In a fast-paced world of schedules, activities, and commitments, it is often challenging to force a slowdown and reset. It is all too easy to get focused on the to-do lists and errand running, or get swept up in job requirements and friend commitments, that the ones who mean the most to us sometimes get put on the backburner. In order to make the necessary time for those most loved people in life, it is important to remember why you want to spend time with that person and make the time. Here is how!
Whether together for 10 days or 10 years, it is important to put the why into the love. Why date your significant other?
What made you fall in love when it first began? Did you meet in a high school science lab? Over ice cream during a summer vacation? At an internship following an especially difficult day? How about on a blind date, set up by mutual friends? Or through an internet dating app? Talk about it. Reminisce. Laugh. Remember.
What makes you connect in a way you aren’t able to on a daily basis?
For some, connections are made through hand holding or a sweet gesture. Others connect through intimacy or quality time. What works for one person may be different than what works for their partner, so be open and honest in letting your significant other know what you need. Communication is a great way to connect, no matter what your love language is.
Where do you go from this moment on?
No matter where you are in your relationship, a good goal is always to enhance and build from where you are. By remembering where you started and finding ways to connect as often as you are able to, you will be able to build your relationship and make it stronger than it already is. Make plans together, set time for one another, praise each other and build on the foundation that you’ve already laid.
DON’T WAIT FOR THE STARS TO ALIGN, MAKE THEM
Get. It. On. The. Calendar. It may seem silly to schedule time with your spouse, but it is oh, so important! Due to busy schedules, children’s activities, work commitments, and family obligations, a date with your spouse is often the first to get cut from the calendar. Don’t let it happen! Put a day and time on the calendar and keep it as sacred as you would a back to school open house night for your children. Some couples even have sacred standing appointments that are weekly or monthly. Find what works for you and mark it down. Once you have your schedules aligned, it is time to get childcare arrangements made so that there aren’t any excuses on the day of the date.
PARENTS NIGHT OUT
Does your gym host parent night outs? How about your church? Have you checked with your library or community center? You would be surprised to know just how many organizations you are already a part of (and in some cases paying for) that host parent night outs. Some come at a cost, but it is often well worth it. While some PNOs have restrictions on hours that you can leave your children and parameters as to how far from the venue you can travel, others are more flexible. Regardless of the time you have to be away, you can always make your time count. Check out these fun ideas below:
- If your gym hosts a PNO, check into options on having a couples’ massage right there at the facility.
- With three hours to spare, parents can enjoy a long list of time-framed activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, a shared meal, cocktails, buttery popcorn and a movie at a local theater, browsing books at a bookstore, coffee and conversation with your nearby barista taking care of you, paddle boating or kayaking at a local lake, a bicycle-built-for-two on a fun park trail, or a bedroom romp back at home. Remember, no one will know how you choose to spend your time so long as your kids are picked up on time.
- Did you know that libraries and community centers host PNOs that are organized and run by volunteers? Many of those volunteers are high school and college kids that not only love kids, but would make great babysitters for future occasions. Networking isn’t just for the business world folks, so make sure to get contact information for people that you are super impressed by and that your children seem to gravitate towards.
DAY DATE ON THE WAY TO CHILDCARE
This one seems a bit off at face value, so listen up. For families that use childcare facilities during the day, think about the available hours that you are already paying for. Most parents pick their child(ren) up before closing time, but no one says you can’t make an occasional change in your schedule so that you can enjoy time together first. Think of it as using a babysitter that you’ve already paid for, and obviously prearrange with the childcare if pickup time is different than a normal day. This day date is a great time to meet for coffee or a cocktail and catch up on your day before getting back to the hurried life of parents. The time will go by quickly, but you’ll be glad you took the time. Think of it as speed dating.
NIGHT OUT SWAP
If you have friends or family that have a similar brood as yours, you could suggest a night out swap. How this works is that both families agree to have one night IN (where they watch and entertain all of the kids), as well as one night OUT (where they drop their children off and go out for the evening). Sure, there is one night when you have additional bodies, but the reward is a night out without hiring a sitter.
AFTER HOURS AT HOME
If you have young infants and toddlers at home, chances are they go to sleep fairly early. Hold off on dinner yourselves one night, knowing that your in-house date night will begin as soon as the bedtime stories have been read. Then, crack open a bottle of wine and light up the fondue candles. Who says you can’t set your own romance right from the comfort of your own home? Take your date to a candlelit deck, a basement movie room, a fireside living room, or your bedroom. From a shared bottle of wine to a romantic massage, a quiet cuddle on a backyard hammock to a home-cooked meal for two, once the kids are in bed the night is yours!