My husband I are small business owners. The kind with the brick and mortar location and an array of personality types walking through our doors daily. We are always on the phone, on our computers, working, marketing, strategizing, teaching, training, traveling, responding to emails and phone calls, and just all-around busy. Owning a business is time-consuming, that’s for sure.
We are also parents to the world’s most adorable duo. Our daughter just turned one and our son is almost three years old. They come with us to work because we don’t want to be absent parents despite our heavy workload.
We want to be involved and available in our children’s lives so that when they are adults and they look back on their childhood, they can say that, “Mom and Dad were there for me.” They are just as demanding as they are cute, but I guess that comes with the toddler territory.
As busy as we are, we love our life. We love the impact we and our business have on the lives of the families and individuals who walk through our doors. We love that we get to bring our kids to work with us. I won’t ever take that for granted. I love that I get to work and parent alongside my best friend. I wouldn’t want to do any of this without him.
And yet, even though I spend the vast majority of my day alongside my husband, it can often feel like I don’t see him at all. We rub shoulders together as business partners and parents but not nearly enough as lovers.
I watch my husband teach classes or spend hours on the computer working. I watch him smile as he glances over at our children’s antics while he counts another rep for his clients. I listen as he reads the bedtime story for the kids as they fall asleep each night. I see him come home, worn out but still excited about tomorrow as he slumps into bed and starts snoring before his head hits the pillow.
But I rarely get him. Just him.
Not the business owner. Not the father. Just the man.
So we have implemented a weekly date night. Every Friday. It is one of our family rhythms that help keep me sane each week. And it is non-negotiable.
It’s where I can leave work behind (sort of… do entrepreneurs ever really leave work behind?). I can dress up or down, depending on how I’m feeling that day. Its where I can explore the different cuisine and nightlife that Columbia has to offer.
But most importantly, it’s where I get my husband.
My husband winds down with a beer in his hand at whatever restaurant we decided on for the evening. As the contents of his beer start to vanish, so do the worry lines in his forehead. We talk. We try not to talk about work too much but it’s inevitable at some point.
We laugh, usually at the fun new things our fast-growing babies are learning to do. We reminisce about the past, before the kids and the growing business. We dream of the future, where we hope to one day have more freedom to travel and invest.
And I flirt. I always flirt with him. I adore his smile and the way he holds my hand in his. I love his kisses and his tender looks. So often I see him as my business partner or as the father to my children, but old school flirting reminds me to see him as my lover. My first real heartthrob.
For a few hours, we are just ourselves. Not martial arts instructors, not payroll coordinators, and diaper changers. We are just Tim and Tamayah. Husband and wife. It’s easy to get lost in our busy day to day lives. I don’t think anyone would blame us really, but I refuse to let that happen.
I want a strong business and strong children but I also want an even stronger marriage. I want to continually learn about my husband and grow closer to him. I want to make the decision and the effort to fall in love with him day after day, year after year. I want to sit on his lap with his arm around me and feel safe. Everything is right in my world when I’m in that seat.
Date night is my favorite night of the week. I would even argue that its the most important night in my week. Working to maintain my relationship with my husband is far more important than all the work I put into my business.
Our strong relationship is a big part of creating a sense of security for our children. So even when I’m tired, or when I’ve had a rough day in the office, when neither of us saw eye to eye that day, I try to look past my current feelings to make room for what I know we need; alone time, romantic time, to reconnect and get back to us.
So if you see us strolling down Gervais street, fingers linked together on a Friday night, giggling like newlyweds, just know I’m in my happy place with my favorite person falling in love again and again.