Finding time for anyone other than the kids can be tricky, but it’s important for your relationships and for you. Here are a few ideas on how to set aside time for you and your partner:
Prioritizing a proper chat:
Interactions with your partner can resemble a business meeting with checklists, follow-ups and strategies for working together for Corporation Family. Though your relationship might once have been all-consuming, it may not have had as much competition for time and resources. Now it needs a little vision and some focus; a little work everyday can help put it back on the map. What do you want your marriage to look like? Who do you want to be in the relationship? Start with planning fifteen minutes every day to talk, dream and inspire each other. Try to reserve some time in the evening, switch off the television, pour a glass of wine and take time to share. Or get up early, take turns making the coffee, and enjoy a few early morning moments in bed to chat before the day gets going.
Don’t knock the mundane. I have had great dates with my husband at a swanky dinner out or a weekend away, but have also enjoyed connecting while doing a simple task like grocery shopping. It is really about effort; and if you are focused on having a bit of fun, chances are you will. Make the most of your time together. Plan a fun night in if your time and resources are tight. Even a simple meal planned for after the kids go to bed can become a great time of intimacy and connection.
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Spontaneity versus the planned:
Before kids, setting the course as you went along was possible; unfortunately, it is hard to jet off at a moments notice with babysitting to arrange, energy to muster and schedules to sync. A little planning can help good intentions come into fruition. Try scheduling a weekly or bi-weekly date, adjusting your expectations and the amount of effort… rent a movie one week and then buy tickets for a concert the following week. Have a babysitter on a consistent schedule lined up in advance.
Sharing lives… and the Remote:
Consider joining up or taking turns with interests. Maybe you both enjoy playing sports and could participate in a community team together. Why not share your love of music by heading out to a club or concert. Or consider taking turns picking movies, television programs or sporting events. I even have a friend who is a wrestling fan (gasp) because of her undying support for her husband.
The Modern Day Marriage:
Text each other when apart. Skype is also a great way to spend some time together when distance is a factor. You can also utilize the internet to search new date ideas when feeling creatively challenged.
Kelly Flannigan with Holland
Kelly Flannigan, MSW, is an individual, marriage and family therapist. Now a mom of an industrious toddler and living with her husband in the Caribbean she is embarking on heading back to work, of the paid variety, in a private practice. Additionally she continues to flex her self help muscle for women at all stages of self-discovery through writing. Without this outlet her life would resemble “Parenthood” meets “Groundhog Day”.