Many couples married with children have a common complaint. They don’t get to spend enough time with their mate. In the long road of life, time is the one thing that nobody can make more of. You, like most couples, probably find yourself reminiscent of the time when you and your spouse used to go out on dates together. Eat by candlelight. Lie in bed on a Sunday morning romantically enjoying nothing but each other. Or even the spontaneity that comes with couple hood. And talking, remember talking without being interrupted by a child asking if you could come wipe their butt? Ahhh, those were definitely the good old days.
What starts out as the innocent travels to being the best parent possible, often ends up with couples neglecting and ignoring the things that they need to stay in a healthy and positive relationship. The point is, its no one’s fault in particular and the fix is an easy one at best. Eventually the habit of being together become replaced with the habits of parenthood and then one day, before you know it you are waking up to a stranger. For marriages, the feelings that your spouse is a stranger can be a danger sign, blinking in the marital sky like a traffic light. The easiest way to avoid this situation altogether or to get out of the rut that your relationship may be in is making date nights a routine in your marriage.
Date nights may seem like an obscure often-unattainable dream. Many couples find numerous reasons NOT to have date nights. Whether financial aspects, stress, fatigue, or even the generalized lack of desire to do so keeps you from scheduling a date night the key is finding a solution. The following tips are designed to help you and your partner make time together a priority again.
Tips for Making Dates a Priority in Your Marriage
- If money is the issue for you, rest assured you don’t have to spend a lot (or any) money to have a date night. Date night doesn’t have to mean that you go out and have dinner. In fact, you can splurge a dollar and rent a Red box, make peanut butter sandwiches and eat in your bedroom if you want to. The trick is spending some alone time together without distractions. You could also go for a daily evening walk together, or take shower together every evening.
- If you don’t trust or don’t have anybody that can watch your children, take another approach to date night. For most parents of young children, there is plenty of time after the kids go to bed to spend some quality time together. You might want to think about instilling the routine of making Friday night dinners for the kids, putting them to bed and having a grown up dinner with your spouse later. Light some candles, sit down and actually taste your food. Who cares if its midnight?
- Lock your bedroom door. If you miss the lazy Sunday morning snuggling in bed with your spouse, then lock your bedroom door so you wont be afraid of being ‘caught in the act‘ or being interrupted. Your children are getting older every day and as long as you make things safe for them (and you can hear them) you can definitely take 30 minutes with your spouse to be alone.
- Learn to trust a babysitter. Whether it is a trusted friend or family member, or neighbor down the street try to find someone who can take your children for even short periods of time. Even if the grandparents seem to go about taking care of your children all wrong and allow them to eat dessert before dinner, you will be doing yourself a favor to reprioritize and allow them to watch the kids. it’s not just good for you, but it’s good for your kiddos as well.
- If stress and fatigue are your issues, and you just cannot manage to stay awake past the time the kids go to bed then try and get up earlier. Or, visit your spouse on your lunch break while the kids are at school. You will find that taking care of your needs and your relationship needs will actually make you happier. And happier leads to MORE ENERGY all around.
- Set boundaries with the kids. This one is HUGE. From the time, couples become parents; they begin putting their kid’s needs above their own. If mom and dad are having a conversation, or watching a grown up movie together, or are in their room privately kids must learn to respect the boundaries. There is nothing wrong with telling your child that they have to wait, or telling them that walking into your bedroom unannounced is not acceptable behavior. Couples need to have couple time, and they need to nurture their relationship with one another. And children need to realize early in life that mom and dad are allowed to have private, intimate, and personal moments. Bottom line, the happier the couple is the happier the children of the marriage will be.
- Mark date night down in your calendar. If you don’t pencil time with your spouse in, it may easily get forgotten. If you want to go out and do something together, make sure that you PLAN it and stick to your plan. If you look at your calendar, no matter how many responsibilities you have you will find that there is an opening for you and your spouse to carve out a few hours together for just the two of you. But, it has to be a priority.
- Talk. Ask your spouse how their day was. Call them during the day. Send them text messages. Make sure that you take into consideration that the two of you have a relationship outside of the general family. Making an effort to stay in communication with one another is critical, and will keep the two of you talking and increase your desires to spend time with one another.
You may worry that you no longer know how to be alone with your spouse. He or she may feel like a complete stranger. The worst thing you can do is avoid togetherness! You will find that when you just leap in and spend time alone together the two of you will easily slide back into old habits and things will come easy again. If at first it feels as if your partner is a stranger, just keep trying. While there are many excuses that can get in the way of date night, the truth is none of them are acceptable if you want to keep the marriage healthy and happy.