When you’re married with kids, romance isn’t about flowers and candy anymore, it’s about taking out the trash and sitting on the couch together. But is this enough? Listen to moms and wives talk about the effort they put into their love lives.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: You’re listening to faith and family, a Christian family community that aims to provide Christian advice and promote Christian values. I’m Mariel Guiterrez. Coming up at almost 12 years of marriage, the structure of our date nights have changed to say the least. My husband and I are all about that Netflix and Chill but heavy on the Chill so it’s so chill that when we have any spare minute we usually choose sleep over food or going out. But we’re so tired. We’ve got jobs. We got a pet, we’ve got kids. Is this romantic? Aft¬¬¬er kids, is dating even necessary? These are the things we’re talking about today on Tired Moms a faith and family podcast. And here to weigh-in is our favorites, Bernie, Emrick, and Jewel. Hey, Moms!
EVERYONE: Hey, Hi, Hello!
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Ok, ok, so quick question before anything. Ready?
BERNIE: Go ahead.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Most romantic date you’ve ever been on with your spouse… Go.
BERNIE: We were at Walmart and we held hands.
EVERYONE: Oh my gosh, so sweet. So romantic. Boom. Did you post about it?
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Oh my gosh, filters on filters.
EMRICK: I’m trying to search in my brain the last most romantic date and I would have to say we go on frequent date nights, little pockets of hanging out here and there, but…
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Oh, your anniversary just came by too, right? Happy Anniversary!
EMRICK: Oh thank you. Oh yeah, that wasn’t too romantic.
JEWEL: I think that’s why we’re struggling. When you say GO. It’s like oh my gosh,…
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: I didn’t have an answer. I had to text my husband.
BERNIE: Have you got an answer yet?
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: I did, after twenty minutes, he texted me back and he was like … I think for me there was one anniversary, a random one, I don’t know what it was, six, seven, and we just went to the Drive-In Movies and we bought five large fries from Five Guys and you know those fries are huge. And we just kind of like sprawled it at the back of the car and ate. But that to me was fun because I like food. But he texted me and I was like what do you think was our most romantic date ever, in your opinion and he said getting lost in Saint-Denis, Paris. And I have to tell you, Saint-Denis is an unsavory place, that’s a place where you ex in the Mac and say hey don’t go there. But we ended up there because we got off on a wrong stop and he said it was getting lost in Saint-Denis, Paris because we had to stick together to survive.
JEWEL: When you really want me to think about romantic dates, before kids, all out, everything is full on massage, the whole nine yards.
BERNIE: We’re going there people, we’re goin’ there.
JEWEL: But you’re right, with kids now, it’s like to me, that peaceful moment where it’s just you and your husband…
EMRICK: Even just hanging out downstairs when everyone else is asleep.
EVERYONE: That’s true.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Well with that said, do you guys ever feel like you have to chose between who you give your attention to? Like your kids or your husband?
BERNIE: When I was pregnant, women would come up to me saying you better know how to divide your time because your husband is gonna get jealous and he’s gonna get needy and blah blah blah and so after when we had the baby, it was almost a year old, I was asking my husband, I know I don’t look the same as I used to prior to this baby, but do you feel a little neglect or tell me how you’re feeling? And he was just like, “I’m totally cool.” And I don’t know if he was just saying that on my behalf not to let me worry but I think because we had our child later in life, we were without kids for ten years and so those ten years, we were just all about each other. We didn’t know it was gonna take us long to conceive so by the time our boy came, it was like this miracle that happened so…
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: So you both kind of understood—
BERNIE: …we understood this is what it is. This is what we prayed for. This is why we went to church every day and kneeled and prayed and this is God’s gift so God gave us our time to be crazy and go out on crazy dates, romantic, all that, but now it took us very long to have this boy. It’s just all about this boy, so I mean I check on him even now. Are you cool? Are we cool?
JEWEL: It’s your maternal instinct to really cater to your kids and then there are many times that harmony would feel like not that he felt neglected, but I don’t think he understood why. Like if he was asking for any attention from me, it would annoy me. Cause it’s like, seriously? I’m devoted to these kids, blah, blah, blah. But one thing I realized was, and we had a very great heart to heart talk. I realized in the last five years, I was pregnant, I gave birth. My kids are not that far apart from each other. And I was pregnant, I gave birth, I was pregnant, I gave birth, so my body, my hormones were just all over.
BERNIE: Oh, I can imagine.
JEWEL: And there’s this time where I realized, oh my gosh, and I told him. I said I don’t know why you still love me the way you do. ‘cause I would not love me the way you love me if I was dealing with me. My husband is my husband still. I’m a mother, I’m a wife, I still have to be a wife. So it’s a conscious effort that I cant use the kids as an excuse, oh, the kids, the kids, ‘cause my excuse for a few years. Now I tell the kids, kids, we’re going on date night. Sorry.
BERNIE: You stay home with grandma.
JEWEL: Right? Seriously. Jasmine might be like mommy, I don’t…. Girl, I’m sorry. We’re going on a date night.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Good for you.
JEWEL: So now the kids are like “are you guys getting a message again?”
EMRICK: Good thing you guys get massages.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: What does romance evolve into after awhile? Is it still even necessary?
EMRICK: It is 100% necessary
BERNIE: It evolves into something different. I mean I’ve talked to moms where they’re like,”you know what girl, he took out the garbage, put the kids to bed, gave them the bath. I got to watch an hour of TV and read my favorite book. I love my man.” And to that mother, that was romantic. He took care of everything. I mean she seriously said, “girl, he took the garbage out, he put it in the right recycling bin.”
EMRICK: That’s big. If he puts the plastic liner after he took the trash out, you’re so romantic.
BERNIE: When we’re… just my son, he’s doing his own thing, he’s playing and my husband and I are sitting next to each other on the couch and he puts his arm around me and I’m cool. I feel like I’m on top of the world, so I think that it varies, but there are some couples out there that do want the whole still the gifts, etc. It’s different from everybody.
EMRICK: I agree. It has evolved to the little things. Even a funny text, just unimportant banter, it’s funny. And you’re like, “Aw he’s so cute, he’s so sweet”, just those little things.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: You guys heard about the love languages right? The five love languages?
EVERYONE: No. Can you remind us what they are again?
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch.
EMRICK: For me words of affirmation…
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Me too, I think mines is words of affirmation as well.
BERNIE: Physical touch, haaaaay. That’s what I’m talking about.
EMERICK: What are we talking about? Acts of service? Like I made you lunch?
BERNIE: Am I saluting him?
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: You know what’s funny? I went through this list with my husband and I said, “What would you say you do?” And I was like, “I’m definitely words of affirmation.” And he’s like, “How come you get to chose yours?” I said, “Ok, you tell me what I am.” And he’s like, “I think you’re words of affirmation.” And I’m like, “ well, there you go.” And then he’s like, “What do you think I am?” I’m like, “I think your acts of service?” He’s like, “WHAT? What is that?” The thing with my husband is that he’s not so much a touchy feely or words kind of guy. He’s more of a, like whenever my head hurts, for whatever reason, he always brings me food. And for the longest time—
EMRICK: He knows the way to your heart.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: He does and I’m like, “if I’m getting chubby, it’s your fault.” But that’s the thing, he’ll do things like that. And for a long time, I’m like, “I don’t understand why you keep bringing me food. This is not a solution. Give me a Tylenol. Give me like three Tylenol and we’re good.” But I’m beginning to understand that I can’t dictate the way he shows me his love and then for the longest time, what I wanted was I used to believe that if I show you this kind of love, you have to mirror it back. I honestly thought that’s how it went and because I kept saying all right. Because I like words of affirmation, I’m not gonna lie, I love it. Yeah, tell me I’m awesome. Tell me I’m pretty. Tell me I’m still hot, you know. So I always tell him that, hey you’re handsome and I’m waiting, dot, dot, dot..
EMRICK: I agree with what you were saying like I try to mirror what I want and it’s like I’m showing and telling you all these things, words of affirmation, I’m doing this, “and how come you’re not doing that to me?” And it took a conversation during that time when we were having difficulty where he pointed out all the different ways that he loves me that I never paid attention to. He’s an acts of service kind of guy.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Oh, they need to meet.
JEWEL: Can I just share a story on that? There was this one time where we’re watching a movie and I’m like moving my neck “ah, my neck hurts” and he’s like “oh really?” And so I’m like, “oh ok the guy doesn’t get it.” So I move my neck on the other side.. “Oh gosh, my neck and my shoulders are hurting”. And so we were watching a movie so he’s like “oh ok”. And I got mad. I’m like “honey, my neck is hurting” and he’s like “ok”. This was when we were first married so he doesn’t know yet, and so I’m like “aren’t you gonna massage me?” And then he’s like “honey if you want a massage just tell me to massage you”. And he goes “how many times have I said my back hurts, do you come rushing massaging me?”
JEWEL: And that’s when harmony made me realize we really have to communicate. ‘Cause what he thinks is a certain way is totally oblivious like we don’t even think about it and what we think is so crystal clear, they don’t really see. And so that communicating what makes you happy, what makes him happy is totally key. So I think that’s how we learned ok, this is how we show love and that’s how we show love. And I kid you not ladies, majority of the time, he knows how to show his love that way. So, I get pretty relaxed.
EMRICK: Massage is nice. I hope you’re reciprocating Jewel.
BERNIE: You guys have a deal right?
JEWEL: Oh no, we barter. That’s what we do. That’s what ten years of marriage is, you call it bartering.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: That’s true. No you know what’s funny about communication is that I feel like for a long time, I used to over-communicate. Like you said, I’m words of affirmation kind of person. And I would be like, “hey tell me you love me.” I would be that girl. I’d be like, “do you love me? Do you love me?” Because I was so needy, especially after the kids, I was like I need to hear it. “Why do you love me? Tell me now.” And we’ll be like at Jollibee and he’ll be like “uhh oh my gosh.” I’m like “now! What? You can’t even figure out why? Like one reason?”
BERNIE: Before you order that chickenjoy, tell me you love me.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: “How do you know how to order extra gravy hella fast but not know why you love me?” I would get so offended but you know what, like you guys said, communication. I found out that that hurts him when I do that. Like when I say, “hey, why do you love me? Why do you…?”
JEWEL: He probably feels insulted.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: He does, he did. He was like, “You know what I’ve been busting my behind here trying to show you in these different ways that I love you but all you can see is what you think you need to hear.” I was like, “Wow, I gotta grow up now.”
EMRICK: I feel like we have the same relationship. I was doing the same thing. I wasn’t noticing the way he loved me.
JEWEL: Do you find it romantic when you watch your spouse perform their duties?
EMRICK: It is, my husband is an overseer and when he performs his duty, when he does his visitations, guards chapel…
BERNIE: Fill them forms out, fill them forms out.
JEWEL: Our definition is so different from how others see it as.
EMRICK: Cause he’s being a man, he’s being that leader.
JEWEL: And I love how all our husbands are leading by example and it’s like we find it so attractive ‘cause you feel like “yeah, that’s the man of our household.”
EVERYONE: Yes. Mhm.
JEWEL: I find it … so that’s when I think when I’m with him; I find so much comfort, so much peace. Our household is gonna be fine, so when he holds my hand, there’s that sense of he’s leading our…
JEWEL: …Yes, security! That he’s leading our family. That he’s leading our family in worshiping and serving God the right way. You feel me ladies?
EVERYONE: Absolutely. Yes, yes.
EMRICK: It warms your heart. It gives you peace and you feel safe. Because of those feelings, I don’t know.
JEWEL: That’s romance. I’m attracted to him. That’s what’s romantic for us. For sure.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Absolutely. I think we can agree what is romantic is really subjective, right? We understand that. But when you promise to be with someone forever, we have to make an effort to make it exciting and a fun journey so we made that promise to our spouse in front of God, to be the best kind of wife for our husbands so that means we have to put in significant effort. Maybe instead of waiting for an opportunity to come up, we need to create opportunities. Steal those gazes, smiles, and kisses. And who knows, maybe on your next Netflix and chill, you might even be conscious. Thanks, Bernie, Jewel and Emrick for joining us today.
EVERYONE: Thanks for having us. Thank you. That was fun.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: I know, always so much fun. But maybe we need to book like two hours next time.