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The Craigslist Find That Made My Marriage Stronger

My husband and I have a pretty good marriage. Being high school sweethearts who still genuinely like each other after 13 years together (seven married) and two kids, I'd say we're doing pretty well.

At the "ripe old" ages of 29 and 30, we have figured out a decent amount about marriage. We've learned to appreciate one another's strengths and weaknesses, how to work as a team and how to fight quickly and fairly. Gone are the days of the emotionally charged yelling matches of our youth (OK, that was mostly just me) along with all the incredible highs and lows and in their place is a relationship of acceptance and mutual love and respect. That said, our relationship is far from perfect.

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All relationships take work to maintain, and sometimes in the midst of this hectic season of parenthood we find ourselves too exhausted to put in the effort. Life with two kids and two people that work can get pretty busy and there are plenty of times when, as much as we enjoy each other's company, at the end of the day we are simply too tired to connect.

I realize that being tired and having less time for romance is simply par for the course during this season of life, but that doesn't mean it's good to neglect it for too long, because when it comes down to it, marriage really is all about the daily maintenance. This is where Craigslist comes in.

I want to transition from "mom mode" to "wife mode" and find time to connect with my husband, but I have a hard time getting there with all the distractions around me...

My husband, who is endlessly resourceful and quite frugal, will peruse the "free stuff" section of Craigslist. Most of the time the items that people are giving away are nothing more exciting than dirty old mattresses or cheaply made office furniture from the early 80's. But, sometimes you can find an untapped treasure or two amongst those postings, namely: hot tubs.

I realize that there's a reason people get rid of hot tubs (i.e. inconvenient and expensive maintenance comes to mind), but one man's trash is another man's treasure, right? My husband saw the untapped potential —especially since we have a huge, private backyard that already had hot tub hookups. I was skeptical that we would use it and worried that it would be an eyesore, but I conceded. What could it hurt?

I was definitely right about the eyesore thing. It had turquoise blue interior with no surround (it had been destroyed by termites), but it was actually in great shape. My husband tried it out immediately and really appreciated how it eased his chronic back pain. I waited a bit to give it a go, but once I did, I knew it was the best (free) investment we ever made.

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I often have a difficult time unwinding at the end of the night. After putting the kids to bed, I often feel overwhelmed and burnt out. I want to transition from "mom mode" to "wife mode" and find time to connect with my husband, but I have a hard time getting there with all the distractions around me (sink full of dishes, laundry to fold, social media/TV to catch up on, etc.). The hot tub was the perfect fix. Armed with a glass of wine and a baby monitor, we were able to go outside and enjoy 20 totally peaceful moments of just "us time". I had no distractions and the relaxation of the warm water helped calm my frazzled child-worn nerves.

Our unexpected Craigslist find has been such a wonderful way for me to connect with my husband. It forces us (in the best possible way) to have focused time together and the ugly turquoise is totally worth the end result. Who knew Craigslist could make our marriage better?

What is your secret weapon for a happy marriage?

Image via Caroline Dahlberg of Coeur de La Photography

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