We’ve no doubt all heard of children being given ‘time out’ at school or in the home for wrong behavior. For a marriage ‘time out’ can be a beneficial time. Of course ‘time out’ doesn’t have to be a negative thing.
I’m not talking about ‘time out’ for wrong behavior. I’m thinking more of ‘time out’ away from the family, even if they’re in the same house. Let me explain,
Is there a time or place when you and your spouse get to talk without being interrupted by children and other demands? If not, there should be. Why not set about creating a time just for you as a couple? Make it clear to the children that this is just a Mom and Dad time and that you are not to be disturbed… unless it is an absolute emergency. If you make it a regular time each day and in the same place they will soon get used to the idea and accept it.
Whether you go into a room and close the door will depend on you and your family, their ages and the way they respond. For example, when our son was very small he hated to have any barrier between him and me, whether it was a playpen or door or whatever. He was happy to play anywhere so long as I was in his sight at all times. So, with a child like this is may be enough to set up in one corner of the room while they are in another part of it, at least while they are really young. As they grow older it can change and there is no reason why the door can’t be closed. Make sure they know you are not to be disturbed.
I’d suggest the first half hour after work is not the ideal time, because children usually want to see their parents and enjoy that time with them after having been apart and tell them about their day. However, if your children have a regular TV show they like to watch, then you might be able to leave them watching it and head off to the kitchen or the bedroom and just have some couple time. Mornings also are probably not going to be the best time as everyone needs to get off to work and school. You’ll need to think about which time and place will work best for you.
You might decide to take a drink and some nibbles with you and give the children their own special little treat. Help them find something to amuse themselves and then depart for ‘time out’ couple time where you can talk over the day, any problems or just relax together and enjoy being a couple for a bit. Such time will help your marriage and probably your parenting as well.