Making time for romance is never easy, but for parents the school year is extra busy. Commitments at school, helping with homework, driving kids hither and yon….all take a big chunk out of already busy schedules. It’s really important to find ways to make time for romance, even if it’s only once a week or a few minutes a day.
There’s an excellent article from author Cynthia Hansen on Life & Beauty Weekly that offers some tips from the experts on making time for romance. They also stress the importance of making that time if you want to have a vital, happy marriage.
One of the dilemmas of a long-term relationship is that, over time, the newness wears off, routine sets in and romance goes out the door,” explains Marc D. Rabinowitz, a psychotherapist in Norfolk, Va. “Add in familiarity, resentments and unmet expectations, and couples end up getting emotionally distant. The more emotionally distant you become, the less likely you are to do romantic things or spend time together.”
Here are five great tips the experts offer to help you make time for romance, even with a busy school year schedule.
Agree to turn off your cell phone, TV and computer during the first hour you’re home together after work and spend that time catching up with each other,” advises Jennifer Jones, a couples therapist in Philadelphia. “Setting boundaries will help you create a space for conversation.”
We’ll add that even if you have the kids to take care of during that first hour, turning off the technology will help you to connect at the end of the day.
2. Speak up.
When you don’t have much time for romance, you may have to forget about spontaneity in order to get some romance in.
It’s a misconception that it’s not romantic if you ask him to bring you flowers or he asks you to send him a cute card,” explains Jones. “Don’t be afraid to ask for what would make you happy — and ask your partner to tell you what would please him.”
3. Have fun.
When your time is limited and your mind is full of to-do lists, it can be easy to settle for the same old date night, but don’t. The more limited your time, the better you should spend it. Take turns planning your date nights and try to think outside the box now and then.
This way, you add variety to your time together — and you won’t settle for the least common denominator, which usually means going out to dinner,” says Rabinowitz. “Doing the same activities week-in and week-out gets boring.”
4. Stick to a schedule.
Decide on a date night (or even a date morning or afternoon) and make sure you stick with it, even if it’s only once a month during this busy time of year.
Scheduling dates gives you something to look forward to,” says Rabinowitz. “This is crucial when you’re stressed and busy. It’s much easier to tolerate a lack of connection if you know that three weeks from Saturday, you and your spouse have a date.”
5. Show affection.
According to Rabinowitz, at a bare minimum, couples should connect in the morning before they leave, connect again when they first get home and again before they go to sleep. This connection could mean a kiss, a hug or just a few kind words. This way, even on your most hectic days you’ve spent a few moments focused on loving each other.
If you’ve got some tips to share on how you find time for romance during the school year (or any really hectic time), we’d love to hear them and share them.