This is Part Four in a series of five adjustments you can make to reinvigorate your marriage by Valentine’s Day, particularly if, like mine, your priorities have shifted since you had kids. Each post is short and sweet, but together they will make a difference to your relationship. If you missed the first three, they were:

  1. Nix the Tit for Tat;
  2. Don’t Expect Him to Read Your Mind; and
  3. Listen

Today’s resolution is…

 

 

Good Old-Fashioned Time

Yesterday’s post was about listening.

I hear what you’re saying – “How the heck are we supposed to truly listen to each other when we’ve got kids screaming, the dog barking, and Yo, Gabba, Gabba on in the background?”

You can’t.  And that’s why you need to spend time together, alone.  No kids.  I can’t tell you how important this is.

Parents have all sorts of excuses for why they don’t have regular dates.  They’re busy, they’re tired, they can’t find a good sitter, they can’t afford it.  What it really comes down to, though, is they just don’t make it a priority.

The most common excuse I hear is lack of trustworthy childcare. If you do a bit of research, you’ll find there are great resources for finding sitters, like Lullaby League orNannies on Call (feel free to add other resources in the comments, if you have any to recommend).  If you’re worried about cost, get creative!  Offer to trade kids with a friend on a regular basis, so every two weeks you each get a date night.  If evenings are too difficult, try a daytime date.  A couple of hours to go for a walk, have a leisurely brunch, or play tourist in your own town can be just as much fun as dinner out.  And your kids get a playdate out of the deal – it’s a win-win!

If you must, you can have an “at-home date”.  Just get imaginative and try to make it extra special.  I was listening to a “Joy the Baker” podcast about Valentine’s Day, and they had the fun suggestion of re-creating a previous date.  Think back to some special dates you had before you had kids, then re-create it.  Maybe you could get take-out from one of your old favourite restaurants and rent a movie you saw together years ago.  Wait until the kids have gone to bed, light a few candles, and enjoy your time together.

I did an informal survey on ways to strengthen a marriage on my facebook page, and the most common response was regular dates.  A couple of great suggestions included:

  • “Take a day off work while the kids are with their regular caregivers. You’ll have 8 hours by yourself!!”  She and her husband did this for their anniversary last year, and have now vowed to do it every year.
  • “Do something that facilitates talking, like a dinner out, rather than a movie, so that you aren’t just in the same space, but you are connecting.”
  • “Make a sex date!!! Once a week for at least 2-3 hrs (after kids are in bed)”

which brings me to the final resolution…

Get Physical” (stay tuned for tomorrow’s post)

* I’m using “him” in this article because I’m married to a man, and that’s what I can most relate to.  These suggestions are just as useful if you’re married to a woman.

5 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Marriage by Valentine’s Day (Part 4)