Take time for our relationship? What does that mean? With both of us working full time, preparing meals, cleaning up, and going through the bedtime routine with the kids, we’re lucky if we have time to chug a glass of wine and watch a 20 minute show on Netflix at the end of the night. And that’s a good day.
When we do have time to make plans it’s always geared around activities for the kids. I mean, that’s great and all, but sometimes I just want to forget those little Smurfs and go out and have a good time with my Boo.
The following are 6 ways for you to make time for your relationship and make your connection with your partner a priority:
- Schedule Time
Duh. Whether you are getting your oil changed, making a doctor appointment, or planning a date, it’s not going to happen if you don’t schedule it. It is essential for couples to make their relationship a priority that is worthy of being on the schedule.
- Make it a Date Night at Home
Planning for a nice evening doesn’t always have to involve going out. Maybe it is more realistic to plan a nice evening with your partner at home. Some ideas would be to make a nice meal, get the candles out, dress up nice, and do whatever else you can to create a special mood right at home. Put the kids to bed and pretend like they’re not there.
- Two for Ones
We only have a limited number of hours in the day so often we feel that something’s got to give. But does it? Instead of choosing between going to the gym or having a date night, maybe plan to work out together as part of your date. Another two for one option might be going out with friends as a couple. My wife and I also like to get out a piece of paper and write down short-term and long-term goals while we are having Martinis at the bar. Very productive.
- Think About Your Future Self
It is so easy to take our relationships for granted. We stress about responsibilities for work, paying the bills, and raising the kids. These are all important, but the reason most people feel these things are important is so that they might have a sense of peace and fulfillment in their life. If you work hard and stress your whole life and get to retirement only to find that your relationship sucks, it would all feel like sort of a waste. Your future self will thank you for putting the effort in now.
- Offer a Trade for Babysitting
Do you have any friend’s or relative’s kids you can tolerate? One thing you can do is offer to watch their kids for a night in exchange for them caring for your kids on another night. Depending on your kids ages and temperaments you could even make it a sleepover.
- Have it on Repeat in the Calendar
We all know that if it’s not on the calendar it’s just not as likely to happen. If I have a thought in the back of my head that I should go work out it happens about 0% of the time. If I make it a weekly habit then there is a much better chance that I’ll follow through. Do the same with your date night plans. Set a goal to commit to the same date and time every week and greatly increase your chance of following through. This can be a helpful strategy for sex as well.
Shane Birkel is a licensed therapist in Dover, NH working with couples and individuals with relationship issues.