Making time to be together as a couple is one of the hardest things to do in marriage. Either you’re working untold hours, overwhelmed with parental commitments or both. One of the biggest questions we get from couples is about finding time for some romance when both your schedules are full.
I completely get this issue. For a long time, my husband and I seemed to see each other only in passing and to talk only when there was a problem with the kids. We had to make a conscious effort, as a team, to find time to be together alone. What we figured out was that we weren’t going to find time; we had to make time.
Realizing we needed to create that time was half the battle, but only half.
We had to get pretty creative with our schedules and we had to be committed to our ideas. But I can tell you that the effort was incredibly worthwhile.
Here are three of the ways we carved some couple time out of an overloaded schedule. Try one or all of them for yourselves. Even an hour or two a week can make all the difference between a romantic marriage and a marriage that’s stuck in a functional but less-than-exciting rut.
1. Move date night to date day.
Getting away from the house at night can be a huge logistical issue. If you have kids, you usually need to find a night that they don’t have extracurricular activities. Then you usually need a babysitter. If you don’t have kids, work gets in the way with unscheduled overtime or unplanned problems.
My husband got the brilliant idea that dates didn’t legally have to take place at night and I love him for it. For several months (until a job change made it difficult), we met for lunch every Wednesday, no matter what. We always ate somewhere far enough away from our offices that co-workers wouldn’t show up, but close enough that the drive wouldn’t eat up our time. I don’t remember a single thing I
ate, but I do remember that I never, ever worked late on Wednesday nights. I was too eager to get home.
2. Cut back on the kids’ activities.
This may sound selfish, but it isn’t. For one thing, many studies have shown that our kids are overcommitted and overscheduled. Some pediatricians and family therapists recommend that kids be limited to involvement in or two things at a time and no more. For another thing, kids need parents who are strong together as a couple and that requires at least a little bit of couple time.
If you’re driving kids to and fro every night and every weekend, you’ve got very little chance of getting any time together. Have a family meeting and pare down the kids’ activities to those that are most important for them or to them. Then divide the time you save between couple time and some really good time together as a family.
3. Have an “Unplugged Night.”
This was a big one for us. Even if we were home together on the same night, we very often ended up staring at separate screens. One of us would be watching TV while the other surfed the net. We designated Monday nights as “Unplugged Night.” Neither of us could turn on the TV or laptops and we turned off our cell phones. We were amazed at the difference the lack of distraction made. I will say this, though, we both love football, so during football season we had to move “Unplugged Night” to Thursdays.
If you’d like to find some more ways to create couple time, take a look at five great tips from ABC Affiliate Channel 12 in Montgomery, AL and “6 Ways to Find Time for Romance” over at Canadian Living.
I’d really love to hear some of the creative ways you and your spouse have made time for yourselves as a couple!