Well, the easy answer is, of course, to MAKE time! At the same time, the almost impossible answer is to MAKE time...
With five kids, a busy youth ministry, and a house to maintain ~ in addition to homeschooling! ~ the idea of time for my husband can seem like a far-away dream vaguely visible through a heavy fog. But I work to find a way to keep my marriage in it's proper place. If I don't, I'll be sorry later. And I'll probably be sorry today, too.
By planning to make time for my husband each and every week, I find I've already defeated many of the "excuses" and "busy-ness" that crop up to keep me from spending quality time with him. Every Friday night is date night. My husband and I go out and do whatever we enjoy doing together. The kids look forward to Friday because they get to stay up late, watch some Netflix, have a fun dinner, and just hang out. Sometimes they play on the Wii or PS3, maybe they build a theme park on Roller Coaster Tycoon. Of course, this is easy for us to implement weekly since our kids are 12, 14, 15, and 17 (my 19-year-old is away at college). It was more difficult when we had to pay a sitter in order to have a date night. Back then, we would have our date in our room and the kids could watch a movie and have popcorn in the living room. It wasn't quite the same as going out for a date, but it helped us to have time together as a couple.
In addition to our weekly date night, my husband has a alarm set on his cell phone. When it goes off each evening, he says, "Time with Jan." That lets the kids know it's time to wrap up what they're doing, gather in the living room for family prayer, and then head to their bedrooms. The older teens may chat for a while, the youngest kiddo may read in her room before going to sleep. But they never complain about mom and dad having time together in the evening. In fact, I think it gives them security to know their parents are making their marriage a priority. Hopefully this will be something they carry into their own marriages someday.
Again, this can be tough to facilitate with infants and toddlers. My advice would be to do what you can to keep your marriage central within the family. That might mean you get up early to have a cup of coffee with your husband before he leaves for work. Or maybe you eat dinner in the dining room once a week, while the kids eat in the kitchen. The season of babies and toddlers really does pass quickly, so don't lament what you don't have. Enjoy the season you are currently in, and trust the Lord to bless your efforts at making time for your spouse.
Remember, before there were a house filled with children to homeschool, there was just you and your husband. He was there first, so treat him like you remember that he was there first!
Lord bless your efforts to be a blessing to your husband while maintaining your family's homeschool!
Day 169 done :)
Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study ~ available as an eBook or in print @ www.AllThingsHomeschool.weebly.com (eBook specially priced @ $4.75 thru November 1st, 2013)