How to Find Romance When You Have a Supersized Family

When I was dating my husband, romance looked like going out to eat, visiting my favorite coffeeshop and maybe catching a movie.

Starting a family didn’t change the desire to do all those things, but having enough money, time and energy to achieve them did.

In our current culture, most people think of romance much like I did. While those are all elements that facilitate romance, those are just things we DO.

But romance isn’t about what you do as a couple, but rather what you feel

Redefine Romance

The definition of romance is interesting. Here’s the official definition:

Romance
1. a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.
2. a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.

There are two things that stand out to me about what romance has:

  1. mystery
  2. the feeling of remoteness

In order to achieve the feeling of romance, we must feel like our partner is still a mystery waiting to be solved AND we have to feel like we are away from everyday life.

Uncovering the Mystery…Again

Recently, my husband and I went on a date to celebrate. We went to Serrano’s (his favorite) which was pretty average on the romance scale.

But afterward, I did something we never do. I went to Academy with him.

For many wives, this might be something you do regularly, but for us, it’s not. My husband isn’t really a shopper, but it was before Christmas and he wanted to look at the FitBit Charge 2.

What ensued felt like a comedic sketch. I followed my husband around photo documenting his love affair with guns, bullets, knives, flashlights…and getting a little bit of a workout on in the fitness section of the store. He was like a kid in a candy shop.

For two people that have been married almost 15 years, it was fun to get to see this side of my husband.

It reminded me that mystery still remains inside him waiting to be uncovered. 

Calgon™…Take Me Away

Remember the old commercial where the busy mom overwhelmed by children and the phone ringing would yell, “Calgon™, take me away” and, suddenly, she was in her garden tub relaxing with some Calgon™ bubble bath?

She didn’t leave her house, but somehow she found a way to “turn off” the noise of regular life and slip into a world where the only thing that mattered was her.

According to the definition of romance, this feeling of remoteness, or being disconnected from real life, is an essential piece of the feeling of romance.

You don’t have to leave the house to find romance when you have a big family, but you do have to “leave” mentally.

The more children you have, this gets harder and harder.

I’m under no illusion that “leaving” mentally is an easy task if you can’t afford a night out of the house, so you’ll have to be patient, creative and purposeful.

Plan

You’ve often heard it said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Nothing could be truer when trying to find romance when you have a large family.

As much as we would love for romance to be spontaneous, it’s not likely to happen if we don’t plan for it.

Planning allows you to budget the necessary funds, call a babysitter or enlist an older sibling who might have their own plans and prepare the children for the absence of mom and dad.

Depending on your schedule and personality, planning might be a week in advance or the day before but plan nonetheless.

Set the Mood

You know what makes any holiday generally successful year after year? Mood.

During Christmastime, the entire world hangs wreaths, plays music and put up lights.

During Valentines, there are commercials for diamond tennis bracelets and steakhouses.

And for Halloween and Thanksgiving, people set out carved pumpkins and do all sorts of holiday crafts.

Whether or not you celebrate these holidays, the simple truth is that setting the mood is a huge part of the actual holiday.

It’s no different with romance.

When I was dating my husband, I spent HOURS getting ready to see him.

I showered and shaved. I put on my best makeup and perfume. And I made sure my outfit was knockout gorgeous.

But many times, when date night rolls around, I just throw my hair up into a messy mom bun and finally get around to brushing my teeth for the day.

That’s sad. For him, of course, but also for me. Because there is something inherently exciting and moment-building in the getting ready process.

Even if all you can afford is to go out for a soda at McDonald’s or you are just staying in for a Netflix movie, you can still set the mood by doing a little something extra to show your spouse and yourself this time is different from the rest.

Talk it Up

They say talk is cheap, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

When you know you will be spending any kind of time with your spouse remember to talk it up.

Something as simple as, “I’m excited to spend some one-on-one time with you on Friday” can help build up those romantic feelings we thrive on.

It might seem silly or foreign so here are some things you can say when talking up your time together:

  • I really love that we are able to get away this Friday night. It’ll be an adventure to get away.
  • Aren’t we so blessed to have this special time together planned?
  • I know it’s only a Netflix movie, but I think it’s so cool that we get to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie we both enjoy.
  • I think you’re so much fun, I can’t wait to have fun with you this weekend.

Monitor Your Expectations

Expectations are a double-edged sword.

Too high and any time spend with your spouse can seem an uneventful letdown. Too low and you could find yourself killing the mood before the date even starts.

You don’t have to measure your love, romance or the quality of your relationship based on how much fun you have on one single date.

Knowing you’re playing the long game while trying to find romance when you have a big family can help temper expectations and any momentary disappointments you might have.

Understanding that “there is always next time” allows space for more romance to happen in the future while having the viewpoint that “we never do anything romantic” or “see, every time we try we fail” will set negative (and potentially self-fulfilling) expectations for the future health of your spousal relationship.

Is Romance Necessary When You Have a Supersized Family?

Romance may have been what brought two people together, but it’s not what keeps them together. Commitment is.

Marriage isn’t always fun…in any sized family. There are ebbs and flows. Days of fighting, days of peace. And many types of days in between.

While romance may not be necessary in order to maintain the fundamental makings of a marriage, I think romance is something we should strive to attain on a daily basis so we can experience all marriage has to offer.

Romance isn’t just for us, it’s also for all those little eyes looking at our marriage trying to figure out what real love and romance looks like.

I know in my life, I want my children to sit back and say,

“One day, I hope to have a marriage just like my parent’s.”

That thought alone is enough to spur me on to pursue finding romance even though I have a supersized family.

Too Many Kids? Too Many Chores? Too Little Time? Me, too.

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