Jared! Jared! Are you listening to me?! He was holding his smart phone reading something not nearly as important as whatever it was I was trying to tell him. The kids were fussing in the background, dinner was on the stove, and I was so frustrated that he wasn’t paying any attention to what I had to say. He just wouldn’t look up from his phone.
It had been a long day for both of us. He was at work while I was at home with our three kids. But now that he was home, I expected him to jump in and help. I expected him to participate in the parenting. I expected more attention than his phone.
Truthfully, I needed his help, but what I craved from him was some acknowledgement of my heart.
I needed connection.
Motherhood is hard. Parenting is hard. I might not look like it, I might not ever say it, but there are plenty of days when I feel like I’m drowning, continually dipping my head just below the water as I do everything I can to keep from sinking.
And I want my husband to notice. I want my husband to notice, and then I want my husband to jump in and save the day. I want him to put down his phone and care about helping me.
But I suppose my husband craves the same attention from me. I suppose he wants me to notice all that he does to help me already. I suppose he wants me to want to engage with his heart and not just look for his help. I suppose he wants me to pay as close attention to him as I do my children.
Let’s have a little bit of real talk about this. Wives should never have to wish they were phones to get more attention from their husbands, and husbands should never have to wish they were our children to get more attention from us.
Deep down, we are both desperate for more connection. But when did we get so disconnected? When did all of the space come in?
Two words. Early parenthood. As a new mom, I was so distracted with my babies that I had to divide the time I gave to my husband and children. I would be nursing, rocking and putting the baby to sleep, and while my husband did everything he could to help, when he couldn’t do any more, he would pick up his phone and read the news or check in on social media.
As our kids grew, homework, ballgames, drs appointments, and special class projects have replaced the dirty diapers and teething and constant bottle washing. My time and my attention are still limited, but the space between us has grown.
If we don’t do something about it, all of that space between a husband and wife will just grow along with our children. All of the disengaging with each other will only become more of a habit until we look around and realize we were too busy with the kids to notice that our husbands had pulled back. That we had both pulled back.
Our situation might not match every home perfectly. The roles might be switched in your home. Perhaps the mom is just as prone to picking up her phone and finding connection and community to replace the connection she doesn’t feel from her husband.
But what I’m guessing is true in most homes with children, is that we must work as husband and wife to remain connected in the middle of everything else once we become mom and dad… no matter what is taking our attention.
So what’s the next step?
My friend, Seth Dahl, spent 30 days reconnecting with his wife and kids. He lived for 30 days without the Internet at home to see the impact it would have on his relationships with his family. He recorded his journey and has turned it into a podcast called The Disconnected Dad now available on iTunes. What he has to share will absolutely change your family.
You might recognize his first guest in episode one. I went on a similar journey to reconnect with my husband in the midst of motherhood. I didn’t disconnect from the internet, but I discovered the secret to purposefully reconnecting with my husband. As I talked with Seth, we realized that husbands and wives were desperate for reconnection for many reasons.
I created a 21 day strategy to turn my heart and attention back toward my husband so I could engage with him like I did when we first fell in love… back before children became a part of our story. The simple steps I took changed my heart and marriage, and I want to share them with you. You can preorder Love Unending here and get the first five days right now.
It might take some work to reconnect, but the first step is simply deciding we’re ready to make the effort. It’s a decision our children will hopefully thank us for someday.