday night) - so this weekend we were quieter than usual.

I think the most important thing we do together to maintain our relationship is that we keep each other laughing. Our senses of humor are pretty similar (warped), we find many of the same things funny, and both of us feel a sense of achievement when we can make someone laugh with us (not AT us, that's different). It's great to be with someone who makes you smile.

About the Author

Florinda is a wife, mother, stepmother, blogger, and accountant employed by a Southern California nonprofit agency.

Read more by Florinda Pendley Vasquez

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